Tyler Lynch

Sign In | Contact Us | 617-354-3814

Sign Posts

  Sign Posts - On The Trail to a Paperless Office @ John A. Tyler

Several years ago, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts told tax preparers of individual income tax returns (Form 1) that if they prepared more than 100 returns, that electronic filing of these returns was a requirement. The only way to avoid this rule was to have a written statement from a tax client that they did not want their tax returns to be filed electronically.

As a firm, Tyler Lynch, P.C. has been using computers to prepare tax returns since 1987 and has kept electronic copies of filed returns since the year 2000. So we had already begun our trip to a paperless office.

Going paperless in tax return preparation, accounting and auditing assignments, correspondence and counseling is not a one year or even a five year process. If you were an observer of how work is done in our office, here are some clues.

Almost all of the computer workstations in our office have two video monitors.
If you are working from an electronic document, say certain client information, it is easier to read a copy of the data from a separate video screen than to flip back and forth on a single monitor.

From time to time, professionals at TYLER LYNCH PC work from home.
The ability to do this depends on a few conditions. First the user has a computer at his/her home that is compatible with the office computer network. Second, one can connect to the office computer system, including access to electronic documents remotely.

Depending on the circumstances, in many instances the default print choice is to a PDF formatted file.
This can become a conditioned reflex. If you are going to keep an electronic copy of a memo or letter or fax, why not first print it in pdf format. Then you will save the pdf file in an appropriate client folder, and print to paper as needed.

Adopt a document scanning process that assists in the preparation of tax returns, especially the multiline schedules of gain/loss on securities sales.
IRS regulations on securities sales (Schedule D) have become more complex and detailed, especially for electronically filed tax returns. The IRS is performing more document matching of transactions shown in individually filed returns against electronically filed reports from stockbrokers and investment managers. If one scans a detailed report from a broker into a tax return program, you can avoid inputting many detailed data transaction records, and potential errors.

Establish an internet portal with clients that will allow secure transfer of data and documents.
There are both Massachusetts and Federal regulations regarding the exchange of confidential data between tax preparers and clients. If we send an electronic copy of a tax return to a client, we are obliged to establish a secure transmittal process to protect the confidential nature of the document. To accomplish this we have setup client portals as part of our web site, which can only be accessed with appropriate user identification including passwords. This portal provides opportunities for us to send data to clients, and conversely, for clients to upload data to us.