As much as you may not be excited about it, tax season comes once a year and is about to come again. But don’t let that fact spoil any holiday cheer! There are a few things individuals can do to prepare for tax season to mitigate some of that dreaded mid-April fear.
First, make sure you have a great tax preparer. A good tax preparer will give you what you need when the season is strong – reminders, engagement letters, and yes, even beautifully prepared tax returns. A great tax preparer, however, will do all that plus the little extras throughout the year that make your time with them worthwhile. Great tax preparers will discuss with you any need for projections at year end and will always be available during the year for questions or concerns you have regarding your particular tax situation. (Hint: MOST tax preparers are great preparers, but if you are using one that is not, get a second opinion!)
Next, keep a single file or box in a special place to compile any tax-related items for your preparer. You may say “Oh, I’ll just do that when I start to get a slew of ‘TAX DOCUMENT ENCLOSED’ envelopes in the mail!”, but let’s be honest, you will probably forget by that time. Prepare the file now so you have everything in one place when you are scrambling with other things like making dinner, picking up the kids, running to an appointment, about to miss kickoff, etc.
Finally, communicate! Keep in touch with your tax preparer during the year regarding any significant events that come your way (examples may include a wedding, a divorce, a new child, a major surgery, a move, a large purchase, or a major loss). If your event affects your taxes, your preparer will likely have advice for you on what documents to hold on to or obtain during this time so you can make the best decisions when it comes to year-end tax planning and projections.
Tax season doesn’t have to be all it’s cracked up to be. Just these few steps to preparation can save you a lot of headache! If you are still looking for that great preparer, call us to schedule a consultation while we still have openings. Happy pre-tax season to you!
Crystal Daliya, CPA