Pipelines conditions (Advanced): Handling filing extensions

An extension filed on time can protect your clients from rushing at the last moment, filing with an incomplete set of documents, or spending time and money to file an amended return. So, if your client needs an extension, how would you handle them? With conditional stages, you can deal with them in your regular pipeline. 

Covered here:

Before you start: how conditional stages work

What is conditional logic in pipelines, though? Basically:

If a is true, then b happens.

Inside a pipeline, it means, if a client account has specific tags (e.g.  Ext Needed), then specific actions are triggered for that job as it moves through the pipeline. To make the conditional logic to work, you’ll need to make tags to apply to your client accounts.

This way, only a client with an extension needed will enter your conditional stages and trigger specific automations. Other clients will skip them.

You can learn more about conditional stages and automations in the detailed article, or just jump right to the example below. 

Step-by-step pipeline setup for handling extensions

To set your 1040 pipeline for handling clients with extensions, follow these steps:

Step 1. Create tags

Since conditional logic in pipelines is based on tags, you will need to create an Ext Needed tag to mark clients who need an extension and Ext Filed tag to mark clients with filed extensions.

Step 2. Add extra stage for clients that need an extension

Create extra stages for the clients who need extension and place it after the tax preparation (i.e., In prep) stage of your pipeline.

Step 3. Make the extension stage a conditional one

Here, you will use the tags created before for making the extension stage conditional. Add a condition, then select Ext needed tag to enter the stage.

Step 4. Add automations for the extension stage

Now, we can add some automations for the stage so that job could be proceeded:

  • Add Create task automation with instructions on filling the extensions.
  • Add Update accounts tag automation so that the Ext Filed tag will be added, and Ext Needed tag will be removed.
  • Enable Automove for a stage.

Step 5. Add extra stage for clients for which extension is filed

Now, we will need to add one more stage where the jobs will jump to after extension is filed. Create  Second prep post extension stage and set it up like you did for the Needs Extension stage:

  • Add a condition: only clients with Ext Filed tag will enter it.
  • Add a task automation with instructions for your team on how to proceed with preparing tax return. 

Step 6. Include instructions for your team 

To make the extension process run smoothly, make sure that all team members involved in tax preparation are aware of the process:

  • Add a subtask to the task template used in the tax preparation stage to remember your team of applying the Ext Needed tag if necessary.
  • Create a wiki page on extension process with step-by-step instructions for your team and add it to the job template. You can also add the Add wiki page automation with this page to the In prep stage.

Step 7. Test the process with your test client

Now, make sure the extension process works as intended by adding the job for your test client:

  1. While the job is in the In prep stage, open the job card and apply the Ext Needed tag. Mark the linked task as canceled.
  2. After the job is moved to the Needs extension stage, open the file extension task from a job card and mark it as completed.
  3. The job will be moved to the Second prep post-extension stage.

Tip! You can set up your own 1040 pipeline or just download our 1040 Tax Return Pipeline (from webinar) pipeline template from the Marketplace. It's already adjusted to filing extensions!

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