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Practice Analysis: Developing a CPA Evolution-aligned CPA Exam

The AICPA conducts practice analyses to ensure the CPA Exam remains aligned with the professional practice. The research helps confirm the relevant knowledge and skills to be assessed.

The AICPA Tax Section is releasing the 2021 Annual Tax Compliance Kit resources starting in November. Most of our client organizers are available now and engagement letters will be available later in November. Tax return preparer checklists will be available by mid-December and most practice guides will be available late-December. We are closely monitoring potential tax legislation and will account for any applicable tax changes in this bundle of resources.

These resources are offered exclusively to AICPA Tax Section members. Join today to access these helpful tools. Sample the Annual Tax Compliance Kit with this free download: 2020 C Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120 (Long)

Engagement letters

An engagement letter is a contract that establishes the services a practitioner will provide to his or her clients. Each engagement requires careful consideration to address its particular circumstances. We’ve provided sample engagement letters so you can tailor them to your clients’ needs.

These sample engagement letters and terms and conditions addendum have been developed in collaboration with CNA, the endorsed underwriter of the AICPA Professional Liability Insurance Program. Be sure to review your letters for completeness and accuracy with your firm's legal counsel and consider consulting with your firm’s professional liability insurance carrier.

2020 Amended Return Engagement Letter

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an amended tax return engagement.

2020 Audit Representation Engagement Letter

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an audit representation engagement.

2020 C Corporation Engagement Letter – Form 1120

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a C corporation income tax return engagement (Form 1120).

2020 Employee Benefit Plan Engagement Letter – Form 5500

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an employee benefit plan return engagement (Form 5500).

2020 Engagement Closure Letter

Clearly define the conclusion of each engagement using this template. This letter can be an important tool in the event of a professional liability claim.

2020 Estate and Inheritance Engagement Letter – Forms 706 and 8971

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an estate and inheritance tax return engagement (Forms 706 and 8971).

2020 Estate and Trust Engagement Letter – Form 1041

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an estate and trust tax return (Form 1041).

2020 Exempt Organization Engagement Letter – Form 990

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an exempt organization tax return engagement (Form 990).

2020 Gift Tax Engagement Letter – Form 709

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a gift tax return engagement (Form 709).

2020 Individual Tax Return Engagement Letter – Form 1040

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a 2020 individual income tax return engagement (Form 1040).

2020 Partnership Engagement Letter – Form 1065

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a partnership tax return engagement (Form 1065).

2020 Private Foundation Engagement Letter – Form 990-PF

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a private foundation tax return engagement (Form 990-PF).

2020 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Engagement Letter

Initiate a contract between you and your client for an FBAR engagement (FinCEN Report 114).

2020 S Corporation Tax Return Engagement Letter - Form 1120-S

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a 2020 S corporation income tax return engagement (Form 1120-S).

2020 Sample Terms and Conditions Addendum

Address the administrative and legal elements of an engagement such as policies and limitations; include it with your engagement letters, where applicable.

2020 Tax Consulting Engagement Letter

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a tax consulting engagement.

2020 Tax Projections Engagement Letter

Initiate a contract between you and your client for a tax projections engagement.

COVID-19 Loan Application Assistance Service Engagement Letter

Use this engagement letter to initiate a contract between the client and CPA for services related to the COVID-19 loan application process.

PPP Sample Engagement Letters

These sample engagement letters are to be used when performing PPP loan application or forgiveness consulting engagements.

Organizers

A tax organizer is a client-facing document to help with the collection and submission of client information necessary to prepare a tax return.

The below templates are provided in fillable PDF and in Word (for Word versions, see the zip file). You can also add your company logo following these how-to steps.

2021 Corporation Income Tax Return Organizer – Forms 1120 and 1120-S

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 corporate income tax return (Form 1120 or Form 1120-S).

2020 Employee Benefit Plan Organizer – Form 5500

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2020 employee benefit plan return/report (Form 5500).

2021 Estate and Trust Tax Return Organizer – Form 1041

Provide an organizer to your clients to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 estate and trust tax return (Form 1041).

2021 Estate Tax Return Organizer – Form 706

Provide an organizer to your clients to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) return (Form 706).

2020 Exempt Organization Tax Return Organizer – Form 990

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2020 exempt organization tax return (Form 990).

2020 Foreign National Tax Return Organizer – Form 1040-NR

Provide an organizer to your clients to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2020 foreign national tax return (Form 1040-NR and related returns).

2021 Gift Tax Return Organizer – Form 709

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 gift tax return (Form 709).

2021 Individual Income Tax Return Organizer – Form 1040

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 individual income tax return (Form 1040).

2021 Partnership Income Tax Return Organizer – Form 1065

Provide an organizer to your client to help them gather information you need to prepare a 2021 partnership tax return (Form 1065).

Checklists

Our annual checklists address issues related to a specific tax form and are used by tax preparers and reviewers during the return preparation. They are also used to identify planning opportunities and potential audit risks on a tax return.

The below checklists are provided in fillable PDF (for Word versions, see the zip file).

2020 C Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120 (Long)

Access a comprehensive checklist for complex 2020 C corporation returns or new clients that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 C Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120 (Short)

Access a moderately complex checklist for less complicated 2020 C corporation tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 C Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120 (Mini)

Access an abbreviated checklist for simpler 2020 C corporation tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Employee Benefit Plan Checklist – Form 5500

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 employee benefit plans that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Estate and Trust Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1041 (Long)

Access a comprehensive checklist for complex 2020 estate and trust tax returns or new clients that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Estate and Trust Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1041 (Short)

Access a moderately complex checklist for less-complicated 2020 estate and trust returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Estate and Trust Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1041 (Mini)

Access an abbreviated checklist for simpler 2020 estate and trust tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Estate Tax Return Checklist – Form 706

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 estate tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Checklist – Form 990-T

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 exempt organization business tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Exempt Organization Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 990

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 exempt organization tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Exempt Organization Tax Checklist – Form 990-EZ (Short Form)

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 exempt organization (short form) tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Foreign National Tax Return Checklist – Form 1040-NR

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 foreign national returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Gift Tax Return Checklist – Form 709

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 gift tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Individual Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1040 (Long)

Access a comprehensive checklist for complex 2020 individual tax returns or new clients that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Individual Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1040 (Short)

Access a moderately complex checklist for less complicated 2020 individual tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Individual Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1040 (Mini)

Access an abbreviated checklist for simpler 2020 individual tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Paid Preparer’s Due Diligence Checklist – Form 8867

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 paid preparer due diligence requirements associated with Sec. 6695(q) and its regulations.

2020 Partnership/LLC Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1065 (Long)

Access a comprehensive checklist for complex 2020 partnership/LLC returns or new clients; it addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Partnership/LLC Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1065 (Short)

Access a moderately complex checklist for less complicated 2020 partnership/LLC returns; it addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Partnership/LLC Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1065 (Mini)

Access an abbreviated checklist for simpler 2020 partnership/LLC tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 Return of Private Foundation Checklist – Form 990-PF

Access a comprehensive checklist for 2020 private foundation tax returns that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 S Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120-S (Long)

Access a comprehensive checklist for complex 2020 S corporation returns or new clients that addresses an extensive list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 S Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120-S (Short)

Access a moderately complex checklist for less complicated 2020 S corporation tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 S Corporation Income Tax Return Checklist – Form 1120-S (Mini)

Access an abbreviated checklist for simpler 2020 S corporation tax returns that addresses a condensed list of tax planning and compliance topics.

2020 State Tax Nexus Checklist

Access a comprehensive checklist about 2020 state tax nexus considerations involving income, franchise, sales and use taxes.

Initial Business Return Filing Checklist

Help your business client effectively file their first-year return and make sure classifications and elections are appropriately selected and filed.

Practice guides

Our practice guides are publications on a specific topic or process that include relevant guidance, recent developments, best practices and recommendations for workflow and documentation.

2020 State Tax Nexus Guide

Learn about state tax nexus including the many types of nexus (affiliate, economic, click-through, cookie, etc.), the physical presence standard and more.

Tax Practice Quality Control Guide and Template

Understand and implement tax practice quality control measures related to leadership, ethics, client relationships, human resources, performance and monitoring.

2021 Vehicle Policy and Income Inclusion Guide

This guide includes information about employer policies regarding the use of company vehicles. It contains sample polices and calculation worksheets.