Each tax season brings its own unique set of new and recycled issues, and the one that just started is no exception.

2016 concerns

With that in mind, Accounting Today and broker-dealer HD Vest Investment ServicesSMsurveyed over 300 accountants, tax professionals and financial planners about the issues of greatest concern to them and their clients.The results offer a roadmap through the bumpier parts of the tax season ahead.

While Congress was kind enough to pass the extenders legislation in a relatively timely fashion, the complexities of one piece of past legislation remained a worry: Almost 45 percent of tax pros cited the Affordable Care Act and its new-for-2016 provisions as one of their top three concerns.

Between the extenders, the ACA and a host of tax legislation and court rulings from 2015, it should come as no surprise that the next major area of concern was simply keeping up with it all: 40 percent of respondents named “Making sure your knowledge of the tax rules is up to date” as one of their top three concerns – and 22 percent named it their No. 1, making it far and away the leader.

Behind-the-scenes and back-office issues round out the list of top tax pro concerns, with lack of staff (28 percent), tax-related ID theft (27 percent) and IRS service levels (26 percent).


Of course, they aren’t only worried about themselves – they also spotted a number of issues that they think will significantly affect their clients. Unsurprisingly, the Affordable Care Act tops their lists here too, with 65 percent of respondents thinking it will have an impact on clients, whether they’re business owners determining what sort of coverage they have to offer, individuals trying to figure out if they qualify for an Advanced Premium Credit, or everyone else wondering what to do with the Form 1095 they just received.

Exactly half of tax pros noted the Net Investment Income Tax as potentially impacting to their clients, and 41 percent highlighted the potential for tax-related identity theft, which may prompt both taxpayers and tax preparers to try to get returns filed early – before the fraudsters have a chance to file under a stolen identity.

With all those issues to worry about, there’s at least one bright spot: You can raise your fees without being undercut by your peers, since the vast majority of them are either raising them across the board (44 percent) or for at least some for forms and services (40 percent).

Published in partnership with HD Vest.

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HD Vest Financial Services® and its affiliates (collectively, “H.D. Vest, Inc.”) do not provide tax or accounting services. You should consult your tax professional regarding the tax implications of any investments.

The views and opinions presented in this article are those of Chad Smith and not of HD Vest Financial Services® or its subsidiaries.

HD Vest Financial Services® is the holding company for the group of companies providing financial services under the HD Vest name.

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