CCPA Whitepaper:

Tax Preparation Cycles

“Tax season feels like a black hole to me. I send a pile of papers to you and then I wait.
I don’t know what happens or how long it will take to hear from you.
I get back a thing to sign and I just trust that you did it all right.”

The quote above is from a client conversation that I had early in my career. Hearing this client’s experience has haunted me ever since! It also has informed my decisions about how to improve that experience. We want you to understand how we work and why each step matters.

We use a two-week cycle for preparing tax returns. Our team focuses on each step to make sure that all necessary information is received, understood, and processed.

As you will see throughout the two-week process, we need your support! Here are some ways you can help:

  • Be on time! Your submission date is the key to successful completion of the two-week cycle.
  • Spending time chasing documents and requests is not fun for us and we believe that you don’t enjoy being chasedeither! When we contact you for additional information, a timely response keeps us on track. Your delay is our delay. Once you move outside of the cycle plan, we can only complete your return based on the available time in our schedule.
  • Being early does not move you up in our schedule! We appreciate it so much when you get everything to us ahead of your submission date. That said, it does not change the schedule!
  • Calling or emailing us frequently to check in takes us away from our process rather than speeding it up!
  • We promise to communicate any concerns or delays and ask you to do the same! No one likes to be stood up!

And now – here it is! The exciting details of our two-week cycle! (We know you don’t think this is exciting, but we are trying to be transparent and interesting! Play along please!)

Step 1 – Monday Submission Date

This is the date that your two-week cycle begins. All your documents for tax preparation are due to be received by our firm by this date.


Step 2 – Document Processing from Monday to Friday of Week 1

Beginning on Monday, your documents are added to our internal workpapers. They are compared to prior year documents to determine if anything is deemed missing. They are reviewed by our team to consider any preliminary questions.


Step 3 – Follow up by Friday of Week 1 (if needed)

If any documents are missing or we have any preliminary questions, we forward those requests to you by Friday.


Step 4 – Preparation of Draft Return between Tuesday and Friday of Week 1

We prepare an initial draft of your tax return from the information on hand within one week of your submission date. If we are waiting for a response to follow up, the return may be placed on hold until this step is complete.


Step 5 – Final Review begins Monday of Week 2

The return is scheduled for Jodi’s review. This queue begins with the returns that are deemed complete without pending items for follow up. Once those returns are complete, the returns awaiting follow up will also be reviewed. It is always our goal to have all initial follow up resolved before final review.


Step 6 – Communication and Completion between Monday and Friday of Week 2

Jodi reaches out with any additional questions from her review and the results of the return. She also provides the annual required verification information document for completion. This step is accomplished by email and may require a telephone call.


Step 7 – Delivery of Tax Return by Monday (two weeks after submission date)

Upon receipt of your invoice payment, the return is delivered via Dropbox and efile authorization documents are processed via Docusign. This delivery is scheduled to be accomplished by the Monday two weeks after your submission date.


Step 8 – Complete your tax filing (within three days of delivery)

Review your return in Dropbox and contact our team with any questions or to schedule a time to review together. You must review prior to authorizing efiling because once efiled, the return can not be changed without amending. Sign the efiling authorization documents via Docusign.


For further understanding of our process and planning, please see the following:

In Scheduling is the Heartbeat of a FIA Firm, we explain why it is important to balance our workflow throughout the year.

If you are scheduled for a date between April 16th and October 15th, please read Why We File Extensions – Debunking the Myths where we clarify why and how we use the months of February through October for tax preparation.

some of our clients

“A testimonial? five words.... there is no one better.”

“It is hard to believe we have worked with Carter CPA for over 40 years, originally with the founder, Jerald Elkins, and then with Jodi Carter for the past twenty years. We have had a relatively complicated tax situation stemming from one of us being a salaried employee, the other a business owner and our many ventures into real estate investments, both residential and commercial. Additionally, we have been primary residents of four different States over the years. Despite this and the changing tax laws on real estate and other investment strategies, Carter CPA has maintained the necessary expertise and advice that has allowed us to optimize our tax situation. The transition in technology over the years was extremely smooth and the service has remained at the highest levels. Carter CPA is defined by the word "professionalism.”

Joan Childs and Jerry Zaret

“I have been very fortunate to have Carter CPA by my side during the development of my new business. Jodi and her team have guided me through all of the financial and organizational challenges of a start up. Their knowledge and support has been instrumental, and I look forward to growing together. They truly understand my vision, and are proactive in helping me achieve my goals.”

Ian Velardi

“I am a free-lance medical writer and a children's book author -- now on the edge of retirement. For me, tax preparation was complicated and disorganized. For Jodi Carter, not at all. For many years now she has me orderly, and amused rather than confused about my taxes. Jodi has organized my financial transactions and transitions, shaped up the IRS for me, and has always been responsive to my questions and concerns — even if they are silly. Of all the "services" I have that make my life easier, Carter CPA tops the list.”

Jane Sarnoff

“For over 20 years, we have had great confidence in the services we have received from Carter CPA. Most recently, Jodi introduced us to the firm’s Financial Planning Services. She paired us with a Certified Financial Planner that is part of her team and together, they have been instrumental in developing a well balanced financial plan for our retirement. They are quick to respond to all our questions and concerns and most importantly we feel they truly have our best financial interest in mind. They are an impressive team and always a delight to work with.”

Tom and Barbara Dougherty

“A number of years ago, a close friend referred Jodi Carter to me when I need a good tax advisor. I have continued to work with her as I've found both her accounting and her communication skills to be excellent. More recently, when I needed help with financial planning and estate planning, she made recommendations of people and a process that has worked out extremely well. Spearheaded by Jodi, I now have a coordinated team of top professionals working diligently on my behalf.”

Lester Barnett

“Jodi is the consummate professional. In more than 20 years of working with her, I've learned to trust her implicitly, and she functions as the CFO for my two businesses. Her work and advice are invariably terrific, her responsiveness is unmatched, and her up-do-date systems enhance my business efficiency. It's exactly what you want in a CPA.”

Laura Schneider

“As a performer and consultant that I have been a long term “legacy” client working with Carter CPA, LLC for over 20 years. They have prepared my yearly taxes with a high level of expertise, great efficiently, accuracy and speed for so many years my gratitude cannot be overstated.

I would whole heartedly recommend Jodi Carter and the team at Carter CPA LLC to any individual or company for their financial needs."

Hal E. Gross

“Going through a divorce is emotionally and financially exhausting. Jodi and her team were extremely patient and helpful. They advised me about my finances, put together a monthly budget, prepared my taxes, reviewed my interim agreement and tax implications. I am finally on track and able to plan for my future wisely with their guidance.”




Curious about the Carter CPA Experience?