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Questions For: Cole Stevens 

Burkart and Associates CPA

NEW TIMES What’s Tax Day like?

STEVENS Well, it’s pretty busy, as you can probably imagine. We try to do a half-day. Leading up to Tax Day is really our busy time. Tax Day we try not to have a lot of clients come in. We’re finishing things up. We’re fielding last-minute questions from clients who haven’t gotten all their information.

NEW TIMES Do you ever get people who aren’t clients calling you up on Tax Day trying to get help?

STEVENS We do. We normally try not to turn them away. We try to do an extension with them. A lot of people think extensions give them more time to turn in their money. The IRS wants their money. The term “extension” is a little misleading.

NEW TIMES What’s the day after Tax Day like? Is everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts and planning cruises?

STEVENS We take off the day after Tax Day. We try to relax. We try to come down off the rush because we work a lot of hours going into Tax Day. We work all weekend. The day after Tax Day, we want to unwind.

NEW TIMES Are there any other particularly busy days or seasons for a CPA?

STEVENS Well, we have extensions in September and October. Every quarter, we have to do payroll tax returns. Every quarter we would like to take off two weeks. Immediately after that, we have business property tax returns.

NEW TIMES Has the payroll tax increase significantly impacted your clients?

STEVENS No. In the long term, it does take a bit out of people’s pay, but we didn’t hear too many complaints about it.

NEW TIMES What are some common mistakes made by taxpayers? Anything taxpayers can do to pay less?

STEVENS I think the biggest thing is probably they should contribute to their 401K. That’s something you can’t do after the fact. And then at the same time is just planning during the year. It makes sense to touch base with your CPA during the summer and see if your withholdings are correct, especially if there was a change during the year … just to make sure that when tax time rolls around next year, there’s no big surprise. We like to give good news. We don’t like to give bad news. ∆

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