Five tips for simplifying your 2014 tax preparation process.


taxformsYou may have already started to lose sleep over this, but (for most of you) 2013 income tax returns will be due in a couple of months. Based on 2013 tax season results, the CPAs at Bach, James, Mansour & Company have noticed a trend toward later filing, which I discussed in Part 1 of this article. In Part 2, we discussed the importance of assessing your 2013 tax liability prior to the start of 2014. The American Taxpayer Relief Act kicks in this year, and let’s just say that there won’t be a lot of relief for many middle- and upper-income individuals and families.

Stop the income tax filing insanity!

Later filing probably has a lot to do with that fact that people are simply fed up with all the complexity associated with filing annual tax returns. You wait, and then add extra stress to the equation by rushing to provide tax documentation to your CPA. While our CPAs can’t change the reported 70,000+ pages of IRS tax code, we can offer some tips for reducing your tax-induced blood pressure in 2014 and beyond.  Here are our top 5 tips:

  1. Use a tax organizer document – Using a documented step-by-step process allows you to follow more of the tips mentioned below. If your preparer doesn’t offer this, find a CPA who does. Bach, James, Mansour & Company uses a tax organizer that includes our clients’ prior year data.
  2. Start this weekend – One of my clients was telling me how he allotted an hour each Saturday morning to work on tax document organization. By the time he finished his coffee and the kids woke up, he was done for that week.
  3. Take small bites – Create little projects, rather than doing everything at once. Another advantage of a tax organizer document is that you can work on one section or page at a time.
  4. Isolate yourself – Since many of us do our tax prep work at home, find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Or take this week’s project information and head to a coffee shop where you can spread out at a table.
  5. Reward yourself – This is work, so do something nice when you’ve completed a weekend project. That coffee shop latte might be the right reward, or just knowing that you’re 10% closer to completion may motivate you to dedicate the time next week.

Do you have any additional tips that work for you? Please share them and we’ll send out an update!

Don’t follow the foam finger – be careful about storefront tax preparers

There is a big difference between a licensed CPA and a tax preparer. Many tax preparers are just part-time workers who are trained on a specific software package, similar to how other retail employees (McDonalds, etc.) are trained on store systems. Why take the risk, when a CPA can help you make better tax filing decisions, avoid paying unnecessary taxes, and reduce the chance of an IRS audit.

Time to touch base with your CPA

Contact one of the CPAs at Bach, James, Mansour and company to start your 2014 income tax filing process. We will be glad to answer your questions and help you understand how the new tax laws will impact your tax filing. Start today and avoid some unnecessary stress in 2014.

Neal Bach