Many dread the process of filing their tax returns and wait until the last minute to gather the data and documents. Procrastination hurts both you and your tax accountant. Getting your information to your accountant earlier may result in lower tax preparation fees and less stress for all involved.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get ahead of the game in completing your tax return…
- Create a master list of your bank and financial accounts so you can anticipate what tax forms you should receive at tax time. Update the list as needed for new or closed accounts. If you have an investment advisor managing your accounts, introduce them to your tax accountant. Authorize your advisor to provide copies of your Forms 1099 directly to your tax accountant.
- Refer to the tax organizer provided by your tax accountant when gathering the documents for your personal tax return. The organizer includes your tax information from the prior year. Remember to include tax documents for any new accounts or investments made during the current year.
- Your tax accountant may have a portal that allows you to easily and securely upload documents electronically. Sending information this way may allow your accountant to start on your tax return sooner and may reduce the likelihood of an extension. Gather your information as you receive it. Then, upload all in a single transaction making it easier for both you and your tax accountant.
- Contact your tax accountant when there is a major change in your life such as birth of a child, divorce, or if you start a new business. Discussing these changes ahead of time and deciding what information will be needed for your tax return may help reduce tax preparation time.
- If you have a business, reconcile activity monthly or at least quarterly to save yourself, or your tax accountant, from doing several months of bookkeeping at once. Consider hiring a bookkeeper if your business has a lot of activity. See our previous blog on tax tips for self-employed taxpayers.
- Ask your tax accountant to set deadlines for your tax information if you feel you need that to stay on top of things.
Timeliness will benefit both you and your tax accountant. You may save on tax preparation fees by being proactive with sending in your tax information, since it can reduce the time your tax accountant spends following up with you. Your tax accountant can provide more thoughtful tax advice and planning ideas if they are not rushing to get your tax return out at the last minute.
We hope these tips make your tax information gathering process easier. The Tax Warriors® at Drucker & Scaccetti love working with our clients on ways to get their tax information compiled in an efficient manner so their tax returns may be completed as soon as possible.