Tax time stress…and mullets

When you think of tax season, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

A frazzled accountant with a crooked tie, bloodshot eyes, holding a cup of cold black coffee…at 11:13 pm in a dimly lit office with countless stacks of paper piled 3 feet high (and leaning)? Are we close?

Or, a firm full of stressed out people ready to snap at the next person who calls to ask where their completed return is? (The one they dropped off documents for yesterday.) 

Wait, how about this one…

The accountant hunched over his 10-key, fingers flying so fast you think he’s going to sprout little muscles in his fingertips, with 47 feet of calculator tape puddled on the floor?

You might be surprised to find out who the real stressed out people are at tax time…small business owners. 

According to a survey done by Freshbooks, “60% of the survey’s respondents chose one or more of the following over doing taxes: hanging out with their mother-in-law for a day, getting a mullet haircut, getting a root canal, removing a nest of angry bees, or shockingly, licking a pole on the subway.”

Now that your appetite is ruined for the foreseeable future…

Building a business is hard. 

Tax laws can change frequently, and failure to comply can result in costly fines. And, let’s face it. Finding a notice from the IRS in your mailbox is the stuff nightmares are made of for business owners. 

However, there are ways to reduce the stress associated with doing taxes as a small business owner. 

Here are some tips:

1. Stay organized all year round. Gather all relevant documents, bills, and receipts in an organized manner so that when you start your taxes you won’t be scrambling around for them.

2. Take advantage of deductions available to you. Research potential deductions such as office supplies, mileage or travel expenses, home office expenses, business meals, etc. Knowledge is power.

3. Bring in the expert! You are good at your business, but no one has expert proficiency in every single aspect of running a business. Leave the financial and tax stress to your CPA. 

Now let’s talk about your CPA.

Most CPAs that work with small businesses are used to a regular cadence of working with their clients all year long. Tax compliance is just part of the process. The profession has evolved to meet the needs of small businesses and to respect that accountants have personal lives- even during tax season. At Harper & Company, we’re not in 1990 anymore.

Tax time is busier, but not dramatic. Why? There are no surprises. There are internal deadlines established and communicated with clients so that all work gets completed well before the deadlines…without planned overtime…and without expecting anyone to sacrifice personal priorities to do tax returns late into the night. Quality is critical, and no one wants their tax return done by a sleep deprived accountant.

And, those IRS love letters that trigger instant nausea should you be so fortunate to receive one? Tax notices are business as usual for accountants. No big deal. A problem to solve, and they are on it. Queue the 10-key and that fresh new role of tape.

Little secret to let you in on…CPAs would much rather comb through tax strategy for clients they advise throughout the year than spend a day with their mother-in-law. Or get a root canal. Or lick a filthy subway pole. About the mullet…what’s wrong with it? We know one accountant who clearly rocks a mullet.

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