I have a few clients in New York (about 20). I have one client who strongly dislikes efiling. It appears he won’t have a choice for his 2010 tax return if I prepare his return. New York has implemented mandatory efiling for most tax professionals.
New York has removed the option of client’s opting out of efiling, and they’ve rescinded their form that allowed for this (Form TR-800 no longer exists). And most tax professionals will fall under the requirement that mandates efiling. If you prepared 100 or more returns for any jurisdiction in 2009 and prepare one or more New York returns for 2010 using tax software, you fall under this mandate for the 2010 tax year. Alternatively, if you fell under the New York efile rules in a prior year the mandate applies to you.
While Robert Flach won’t fall under this mandate (he doesn’t use tax software), almost every other tax professional will. And I don’t like it one bit. It’s not that I’m against efiling (I’m not, and believe it’s the best way of filing returns in most cases) there are situations where efiling is not the best choice. These usually involve complex returns where I want to include additional documentation with the return. (A few states allow pdf files to be submitted with an efiled tax return. It’s unclear whether this will be available for New York returns in 2010.)
Finally, it’s the client that should have the final say in this matter. Take my client who dislikes efiling. If he continues to utilize my services, I’m required to efile his returns. I could lose his business over this mandate and there’s nothing I can do about it (except violating the law). It may be that this law overreaches and is, in some way, unconstitutional. That said, most of my clients are outside of New York and the loss of one client won’t be a big deal for me. Still, possibly losing a client for this reason really irks me.