If you think you have it bad during tax time, consider your poor accountant. Not only do they have to deal with all your craziness and random boxes of receipts you rush in at 10 PM on April 14th, they also have to put up with the same madness from their other clients!
This time of year is just as stressful for them as anyone else. After all, once they go home, they still have to do their taxes. The big difference is they know what it takes to keep it all together and you don’t – otherwise, you wouldn’t be hiring them, right?
But instead of pawning 100% of the responsibility off on them, there are a few things you can do to make their lives easier. As a result, you’ll more than likely get a better result on your tax return as well.
Obviously the first thing to go will have to be those boxes of random receipts. They’re not helping anyone and may be hurting your chances of getting a healthy tax refund. It’s time to get organized!
But your receipts aren’t the only thing you need to start categorizing. Everything else your accountant has to decipher and include in your taxes should be organized – expense sheets, profits and loss, the works.
This way, when a question arises, your account doesn’t have to spend hours looking for the answer – or, worse for you, calling you up wondering what the deal is. Once everything is in its rightful place, they can use all the detailed, organized info you provided and move on.
Make sure to use labels, too. It may seem like you’re helping using your own unique filing system, but if no one else can interpret it you’re right back to square one!
Don’t Be Ridiculous
“Yes, I would say I use all three of my computers solely for work.”
“Of course you should count my TV as a deduction, I put on smooth jazz when clients come over don’t I?”
“I wouldn’t say I’m quite in that tax bracket – some of this money wasn’t ‘serious’ money, more like hobby money.”
If you’ve ever heard words like these come out of your mouth, you probably also remember the look your accountant gave you shortly after. No doubt you want to try to get as much refund from the IRS as you can or lower your payment as much as possible. However, there comes a time when you’re just being ridiculous!
Making up silly stuff to try and expense or lying about how much money you made doesn’t help anybody…especially you when you get in trouble! People try to expense crazy things all the time. There was one case where a woman tried to say her gardening supplies should be a business expense as she worked from home and it was part of her company’s appearance!
So try not to stretch your accountant’s trust too thin. He or she is not there to work magic, they’re there to get you through April as unscathed as possible. Being honest with your business and the money within is a great step towards that!