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Tax season is a confusing and frustrating time for most people as none of it is straightforward.
“What kind of deductions can I take?” “How much do I have to make before I need to file taxes?” “What documents did you need again?”
These are all common questions individual filers ask and expert tax accountants answer over and over every tax season. It’s a vicious cycle, but hopefully, the information below will help some of you navigate the tax filing chaos with a little finesse. Without further ado, here are five things tax accountants wish you knew:
1. Your Tax Accountant is Only One Person
Your tax accountant is only one person, which means they can only process so many tax returns in a day. You may end up waiting a few days or even a couple of weeks for your tax return to be filed, so be patient. You can help speed the process along, though, by consulting an individual tax return checklist and making sure your accountant has all the necessary documents and information, so there are no delays.
2. Accountants Don’t Make the Rules
Your accountant doesn’t make the rules – their job is to determine how much you owe the government and do whatever they legally can to make that figure as low as possible for you. Many people get angry when they find out how much they owe. It’s common for people to take this anger out on their accountant as if they are to blame. Don’t be this person. Instead, be kind to your accountant – they’re only following the rules set forth by the government.
3. Don’t Put It Off
You know the old saying that goes, “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today?” This is especially true when it comes to doing your taxes. Gathering the pertinent documents and making an appointment with your accountant sooner rather than later will help the process go much smoother. When you don’t have everything your accountant needs or you wait until the last second to file your taxes, you put unnecessary stress on your accountant to get things done before the deadline, and that’s just not cool.
4. Tax Laws Change All the Time
The government is forever changing the tax laws, which means what worked for you last year likely won’t work again this year. Your tax accountant will explain the changes so you understand ahead of time how these changes might affect your tax obligation. Again, remember that your accountant doesn’t make the laws – they just follow them and do their best to help you understand them.
5. Please Be Organized
Organization is the key to a stress-free tax season. The better organized you are throughout the year – keeping receipts, tax forms, and documents – the easier it is for your accountant to do your taxes quickly and accurately. When you fail to bring all the pertinent information to your accountant, and they have to redo some or all of your return, it only serves to irritate them and take up extra time. Keep in mind that even if you hand your accountant everything they need, they still won’t be able to complete your tax return instantly. So, patience is key.
Tax season is a stressful time for everyone, especially the accountants responsible for preparing hundreds of tax returns each year. Be kind to your accountant, and keep the above information in mind as you prepare for your appointment.