At the start of 2022, tax practitioners around the world look to the next tax season with trepidation and fear. Since the start of the pandemic, the tax industry has gone beyond just preparing tax returns. Rather, they have administered many plans ranging from helping clients secure P3s to reconcile stimulus payments to managing an increase in state audits. On top of that, the IRS doesn’t seem to answer the phone and hasn’t processed all of its mail. It would be funny if it weren’t true.

Still, taxes don’t stop for anyone. As we begin to look at the 2022 reporting season, tax professionals have some sound advice for taxpayers looking to take control of their tax lives in the new year. What’s interesting is that many revolve around three unique tax concepts: timing, security, and organization.

This may sound strange to many. After all, isn’t the tax a matter of numbers? Of course, that’s a lot of time. But at the end of the day, a tax return accounts for your financial life to the government. Making sure the process is well thought out is really important in order to have a clear picture of your finances.

“Trust us, we’d rather take a little longer now to make sure your return is correct rather than having to figure out how to contact the IRS about it later if it’s wrong,” says Adam Markowitz, EA and vice-president. , Howard L Markowitz PA, CPA from Leesburg, Florida.

Here are some of the top tips on managing your 2022 tax return from tax professionals across the country.

The basics of synchronization

When it comes to timing, preparing your tax data is an important part of the process.

“Start Preparing Tax Returns Early!” Says Colin Horsford, CPA and Managing Partner, Horsford Accounting & Advisory in New York, NY. “2021 has had so many new tax implications like the Additional Child Tax Credit, Stimulus Payments, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and P3 Forgiveness. That’s a lot of extra paperwork beyond the typical W-2s and 1099s that most taxpayers receive each year.

By organizing the material in a timely manner, it gives you the opportunity to discuss how your financial life may have changed.

“If you have any changes in the current year with your income from previous years, contact your tax preparer and let them know,” says Lorilyn Wilson, CPA and CEO of Lookahead LLC and DueNorth PDX in Portland, Oregon. “This proactive step during the year can set you up for an unexpected big tax bill and can sometimes help reduce it with tax planning strategies.”

Security issues

Security has become a major issue in the world of tax professionals. Often, your tax professional is on the front line to help you manage identity theft. Being proactive is important.

“Please do not share your tax documents by email,” says Brian Streig, CPA and partner at Calhoun, Thomson, & Matza LLP in Austin, Texas.

Why is that a big no-no? Security risks abound. If someone can get their hands on your Social Security number, W-2, or other key documents, you run the risk of identity theft. And for better or for worse, most tax documents contain this important data.

“The safest option is to download the forms from your financial institutions and then upload them to your tax professional’s portal,” advises Streig.

And if your tax professional doesn’t offer these types of secure services, maybe it’s time to rethink the relationship because tax professionals need to store your data securely.

Be careful what you throw away

One of the most common mistakes taxpayers make is not putting aside key tax documents that arrive by mail or email.

“My only advice is not to throw away any ‘important tax documents’ or anything that seems important that you receive from the IRS,” says Nicole Davis, CPA and founder of Butler-Davis Tax & Accounting, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. . “Put it in a file and give it to your tax professional. “

This year, new forms could be received.

“Taxpayers should look for IRS Letter 6419 which will help them reconcile the child tax credits they have received and what they are entitled to,” explains Horsford. “Taxpayers will have to compare what they receive with the amount they are entitled to when they file their 2021 tax return.”

Ultimately, being on the lookout can help save money.

“Without the letter, you will have to extract transcripts which can cost you money (your tax professional may charge for the extra work) and time (deferred reimbursement if you have a miscalculation),” says Davis.

Organize your numbers

Tax professionals may be afraid to work with the self-employed person who shows up with a shoebox full of receipts. This is the worst way to prepare for a comeback.

“To prepare an accurate tax return, it depends on your accounting,” says Lily Tran, EA, CTC, NTPI Fellow at TaxUSign® in Kent, WA. “If your bookkeeping is a mess, your tax return will be incorrect. “

Yet many freelancers and small businesses do not focus on organizing their numbers. As a result, deductions are missed and tax planning is not possible. The good news is that there are many programs that can help with bookkeeping. But there are a few things to watch out for.

“If you do the bookkeeping yourself, make sure you get it revised. Make sure your books are in order and reconciled by Dec. 31 if you’re using an accounting system to track your income and expenses, ”says Tran.

The process is important

The best way to prepare for success in 2022 in managing your tax return is to focus on timing, security, and organization. By participating in the process, you enable your tax preparer to provide you with an accurate return and the best tax planning advice for your situation.