Ask the Advocate February 2019 Tax News

Susan Maples, Taxpayers' Rights Advocate.

Susan Maples, CPA
Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate
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The holidays are a distant memory and for many of you, your schedule is now filled with client appointments, tax return preparation and longer days at the office. I hope tax season is off to a smooth start for you, since you are now preparing returns reflecting the significant changes in federal law and answering the many questions your clients have about the new law.

For many of you, this is the one time each year you have the opportunity to sit down and meet with their clients. For this reason, I’d like to mention a few things again this month that I wrote about last year to help ensure things go smoothly in 2019 for your clients. One of the simplest things you can do is to make sure we have current and correct contact information for your clients. We receive a large volume of returned mail every year due to returns filed with an incorrect address. An accurate and current address speeds up the processing of some refunds and reduces the possibility of unnecessary notices and billing.

While most taxpayers now take advantage of direct deposit for their refunds, there are still times when a refund check is sent to an old address simply because the taxpayer didn’t let you or FTB know they moved. We make every effort to get a refund to the correct taxpayer, but having to resend a refund check or have the State Controller reissue one creates delays that likely could have been avoided.

Another one of the things I always talk about when I’m out speaking is signing up for a Tax Professional MyFTB account and adding your clients to your client list. There are many benefits to interacting with us through MyFTB and I hope you will consider opening your own MyFTB accounts (personal and tax professional) this year if you don’t have one already. Each month in Tax News we have a MyFTB Corner with helpful tips, along with information about upcoming changes and enhancements to MyFTB.

We also want to continue to improve your experience with MyFTB. Based on comments received from active MyFTB tax professionals, we recently implemented a 1-step process for client account access. You can now add a client in MyFTB and request full online access to their information and filing history, if needed, at the same time. While the client will still have to approve this added level of access, this should help make the process of adding clients and getting the level of access you need a bit easier for you this busy tax season.