The taxman is coming! Many of you might have scheduled a visit to your tax accountant to ensure that you don’t pay more than absolutely required. Even though the accountants do most of the heavy lifting, a lot of work still lies in preparing for the meeting.
We asked some of our Zoho Books Advisors who are accounting and tax experts, to share a few important points on how we can prepare ourselves for this all important meeting. Here’s what they had to say.
Owner of Simplified Accounting, Former Revenue Agent and a Tax Auditor
Start with a tax organizer
Preparation is key when meeting with your accountant. I always remind my clients to write down any out of the ordinary situations that may have taken place during the year. This is a great way to start your meeting. Also, if your accountant sends you an organizer, I encourage you to complete it prior to your visit. The organizer is a great way to learn about things that may have taken place during the year and gets the conversation started about possible deductions available.
Save even the not so important documents
Save everything from the year. If it seems important save it. If it doesn’t seem that important still save it. There are a vast amount of deductions, exclusions, and exemptions available to taxpayers. These documents will create conversations and can result in either great tax planning for the following year or in tax savings that yield a higher refund.
Bring every supporting document
I think it’s safe to say we need to bring our income documents from our employer but what about those other sources of income? Retirement, interest, dividends, lawsuit settlements, bartering are all examples of other income sources that can have tax implications. Bring all supporting documentation from wherever or whomever you receive income from regardless of how much. The same applies to expenses. I see it several times every year where taxpayers didn’t know a certain expense was deductible and they discarded all the supporting documents – major bummer! Remember your accountant is there to help plan throughout the year. I recommend meeting with them at least 6 months before tax season or at least once a quarter for the self-employed.
Owner of MJB’s Bookkeeping Solutions
Split your tax process into smaller tasks
The trick is to work a little each day so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Break your tax process into smaller chunks and spend 20 to 30 minutes a day to get it done. Listed below is a sample of how you can split up your tax project into a more manageable set of tasks:
Choose a qualified tax preparer
Set up an appointment
Organize your tax documentation
Get your receipts in order
Check out your tax deductions
Don’t forget your charitable contributions
Grab your tax file from last year
Check for changes in tax laws (knowledge is important)
Write out your personal information (any changes over the last year)
By following the steps above, not only will you feel better because you are in control of your time but your stress will also be alleviated, which lowers your blood pressure for an overall healthier you.
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