With tax season over, your first impulse may be to sit back and relax until next year. However, there are things you can do right now to make next year’s tax season simpler, easier, and less stressful. Here are seven stress-free things you can do to make your 2016 taxes easy as pie:
#1. Start a file. You will need receipts, mileage logs, and invoices to hand over when you are ready for tax time. Don’t let them scatter to the four corners of your office. Get them filed so you have them available when you’re ready for tax time.
#2. Log your receipts. Probably one of the most frustrating parts of taxes is figuring out what you spent deductible money on in the previous year. By the time next April comes around, your receipts may be faded – along with your memory. Create a log and be sure to update it every time you file a receipt.
#3. Interview CPAs now. During tax season, CPAs are incredibly busy. Instead of waiting until the last minute to get help, gather recommendations from fellow business owners or friends and interview your potential CPA now. You’ll get more of their attention and they will likely be more excited about gaining your business when they aren’t completely swamped.
#4. Consider what you did wrong with last year’s taxes. Perhaps something made you panicky at the last minute or there was information you needed to gather the day before your appointment with the CPA. Think about what stressed you out this year and make sure you correct it for next year.
#5. Give a list of things to keep track of to your accountant or accounting department. It’s your job as the business owner to think ahead. Help your accounting department keep tax season in mind by giving them a list of what you will need. That way they can start filing and logging now instead of going into overtime in March or April.
#6. Take advantage of tax breaks all year long. Many businesses forget there are tax breaks they can take advantage of until December. Instead of rushing around trying to figure out how to cram in business improvements right when everyone is trying to take time off, plan your tax write-offs now and implement them all year long.
#7. Get tax projections for 2015. Ask your CPA or accountant to work up your projected taxes for this year. If you are doing significantly more business, this will help you avoid the shock of higher tax costs when you start to do your taxes in 2016.
It is never too early to get ready for tax season. By planning ahead, you can take advantage of more tax deductions and tax write offs so your tax season next year is as stress-free as possible.