Preparing for Tax Prep: 5 Tips

Prepare for preparation? Yes, it’s more than a good idea. It can have significant impact on your tax obligation.TaxTipsPreparingforTaxPrepimage1_zpsee5e372a

You know how onerous tax preparation itself can be. So you probably don’t like to even think about it until those deadlines loom.

But some planning and preparation done throughout the year can make it easier to face the IRS’ intimidating tax forms. Here are five ways to minimize the stress and anxiety you usually feel in the spring.

  • Use the technology available to you. That practically goes without saying. You could start a monster Excel spreadsheet based on the financial data you’re already capturing in QuickBooks, but this is time-consuming and clunky. Use targeted applications wherever possible. Shoeboxed, for example, helps you manage all of those paper receipts that pile up throughout the year. You simply mailall of your receipts to the company – or submit them electronically – and they’ll be scanned and ready for import into QuickBooks. If an app that you’re using lets you snap photos of receipts with your smartphone, take advantage of that option.
  • Learn about the next year’s tax law changes early. As Congress makes changes to tax law throughout the year, information about the new IRS rules is readily available. We try to stay in touch with you about these modifications, but if you have a particular area of concern or want to find out how something you just heard might affect you, contact us.
  • Use the reports available in QuickBooks. Some of these, like the Trial Balance and Journal, may be unfamiliar to you; they’re reports that we typically create and analyze for you. But there’s a handful of reports designed to help you keep up with your tax obligation as you go.

TaxTipsPreparingforTaxPrepimage2_zps6ca21f3a

Figure 1: QuickBooks offers a few reports designed to help you keep an eye on your income tax obligation.

  • Do a quarterly tax estimate – even if you don’t have to submit one. If you’re self-employed, of course, this is required. But even if you’re not, you’ll avoid those unpleasant, out-of-the-blue April surprises if you break your tax year down in increments and do some projecting early on. This will be especially critical as you near the end of the calendar year, so you can make needed adjustments to take advantage of deductions and credits.
  • Consult with us periodically during the year. It’s an excellent idea to do what you can on your own. But we know how busy you are running your business. We’d be happy to either help you implement your own tax planning strategies or take a more active role throughout the year.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She currently sits is a board member at two local organizations. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor.
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