Five Ways to Calm the Storm of Tax Season

Office setting

As tax season approaches, Vesta can sense your fears starting to build – the sweat on your brow starts to take shape and you begin to have flashbacks to high school sitting across the desk from Mr. Strickland’s crisp bowtie! As you sit waiting for your turn to head in and learn your fate for the year, you begin to wonder what you could have done to avoid the F5 tornado in which you feel you are about to be sucked into.

You have heard all the tips and tricks to do at year’s end. You have checked, double-checked, and triple-checked your withholdings. You made sure you took your required distribution from your IRA. You even bought a vibrating face mask to reduce your migraines just to make sure all your flex spend dollars were gone.

But are there other actions you can take that might make your time with your CPA less of a storm and more productive? Can you do something to help them as they helped you? Consider these:

  1. Total things up. Give your CPA a total of your contributions, a total of your medical bills, and a total of your business deductions. If you have receipts, don’t hand in a shoebox – total them up.
  2. Take documents out of their envelopes. It’s super convenient that your company stamps “tax information” on your W2 that you get in the mail so you know to place it in the stack of other documents, but consider for a moment that each envelope your CPA has to open is one less moment they are focusing on ways to save you in taxes.
  3. Don’t forget to fill out any questionnaires your firm sends to you. We know those documents can seem a bit much, but remember your CPA often sees you but once per year, so they don’t know if you bought a house in July because they haven’t seen you since April. Organizers are a great way to pinpoint life changes, and life changes can equal more tax savings!
  4. It’s convenient to save pictures and files on your phone or tablet. If you decide you are going to save all your information on a device, make sure you bring that device with you to your appointment. Make sure the files are all in one place and easily accessible. Make sure you save those files in a device or folder that can be shared electronically. Remember, your CPA might need you to email or share some of those documents.
  5. After all the dust settles, you realize you are getting a refund. That’s awesome, nice work by you and your CPA! Make sure you provided your CPA with the correct banking information. Direct deposited refunds take less time to arrive, but they aren’t any good if you are sending them to a bank in Tasmania because you “thought” you gave the right routing number for your bank.

Remember, taxes don’t have to be a dreaded, nail-biting experience. Keeping yourself organized, or getting organized before you meet with your accountant, doing some careful planning, and taking small steps to make the most of your time with your CPA are the best ways to calm the storm. Vesta specializes in Accounting, Analysis, Strategy, and Planning. We here to help, and we are always just a phone call or email away!

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