Top Ten Tax Tips to Prepare Your Organization for Tax Season
Whether you are a new accountant, or a seasoned professional heading for retirement, one thing is likely – you dread tax season. Even businesses who are organized and ready, find themselves lost in receipts, invoices, spreadsheets and files.
Along with our partners at Maner Costerisan and Clark Nuber, two leading CPA and consulting firms, here are our top ten tips to prepare your organization for tax season:
- Keep a keen eye on security. From the article in Accounting Today: http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/irs-warns-of-new-email-scam-targeting-tax-pros The IRS is warning against a new email scam targeting tax professionals. It is a two-stage approach. First, an email is sent requesting services. Once you reply to that email they send another one usually with a malicious attachment or link.
- Know the deadline! – 2017 marks a big change in filing deadlines and you don’t want to get caught without a valid extension. For calendar year businesses, partnerships are now originally due March 15th and C-corporations are due April 15th – but S-corporations are still due March 15th and calendar year tax-exempt organizations are still due May 15th. Extensions for calendar year partnerships and S-corporations remain September 15th, but C-corporation extended deadlines may change. C-corporations with either a December 31st or June 30th year end have extended due dates on the 15th day of the ninth month after year-end. The extended deadline for fiscal year C-corporations with a year-end other than June 30th will be the 15th day of the tenth month following the close of the fiscal year. Tax-exempt organizations will now only have one six-month extension. For example calendar year organizations will file one extension to November 15th.
- With a new president in office, be on top of the news! Make sure your clients know that you keep up to date on new laws and changes so you can best plan for them.
- Take time to review internal processes before tax season, and implement simple modifications that allow you become more efficient. It is best to stick to one process this late in the game, like your 1040 process, and make some simple changes. An overhaul would have to happen after tax season, but you can prepare now.
- Seize the moment! Create a marketing plan to get out and see your clients or potential new clients during tax season. If you don’t plan it out early on, you can still be successful, but tax season is the nest-time to see what other services you can provide to your current clients.
- Earlier is always better. Tackle the bigger issues as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the deadline to work through significant items with your tax accountant. It may even be helpful to discuss important matters prior to the close of the tax year in order to streamline the efficiency and timing of your tax preparation.
- Find small improvements in time management. For example, set specific times throughout the day that you check your email rather than every 10 minutes. That way you’re not spending your day putting out small fires.
- Hit the reset button: clean your desk, clean up your desktop, and clean out your inbox. Go into tax season freshly organized so you are not adding chaos on top of chaos, which will make finding what you need more difficult and inefficient.
- Take advantage of automated solutions, such as expense and time management software. Not only will these tools save your organization time and money during tax season, but you will also experience the benefits year-round.
- Have your priorities set beforehand, be intentional, and stick to your goals no matter how busy you get. For example, if you go to the gym regularly, or take a yoga or fitness class weekly, set a minimum amount of visits and don’t divert from this goal. You have to take care of yourself first in order to best serve your clients. Set reasonable, realistic, and healthy restrictions that work for you on the amount of hours per week, or time of evening to leave the office, and stick with it.
To learn more, about how Nexonia can benefit your organization, attend our February webinar on Feb. 22 “Tax Time Ready: Tips to Take the Stress Out of Tax Season for SMEs”.
Co-authored with Brandy Terwilliger, Tax Department Partner at Maner Costerisan and Cheryl R. Olson, Director of NFP Consulting at Clark Nuber PS.