It’s that time again…tax time! If you dread this time of year and find yourself out of sorts, here are some simple tips – for April and beyond. For all specific tax guidance and other financial advice that pertains to your organization, please get in touch with your accountant. In the meantime, let’s focus on making this tax filing process a little easier starting with some tips from the IRS, summarized generally below.
Tax Form Tip #1: Compile all your records
Prior to filing, gather all documents that you need. This includes everything from important receipts to cancelled checks. Essentially, you need to collect all the documentation that supports claims on your returns, such as income or deductions. If your company is like most organizations, the number of necessary records will be substantial (and located in several different places), so start compiling these papers well before tax time approaches.
Tax Form Tip #2: Decide how you will file
While filing your taxes is an absolute requirement without any wiggle room, there is no “one way” to file. Should you put this together on your own if everything is pretty straightforward? Or, do you need to rely on a tax preparer to handle your complex needs? Figure out what makes the most sense for your organization and make sure that you either acquire tax filing software or make an appointment with a tax specialist ahead of time.
Tax Form Tip #3: Never forget the review
While you may be in a hurry to get your taxes done and checked off your list, slow down! Mistakes are easy to make on your returns if you aren’t paying attention to detail. Double-check all the Social Security numbers, calculations, and other final details before you submit your return. If you make a mistake, your return will encounter delays in processing, but it’s not the end of the world. Get in touch with the IRS as soon as you pinpoint an error.
Here are two more quick tips for the big day:
Tax Form Tip #4: Make sure you have the proper tax forms:
Almost all organizations will need the W-2 and 1099 forms. The W-2 forms report wage and salary information for employees, and the 1099 forms report income for freelancers/independent contractors that complete more than $600 of work for your organization during the tax year. Both tax forms should be fully complete and mailed to individuals no later than January 31.
Luckily, organizations can save time and money with laser 1099 tax forms and laser W-2 forms. Laser 1099 forms and laser W-2 forms are paired with your existing accounting software programs, like QuickBooks and Peachtree, so they can easily leverage your existing financial data.
Checksforless.com is a full-source supplier of tax forms with a complete line of W-2, 1099, and Miscellaneous Forms (i.e. laser 1098 Mortgage Interest Forms, Transmittals, etc). Additionally, tax form envelopes (gummed and self seal) are available with W-2, 1099, and 1098 compatibility. All of this contributes to a more streamlined tax filing process.
Don’t forget April 15!
While it’s hard to forget this day, it happens. Don’t let it happen to you, and be sure to file on time. If you have complicated taxes, start the process early and don’t wait until the last minute. According to the IRS, “if you owe taxes when you file your return but you can’t pay what you owe by April 15, you should still file on time and pay as much as you can. This will minimize penalties and interest charges.” Additionally, file an extension if you need it. If your return is not ready by April 15, you can get an automatic extension for an extra six months. However, it’s important to note, that you will still need to pay any due tax by April 15. An extension simply gives you more time to work on your return, but it does not give you an extended window to pay.
Looking Beyond April 15
If you were scrambling to prepare for tax time, this may be a great wake-up call for you. It does not need to be a hair-on-fire experience if you are organized. Consider a few ideas moving forward:
Invest in a solid accounting program: Accounting programs are designed to give you an accurate snapshot of where you stand. This insight will help you plan more effectively how you invest, spend, and save. A powerful suite of tools (including budgeting and forecasting capabilities) can maximize your potential for short- and long- term success.
Harness the power of laser checks: Business laser checks, paired with accounting software, records all financial transactions in the system as they happen. This financial visibility can positively impact your potential for profitability.
Get organized: Take a hard look at your organization. Where are you wasting time? What can be improved? Would certain implementations boost your bottom line? If you are going to be successful into the future, you need to maximize what works, and get rid of what doesn’t. Put your most strategic thinkers at the helm of your organizational roadmap, and make this a top priority in the coming year.
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