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Council Post: 17 Ways Companies Can Prepare For Next Year’s Tax Season

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As the current fiscal year progresses, companies are already strategizing ways to streamline financial processes and ensure a seamless tax season next year. Preparing well in advance can save businesses time, effort and potential stress when it comes to tax compliance.

Below, 17 Forbes Finance Council members explore a handful of proactive measures companies can take now to pave the way for a smoother tax season. From optimizing record-keeping practices to utilizing automation software or professional services, these steps will help companies enhance accuracy, efficiency and overall financial well-being.

1. Engage Stakeholders

Evaluate what you liked and didn’t like about the process this year. Then hold a meeting with stakeholders to deliver the news and ask questions about getting better. Great tax planning takes collaboration, time and execution. If you don’t have a good enough internal process to provide your team with actionable data you will not, in turn, allow your professionals to provide expert advice. – Matthew Barbieri, Wiss

2. Reallocate Assets

It’s the perfect time to reassess your portfolio and invest strategically. By categorizing your accounts into brokerage, tax-deferred and tax-free, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your assets. Keep in mind, investments in brokerage accounts are subject to taxes, so analyze them thoroughly. – Charlene Wehring, DBHW Wealth Partners

3. Review Quarterly

Start by reviewing the last tax report. Were there exposures and additional tax liabilities? If so, you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. The mindset of the tax authority is to extract the most liability from you. It’s best to have an effective document management system to substantiate your financial transactions. Then conduct an internal tax audit to test your readiness on a quarterly basis. – Oluwatoyin Aralepo, Mastercard Foundation

4. Hire Professionals

Great companies have accounting systems that produce reliable, complete financial reports on a monthly basis. Your accounting team needs to include a great tax professional, a bookkeeper who has the expertise to handle your company’s nuances and someone who can provide high-level strategic input, such as a fractional CFO. Use the slower summer months to make sure you have the right team in place. – Julie DeLong, Backyard Bookkeeper

Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?

5. Plan Ahead

Educate yourself on upcoming changes in tax law. To fully take advantage of what’s coming in the future tax year, you’ll need to plan ahead. Which could include accelerating or decelerating capital asset purchases, adjusting your processes and internal reporting to align with new requirements or sunsetting certain projects. Good planning sets you up for success. – Michelle DeBella, JumpCloud

6. Communicate Often

Contrary to popular belief, tax savings doesn’t just happen in March and April. To be effective at saving taxes, business owners should be doing tax planning year-round. This is as simple as keeping your line of communication open with your tax advisors. Consult with them prior to making any major business decisions allows them to help you identify the most tax-efficient paths forward. – Amanda Han, Keystone CPA, Inc.

7. Document Expenses And Transactions Appropriately

Advanced preparation can save you a lot of money and stress. Understand your state’s tax laws and work with your adviser to adjust early so you can maximize your deductions. Document your expenses and transactions appropriately throughout the year when they are fresh to the mind and the paperwork still exists. Therefore, you will know where you stand throughout the year. – David Kelley, Diesel Laptops

8. Arrange Meetings

One simple thing you can do right now that will help with your taxes next year is to meet with your certified public accountant or bookkeeper regularly. I recommend quarterly or semiannual check-in meetings depending on the complexity of your company. This will allow you to discuss your current situation and time to implement ideas to maximize your tax efficiency and financial goals. – Letitia Berbaum, The Zandbergen Group

9. Review Write-Offs

Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and your business by increasing staff, going to mastermind events, taking business courses and bringing clients to dinners and events to help build relationships. Check with your accountant and see what business expenses you can incur this year that will lead to tax write-offs. – Christina DeSimone Nappi, The DeSimone Agency Inc.

10. Analyze Options

If your business is profitable and you are set up like most business owners then likely the profits will flow down to your personal tax return and you will owe taxes. Many accountants recommend an S Corp set up to eliminate self-employment taxes. Next, if you are able to invest your profits into real estate oftentimes you can save on taxes with depreciation write-offs. – Leo Kanell, 7 Figures Funding

11. Build Relationships

Companies need to take a broader look at their finances and dive into changes to meet goals. It’s not just the next “tax season,” it’s a year-round relationship with a tax professional that builds insight that can improve your business outcomes as well as provide tax strategies. A tax professional who offers advisory services can help set you and your business up for success with a new and futuristic outlook. – Barry Pennett, Intuit

12. Track Categories

A business may frequently neglect to implement a mechanism that tracks its “nexus” (minimum connection to a state for income tax filing requirements), which is used to determine how much income (or loss) is allocated to a state for the year. Filing your taxes is considerably simpler if you keep track of key categories by source state, such as revenue, fixed assets and payroll. – Geanette Rodriguez-Ojeda, GRO Accounting and Tax

13. Be Thorough

Meticulous maintenance of financial statements is a must. While it may seem cumbersome in the short term, you and your organization will reap the benefits come next tax season. Forecasting is also key. Prepare a bear-case scenario, a base-case scenario and a bull-case scenario. Then share them with your CPA. – Robert Reeder, GlassView

14. Utilize High-Yield Savings Accounts

Sometimes simple is way overlooked. Small businesses should set up auto deposits to high-yield savings accounts so they can keep their capital liquid while getting moderately better returns than a traditional savings account. This is a great way to keep up with setting taxes aside. – Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors

15. Consider Relocating

Bite the bullet and consider relocating to a different state with favorable tax regulations. Texas has no corporate or personal income tax, making it one of the lowest tax burdens for businesses. Nevada, Utah, Connecticut, Colorado and Washington are also business-friendly states. A state’s good tax policy benefits both businesses and employees because one can’t work without the other. – Guadalupe Rodriguez, Talipot Holding

16. Implement Automaton

Most importantly, companies should prioritize accurate year-round financial reporting in order to get ahead of the end-of-year timing crunch. Implementing digital automation to streamline manual processes can reduce the number of inefficiencies to achieve a faster closing. A head start and a clear understanding of what your expenses were from the previous year makes all the difference on tax day. – Omar Choucair, Trintech

17. Secure Continuity

Make sure your tax preparer is going to keep working with you for the next year. Most firms are shedding low-end clients to make room for better ones as increased tax work and fewer preparers have caused a shortage of qualified professionals. You don’t want to get dropped next year and then scramble to find new help. Pay on time, make sure you’re not a problem client and agree to a fair price for services. – Chris Tierney, Moore Colson CPAs and Advisors

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