5 Tips for Helping Your Tax Preparer

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

Every year, I bring my documents to my accountant and he prepares my taxes. It’s nice for me to have someone who can fill out my tax forms and file my taxes. However, I also know that it makes sense to help my tax preparer as well.

In the end, we’re both happier if I take the time to organize things before I bring it all in. Here are 5 things you can do to make things a little easier for your tax preparer:

1. Schedule a Time Early On

Everyone’s happier when you schedule a time to meet with your tax preparer early on. I like to schedule my appointment for mid- to late-February. I don’t do it earlier because sometimes my clients are slow to send my 1099s and other paperwork. I want to bring it all in at once, if possible.

Try to have your taxes finished by the end of March. No one likes it when you try to squeeze in an appointment during the first two weeks of April when the countdown has begun in earnest.

2. Organize Your Paperwork

It’s not your tax preparer’s job to organize your paperwork. You should have your paperwork properly organized before you go in. It’s not up to your tax preparer to add up all of your receipts (unless he or she agrees to it — and there’s a good chance you’ll be charged extra). I like to organize my paperwork by type of deduction or credit. This makes it easier for everyone.

3. Call to Find Out What You Need

Call ahead of time to find out what you need to bring in. Many tax preparers have checklists you can use. It’s much easier for everyone when you can bring it all in at once, rather than make several trips to your home and back in an effort to gather everything up and bring it in.

4. Ask Questions Throughout the Year

If you work with a tax professional on a regular basis, it makes sense to ask questions throughout the year. If you have a tax question in June, send a quick email or make a quick phone call. That way, you won’t end up making a decision that hurts you later — after it’s too late. Keeping in contact with your tax preparer makes sense, since you can get regular help, and it also avoids potential snarls later on.

5. Keep Your Tax Preparer in the Loop

When you have a problem with your return, you need to let the tax preparer know as soon as possible. Many tax professionals will represent you to the IRS, so that can be a big help. But he or she can’t help you if he or she has no knowledge of what’s happening. As soon as you receive communication from the IRS, let your tax preparer know so that he or she can take care of it.

With a little planning, it’s possible to make things easier for your tax preparer — and more convenient for everyone.

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