While most people feel the stresses of dealing with taxes throughout the first months of the year, your tax preparer is fully immersed in tax work beginning in late fall. It’s a busy and cumbersome time for everyone, and it makes the process a whole lot more manageable if you work better with your tax preparer to streamline the process.
Here are 5 simple steps to help you help your accountant:
- Submit information as early as possible. You already know that it’s better to plan ahead, so start getting your information together in late fall and organize yourself long before the deadline approaches. While everyone else is under the full weight of tax season, you’ll be way out ahead and stress-free.
- Be as detailed as possible. There’s no such thing as being over-prepared so leave lots of notes with everything you submit. The more guesswork you take out for your accountant, the better he/she can submit without question. Organize the data such as totaling expenses or receipts; provide recaps of information so your accountant doesn’t have to. Best of all, it saves them time, which saves you money! And if you’re leaving detailed notes, then they might be able to catch something that might benefit you and your return.
- Provide supporting documentation of any major events that happened during the year. Big life events like marriage, divorce, new dependents, etc. come with lots of paperwork. Keep track of everything and prepare to hand it over come tax season, and bring in information even though you intend to extend your return.
- Look to the previous year. Right now you’ll want to check your 2013 return to make sure all 1099s recorded last year have been recorded this year. It’s all about establishing some consistency so that you can skip a lot of the legwork from year-to-year. Keep a log of items you send each year so you can remember the next year what we will need from you. And if anything changed financially within the past year, let your accountant know about it. That includes any accounts sold, stocks sold, etc.
- Ask questions. If you are not sure if you qualify for a deduction or credit, please ask your accountant. That’s what we’re here for. Most of all, remember that this process takes time and your accountant will do his/her best to get it done as quickly as possible.
Collaborate with your accountant and start the conversation as soon as possible. It starts the ball rolling early so that you can relax through tax season.