If you haven’t filed your tax return yet, you’re likely hoping to beat the April 17th tax deadline. If you plan to have your tax return professionally prepared, here are three tips to keep your tax preparation bill to a minimum:
- Be timely– Most tax preparers will charge you based on the complexity of your return and for the time required for preparation. Frequently, tax professionals will offer financial incentives to clients who deliver their information early or on a timely basis. Perpetually late clients put stress on tax preparers at the height of tax season and this can drive up costs. It’s best to get your information in as early as possible to take advantage of savings.
- Be organized – Avoid dumping a shoebox of receipts on your accountant’s desk. Ask your professional accountant for a checklist of documents needed to complete your tax return. Gather those documents and organize them into a three-ring binder with clear plastic sheet protectors or place them into an accordion-style container. Clearly label what is in each section. Categories can include income, expenses, business, personal, receipts, donations, mileage and so forth. Being organized will cut down how much time your accountant must spend on your return and can keep the cost of your return down.
- Be honest – A certified public accountant will keep your financial information private. It’s important to be upfront about your earnings and expenses. Should your accountant discover that the information you are providing does not match up with your documentation, this leads to wasted time, higher costs, and possible client dismissal. Note that even though a professional is preparing your return, you are ultimately responsible for the numbers you provide and for what you are signing.