The year 2018 is behind us and with every new year, the tax season kicks off. January is the best time to take a look at at the previous tax season and see if there’s anything new to learn from it. What lessons can you learn from the previous year that will help you be more efficient?
Efficiency is regularly on the top list of things people decide to work on each year. To help you get the most out of the tax season 2019, we put together a list of the tips and tricks that will save you a lot of headaches, time, and even possibly money!
What Is Tax Season?
Tax season is generally the busiest time of the year for tax accountants, as well as business owners, and any other individual that is required to file tax documents. When does tax season start becomes one of the more searched terms. Most people try to avoid dealing with Internal Revenue Service, so certified public accountants and tax advisors become highly sought-after in this time of the year. After all, the IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 29. The filing deadline is April 15. Here’s what you need to know.
2018 Tax Lessons for Self-Preparers
Research Tax Software
If you only have a W-2, don’t itemize deductions, or claim self-employment, your return may be simple enough to file yourself. There’s software that will walk you through a series of questions about your finances and doesn’t require any in-depth knowledge of the tax code or math calculations.
Create a Checklist
If you want to be fully prepared, you need to think about your tax situation throughout the year. If you haven’t already, create a tax checklist with all the necessary information. You will need a checklist for personal and income information, as well as deductions and direct deposit. Do your research and check which documents you’ll need so you have everything ready when filing a tax return.
Consider Delegating Tasks
Business owners and entrepreneurs can be subject to complex rules regarding work deductions and filing requirements. Many will consider looking for a tax preparer to tackle preparing tax returns for them. A professional tax preparer, or a tax advisor, is a certified public accountant who can go through your financial statements and help you minimize taxes.
2018 Tax Lessons for Tax Advisors
Stay up to Date with Laws and Regulations
Laws are constantly evolving and changing, and you’ll want to keep up with the latest changes and updates. Books written just a few years ago can be obsolete by now, so make sure you’re using the latest guides. Not only will you want to keep an eye for new regulations and laws, but you’ll also want to make sure the tools you’re using are optimized to their full potential.
Use the Latest Software and Tools
In addition to law changes, keep an eye out for new software. Is the software you’re using up to date? Are there more efficient or more affordable options that might save you time and money? Bear in mind, though, that the best time to implement new tools into your routine is after the tax season, so you have enough time to get the hang of it. The last thing you want in the middle of a tax season is the added stress of learning to use a new tool.
Spot Opportunities for Improvement
Pay attention to the current tax season and the challenges you’re facing and think of the ways you can avoid them next year. Keep track of federal tax laws for the next tax year. Remember, each tax season will bring its own challenges. However, you can make sure each year it gets easier by identifying opportunities to make your processes more efficient.
2018 Tax Lessons for Certified Public Accountants
Automate More Tasks
Tax preparers focus solely on tax matters. Public accountants, on the other hand, have a much broader educational background and often offer additional services. This makes taxes an additional task you need to juggle in addition to your year-long obligations. Do your research on automation tools available to make your job as simple as possible! For example, consider using proposal and engagement letter templates to automate your on-boarding process. Look for tools that will collect data from client banks and handle invoice entry automatically. This will allow you to focus your attention where it’s truly needed.
Use Task Managers
Tax season is stressful in and by itself, and keeping everything on the same page can pose quite a challenge. Using task managers and activity trackers to assign tasks to your employees and colleagues will help you avoid double-handling tasks. Another option you’ll want to consider is automatically assigning tasks to your clients and sending out automated reminders if they forget to sort them out.
Learn from Your Experience
Take a closer look at the previous tax season and check how many times you’ve repeated the same steps. Are there any unnecessary steps you can eliminate from the process to speed things up? Automating or eliminating even the smallest tasks may seem trivial, but it will add up and might end up saving you a lot more time than you think!
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