You are not alone if you need help filing taxes in 2023. Many individuals and businesses turn to bookkeepers, accountants, and other experts each tax season.
These tips can help you find the support you need to manage your taxes in 2023 and take control of your financial future.
2023 Tax Season: How To Get Help
The tax season refers to when you file, report, and pay taxes for the prior year. A tax year refers to the year that income was earned and quarterly estimated taxes were due. This means that you pay taxes for the 2022 tax year during the 2023 tax season.
The first step to getting help with your taxes is to start as early as possible. That puts you in the best position to find and receive assistance before deadlines, but don’t stress if it is the last minute or even past deadlines. You still have plenty of options.
Start as Early as Possible
The moment you begin vaguely wondering, “Do I need help?” is when you should start looking in earnest. Searching as early as possible means more help is available, and accountants won’t be as busy with other clients.
You can file business taxes yourself, but many business owners do not unless the business and tax situation are simple. If you work with a bookkeeper already (not a tax preparer), you can probably file taxes on your own. The bookkeeper may be able to do most of the legwork to prepare your return. You review it and sign it. Otherwise, it helps if your financial records are organized.
Ensure Potential Candidates Meet Your Needs
When you search online for accountants, make sure they handle both federal and state tax filings. If you already work with a bookkeeper, this person can probably refer you to accountants who do. Your bookkeeper likely has most, if not all, of the records you need for tax season filings.
Bookkeepers do not file taxes but can help with preparation. They can also consult with accountants for you and liaise for you with the IRS.
Prepare a Standard Email With a Rundown of What You Need
You may be reaching out to multiple accounting businesses, so save yourself time. Write a standard email you can send to each accountant rather than type a new email each time. The email should detail your needs and the type of assistance you are looking for. Also, give background on your business and which state it is in. Follow a similar principle if you prefer phone calls.
It is OK if you need a lot of help this tax season. Accountants are used to seeing even the smartest, savviest entrepreneurs and business owners stash receipts and documents into shoeboxes or random files around the office.
Just be honest in your email about your situation so the businesses you contact know whether they have the expertise to serve you properly.
Reach Out to Professionals You Worked With Previously
If you were happy with the accountants or bookkeepers you worked with before, reach out and see if they can work with you again. That is only if you are satisfied with the service you received, though.
Keep an Eye on the Long Term
Many tax seasons await after 2023, as do the various aspects of taxes and finances. Businesses benefit from consistent, long-standing relationships with quality accountants and bookkeepers. Keep an eye on the long-term picture when you vet candidates.
For example, an accountant who can help you incorporate and get liquor and gaming licenses and health permits in addition to providing you with bookkeeping services throughout the year could be a valuable asset. This type of assistance helps ensure you’re not in a last-minute scramble for future tax seasons.
Read Reviews and Check Backgrounds
Tax season scams abound, unfortunately, and not all accountants have equal skill and merit. When you compare candidates, read online reviews and run each accountant’s name through search engines to verify if that person is legit.
Many accountants work remotely. They can save you money since they’re not paying rent and overhead on a physical office. You do need to go through an extra hoop or two to verify their legitimacy since you cannot pop into a physical office for a visit or appointment.
Choose Your Accountant Fairly Quickly
Don’t let weeks or months pass before you settle on an accountant. Suppose you’ve sent your standard email to at least three accounting companies. You should start receiving replies within a business day or two. If you have not, try making phone calls or emailing another round of accountants.
Watch for Red Flags
Accountant red flags include promises of giant refunds for the tax season without a review of your finances and numbers. It's also a red flag when an accountant encourages you to lie.
Look for accountants who offer set fees rather than take a percentage of your refund. Never let your accountant be the person whose name is on your tax refund check.
Try to collect and organize as many receipts and financial documents as you can. Look in your office, email folders, car, and anywhere it makes sense. It is fine if you end up collecting too many papers, some of which are not relevant. Better too many than too little.
As you organize, make a point to separate business and personal expenses if you can. Your accountant will thank you.
Act Even if Deadlines Have Passed
A major mistake business owners and individual taxpayers make is doing nothing when deadlines pass. They procrastinate for so long and choose to stick their head in the sand rather than buckling up and contacting accountants or tax experts.
The IRS prefers that you meet tax deadlines, of course. However, the penalties get much stiffer the longer you wait to act after a deadline. Move as quickly as you can for minimal penalties.
Find an Accountant for the 2023 Tax Season
Action First Accounting offers bookkeeping, business license packages, and other services. Contact us today to find out how we can help with this tax season and with your business growth year-round.