No Depreciation Schedules

Today TaxMama hears from Enrolled Agent Alison Jacks in  San Francisco who brings up an important issue. “What do you think of the fact that many (dare I say most?) tax professionals do not seem to provide depreciation schedules with the taxpayer’s copy of the tax return? I pretty much blew a fuse yesterday and posted my frustration on my website ( ) when another new client came in with a prior year tax return without any schedules documenting her carryover business depreciation.

I don’t get it, do you? Isn’t it easier to give the client all of their tax information at the time the tax return is prepared, rather than digging it up later when they ask you for it? I think it is unethical, even, to withhold this information. The taxpayer doesn’t know that they need it, but the tax preparer sure should.
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  This is bothering me so much, that I thought I would get your take. Am I overreacting?”

Hi Alison,

No, you’re not. In fact, that’s a good point. And I am pretty sure we are guilty of this, too.
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  Now that IRS does not require depreciation schedules, we simply don’t print them.  Of course, we are dealing with long-term clients and little or no turnover.

However, if a practice deals with storefront, foot-traffic-type clients, it would be wise to provide all the back-up. And anytime anyone requests a copy of the depreciation schedule, it should always be provided graciously.

But…why should you have to ask.

Sigh.  You’re right. And it is often very awkward to contact a former preparer.

But I don’t think things are going to change as we move towards ever more electronic data. Less and less specific back up will be provided.

One problem I HAVE noticed, though, is that some tax professionals don’t even have any depreciation schedules. And when they get a client with previous depreciation, they just use the number from the prior year return – or nothing at all. Now THAT is sinful!

So, do you have any suggestions on how to fix this problem?

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about missing depreciation schedules and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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