Balancing the Affordable Care Act and tax season
March 09, 2015

There's been quite a lot of controversy since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law back in 2010. Now that it's the 2015 tax season, firms across the country are being affected by this law in a new way: the ACA and tax forms. Health care for all sounds good in theory, but is it hurting the way accountants do business?

The cost of health care for accounting firms
Not only does signing up for the ACA take a lot of paperwork - either digitally or otherwise - but it also increases the amount of forms needed for tax filing. There are fresh rules in place, new boxes to check on forms and, not to mention, added stress for clients who need to make sure they have all of their Aflac ducks in a row when it comes to their insurance paperwork. 

With the uncertainty of the various nuances from the ACA and people not wanting to miss something, Accounting Today asserted that accounting firms will undoubtedly see an increase in clients this season, as well as a surge in paperwork and time spent per client. As a consequence, the source quoted Enrolled Agent Jeffery Schneider in saying that "the act will affect [the] billings and what [accountants] charge." While increased revenue and number of customers  will be great for business, there may be a higher level of stress in the office for even the most prepared and qualified agents.

ACA enhancing client experience
The amount of professionally prepared returns went up by 39 percent this year when compared to 2014, according to a separate Accounting Today article. Not only are clients being taken care of by having their returns completed professionally, but the IRS will also be waiving penalties for late payments or underpayment of estimated taxes, stated the source. With no threat of a fee looming overhead for a late filing, more preparers might feel encouraged to get extensions. The government wants to make filing taxes a more pleasant and less stressful event for both the professionals and amateur preparers. 

While it's too early to recognize the long-term results of the Affordable Care Act and its affect on the health of all Americans, accounting firms can already see changes happening in their field. Hopefully, with this season almost over, next year will be a smoother experience and less complicated for all parties involved. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD2