Tax time is the busiest time of the year for most accountants, but as a client, you can take steps to make this time of year slightly easier on your CPA. When your accountant is less stressed, they have more energy to give your tax return the attention it truly needs. How can you help? Check out these tips.
1. Keep Organized Records Through the Year
Tax time is easier for everyone involved if you have the numbers you need, and ideally, you should never wait until tax season to gather your numbers. Instead, you should keep clear, well organized records throughout the year.
Set up a meeting with your accountant so that you can learn about all your personal and business deductions. Then, implement a bookkeeping plan so you can track these expenses as well as your income and investment gains throughout the year. Now, at tax time, you should have all the relevant numbers at your fingertips.
2. Bring All Requested Paperwork to the CPA
If your CPA sends you a list of the documents they need to file your tax return, make sure you bring everything. Forgetting something could lose you a valuable deduction, but it could also waste your accountant's time if they have to call you and follow up.
If possible, you may want to see if you can sync your bookkeeping software with your accountant's software. Then, you can automate a lot of the process of sharing information.
3. Respond to Calls
If your accountant calls you, they generally need more information before they can finish completing your tax returns. Don't inject delays in the process by failing to return their calls. Whenever possible, respond to your accountant in a timely manner with the information they need.
4. Start the Process as Early as Possible
In addition to keeping records throughout the year, you can also streamline the tax filing process by starting on tax season as early as possible. If you have employees and need to generate tax forms for them, try to do so early in the year rather than waiting for the deadline. Similarly, provide your accountant with the paperwork they need as soon as you have the documents. Don't wait until just before the filing date.
5. Be Flexible About Extensions
In some cases, you simply may not have all the numbers or documents you need ready to go early, and to give your accountant some breathing room, you may want to let them file an extension. An extension gives your accountant up to six extra months to complete your return, and that extra time definitely makes tax season easier on accountants.
Keep in mind, however, that an extension just applies to filing. Your tax bill is still due on the regular date. Your accountant can help you estimate the payment you should make, and then, if you owe a bit more when you actually file, you can send the rest at that time. Similarly, if you overpay, you will just receive a refund when you file.
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