10 Smart Things to Do While on Hold with the IRS

October 23, 2015

Practitioners are reporting call-wait times of one hour or more on the IRS Practitioner Priority Service line. To help our members stay productive while they wait, here are 10 suggestions to use the time wisely:
  1. Organize your desktop. Like many busy CPAs, you may have dragged one too many files to your desktop and can no longer see the beautiful picture of your dog wearing a pumpkin costume.  Use this time to organize your documents. Feeling tidy helps you be productive.
  2. Read the tangible property regulations (TD 9636) – all 222 pages. If you have time on your hands, reading the regulations may help you advise your clients and save them tax dollars. It is recommended to have a large cup of coffee before diving into a “fun” read.
  3. Plan a beautiful and relaxing weekend getaway to the mountains (at least daydream about being there right now).  Aren’t the fall colors lovely? 
  4. Do your timesheet… for the past six months. 
  5. Take a nap. You’ll wake up to the loud beeps when you get transferred to an agent. Isn’t the hold music delightful and soothing while you wait?
  6. Brainstorm process improvements for your practice. Maybe you want to think about becoming paperless, enhancing your firm’s website, or letting next year be the busy season where you and your staff have a little more flexibility because you use excellent telecommuting technologies and work from home. Visit the webcast archives, to get ideas on ways to work ON your practice, not just in it.
  7. Eat breakfast, and perhaps lunch and dinner, too. Some days CPAs are too busy to even take a minute and grab a quick bite to eat. While on hold, you have some time; eat while you can.
  8. Write your weekly grocery list, or even better, use your local grocery store's online software to purchase the items you need and schedule a store pick-up. Who has time to do real grocery shopping these days? Harris Teeter and Peapod are among the quick and easy options to do this. 
  9. Burn some calories. Do some jumping jacks, office chair lunges, or desk yoga (yes, there is such a thing as desk yoga). Be creative. There are ways to stay fit with simple 15-minute exercises that you can do in your office. Exercise is a big stress reliever, and CPAs definitely need productive ways to reduce stress.
  10. And, finally, one of my favorite pastimes: Browse the AICPA tax interest area website and discover valuable resources available to AICPA and Tax Section members. Popular resources that are open to all AICPA members include our IRS Notices Guidance and Resources page, Client Portals - Transforming How CPA Firms Operate, and Guidelines for Conflicts of Interest in the Performance of Federal Tax Services. Exclusive resources for Tax Section members include our Annual Compliance Kit, First-Time Penalty Abatement Template Letter, and Best Practices to Respond to a CP2000. Also check out the free resources included in the Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit to help you retain clients and attract new ones. You may be surprised at all of the valuable resources that are at your fingertips.