• David Hilliard

Navigating A Virtual Appointment...

Virtual appointments are something that we have been doing for many years. Long before Skype and Zoom we have been helping clients from all over the world. Historically, we have focused on face-to-face meetings; however, the recent pandemic and shutdowns have forced us to temporarily move ALL appointments to a virtual format. While this type of appointment can be convenient for some people, we do recognize there are some obvious challenges about the workflow of a virtual appointment.


Pre-Appointment Requirements


Every year we have you sign and fill out certain documents. We know that these may seem redundant, but they are an important part of the process. Some of these documents are required before we start working on your return, what are these documents:


Engagement Letter – This is the basic agreement between you and Grandfield Tax. It clarifies the expectations and responsibilities that both of us will abide by during this process. It also contains an opportunity sign up for a Family Plan, which is a way to buy additional services like extra time for tax questions or time for responding to an IRS notice throughout the year.


Client Questionnaire(s) - To make sure that you are compliant with all aspects of your tax return, you may be required to fill out one or more questionnaires that will allow your advisor to identify items to help you best. Some of the questions also are required by the IRS so your advisor can satisfy the increasingly due diligence requirements. We understand these questions may seem redundant, but they are necessary, we appreciate your cooperation in fully filling them out.

Because you are likely not coming to our building for your appointment, we need to make sure that we have all, or most of, the required tax documents before your appointment. These include documents such as W-2's, 1099’s, and business Summaries.

How to get us documents -


1. Portal – Using our portal is the most secure method of delivery. Once you upload the documents to the portal, we are notified and will continue with your preparation process. We advise that you DO NOT email documents to our office that contain secure information like your Social Security number.


a. How to digitize documents

i. Paperless Delivery – Most employers and institutions will have your tax documents ready for download. Simply download the file to your computer and it will be ready to upload to our portal.

ii. Home scanner - Many home printers are all-in-one and have a scanner. When scanning a document make sure that you save it as a PDF file.

iii. Phone camera - Your smart phone’s camera is a wonderful way to capture documents and send them to our portal. You simply want to make sure that you are converting it to a PDF. There are several apps in the Apple Store or Play Store. Unlike a photo these apps will limit the view to only the document, this way we avoid unnecessary pictures of your countertop.

1. Example Apps – Camscan, Google drive

a. No photos PDF only


2. Fax - You can fax us any document to 714-921-2794. This comes to us digitally and we will put them in your digital document file.


3. Drop off - Prior to your appointment, you can drop off the documents for us to scan. If you are dropping off original copies, we recommend that you schedule a time with our admin staff. This way we can quickly scan them and return them to you that day. Alternatively, you can drop off copies and we will scan and shred them for you.


a. We ask that you avoid stapling documents together as hidden staples can damage our scanners


4. Mail – Fed-Ex, U.S. Postal Service or UPS are all standard options in sending us your documents. We recommend that you send copies of your original documents. This is a security measure in case the parcel is lost in transit. It also allows us to securely shred the documents after we scan them into our system.

5. What documents do you need- If you are unsure about the documents you need you can always review last year’s tax documents and make sure they match up. You can also request an organizer from our admin team, they will be able to assist you with the appropriate organizer.


How do we discuss your return and concerns?


We have a two great options for your advisor to communicate with you during your appointment. First, a phone call is always an option, simply make sure that we have the proper number when you schedule the appointment. Second, we can have a virtual face to face with a Zoom meeting. The Zoom meeting allows us to share our screen so that you can see what the return looks like when we have finished. While it will generate the best experience, you are not required to have a camera or mic on your computer to take advantage of a Zoom meeting. We will send a Zoom invite to you prior to the meeting.

How do you pay us for the service?


When we have completed your tax return you will receive your invoice by email. That email will contain a link to make a payment. You will have the option of paying with a credit card, debit card, or bank transfer (using your bank’s routing and account number). This option is by far the fastest method of payment. If this option is not ideal for you, you can pay by a check. Payment by check can either be mailed to or dropped off at our office.


How do I sign my return?


Because of the amount of returns we file each year; we are required to e-file the returns we prepare. Before we can take that step, you will need to sign a form called the 8879. This is an authorization for us to e-file your return. We will set you up with a secure method of digitally signing those 8879’s in just a few steps. All you need to take advantage of this method is an e-mail address. Once you complete that process, your advisor is notified and can file your return. If the E-signature is not an option, you will need to sign the documents by hand and return them to us. If this is the case, we will get you the 8879 by uploading it to our portal, mailing it, or faxing it to you. You can return signed forms to us using any one of those methods as well.


How do I get a copy of my return?


Once we have completed your return everyone will receive a digital copy of their return uploaded to the secure portal, we have set up for you. Our portal is not meant to be long term storage and will delete documents after 30 days. Therefore, it is advised that you download a copy for your records and store it in a safe place. Hard copies will be available upon request; if you have not upgraded to a Grandfield Family Plan additional charges may apply. We will be able to mail you the copy or package it up for a scheduled pickup.


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