It may be hard to believe, but it’s tax time again! We’re all rushed, we’re all busy… but this year, let’s take a little time to help our tax preparers out. They are, after all, human too!
- Nix the Shoebox Trick
It might be convenient and really easy to throw all of your receipts in to a shoebox but it’s a nightmare for the person you hand it off to. It’s not your preparer’s core competency to sort through tiny papers, read your mind and add up totals. In most cases, you’ll end up paying more money simply for having your preparer to dig through the mess!
TIP: Sort your receipts and add up the totals before handing the information off. It’ll save you money, save your preparer time and they’ll love you a little more for doing so!
- Get It Together!
Your papers, that is. Do not send your preparer one piece of information at a time. Write yourself a list if you need to, get everything that’s needed together, and hand it all off at the same time. If you’re missing an important document, let your preparer know. Otherwise, they’ll spend valuable time searching for a phantom piece of information and you’ll most likely get billed for the time.
- Keep Up With Communication
While dinner once per month may not be in the books, do try and keep communication open. When you show up with a stack of papers and say, “Well, here’s what I did.” you’re asking more for a mind reader than a tax preparer. Maybe you got married (congratulations!) or divorced (condolences) last year; your preparer needs to know!
Communication is especially important if you’ve made any major purchases such as buying a home, selling or renting property. Tax legislation has gotten a bit stickier in the past years so when it comes to mortgages, deductions may have gotten a little more complicated.
- No Itchy Contract Trigger Fingers
Yep, your tax preparer needs to know about these as well! Make sure you have your preparer look over your contract before signing it. There’s no sense in having anyone check over a contract after you’ve signed it- the damage is already done at that point. Better safe than sorry, right?
- IRS Troubles
Putting pride aside, you must tell your preparer as soon as possible. While this may be a tough situation, the longer you wait, the worse it’ll become. Trust us, if you catch the problem early, your preparer will be able to help you that much quicker and more effectively!
- Don’t Be a Last Minute Man Or Woman!
As mentioned earlier, your tax preparer is human. Everyone and their mother is dumping work on their preparer’s at the end of March and even the beginning of April. Don’t be that person!
Filing early has multiple advantages: Most obvious, you’ll receive your returns quicker. It may also help with financial aid for you or your child, lesson your odds of identity theft and most importantly, it’ll give your preparer more time to catch potential mistakes.
Compile and submit your information in February and the first half of March. Don’t try to turn your tax preparer into a magician. You’ll just end up disappointed.
- Get Organized For The Coming Year
If you haven’t already, create a file for each individual year’s tax return data. Create separate tabs for different receipts: property tax payments, stock or bond transactions, business expenses, etc. Include also a tab for information on bonuses, stocks, or other similar items.
Remember, add up your receipt totals and include those in your file before passing the information off to your preparer.
Follow these 7 tips and you’re well on your way to being your tax preparer’s favorite client. You may save a little money along the way, too!