Tax time is probably not your favorite time of year, especially if you have to pay the government your hard-earned dollars. Here are some tips on how we can make it just a bit less painful.
- Be patient with your preparer and yourself.
Practicing patience will go a long way when you’re dealing with taxes. Keep in mind that for tax professionals, the months of January through April are as crowded and hectic as a shopping mall in December. The better prepared you are and the earlier you can get your information together prior to IRS deadlines the happier everyone will be.
Be patient with yourself as well. You have the skills to manage your business and do well at your career, but it may not be at organizing paperwork or dealing with numbers. That’s where we can help.
- The tax stack.
The easiest way to keep up with your tax documents is to upload them to your client portal through our website. You can drag and drop the PDF files in on a computer or take photos with your smart phone or tablet. Once one there, put it away hopefully to never need it again.
For the not so tech savvy, set aside a permanent place on your desk to be the tax stack. When you receive something in the mail that is tax-related, place it in the tax stack. You’ll save valuable time later not having to look for documents you need.
Now you’ll have everything in one place and you’ll be so organized that your tax accountant will be surprised!
- Catch up.
If your books or records are behind for 2017, get them caught up now to beat the rush. If you wait until the first week of April or March (depending on your filing deadline), you’ll probably need to file an extension. Keep in mind that an extension only grants a paperwork extension; it doesn’t delay any tax payments that are due. If you wait too late, you’ll have the stress of waiting until the last minute, the stress of paying estimated taxes, and the stress of waiting until your return is finally filed.
- Early bird.
Connect with us or your tax professional early to agree on what services will be offered and to get your documents turned in as soon as you receive them. Getting your things in early will mean less waiting time for preparation and filing. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say that you’re done with your taxes in February? Your stress will be less, and your energy can be redirected to new projects.
Use the virtual drop off client portal, even if you plan on coming into the office you know that if you have accumulated all of your documents there the chances of forgetting something is a lot smaller.
- Avoid a large tax payment.
The worst thing about tax time might just be writing a big check, possibly with penalties, to the government in April. Instead, plan ahead and spread out your payments for next year by adjusting your payroll withholding or making quarterly estimated tax payments. Spreading your tax payment throughout the year will have you writing a smaller check, if any, in April. We review this step with all of our clients in an effort to “ease the pain” for the next tax season.
Try these tips for tax time, and you’ll have more energy for other, more important things in your business.