I Hope You Hate Tax Season, Too. Let’s Party!

It’s February. Efficient taxpayers already have their 1099s alphabetized and receipts numbered legibly. They’ll finish their tax return(s) in an afternoon and be disappointed they’re done until next year.

Not me. I hate taxes. Every boring step and horrible document. Like those stupid perforated forms that are impossible to open without ripping the damn thing in half. 

Sound familiar?

I’m a CPA. Done accounting and taxes most of the past 6 years. Now I’m more like an anthropologist returning from a remote village with a special remedy for your misery:

Throw a tax season party!

**

The biggest advantage new accountants have over you is their team. When I started I’d never done a tax return, not even my own (TurboTax doesn’t count), and had to rely on my colleagues to educate me.

Even accountants know the social part of learning is critical. CPA firms “pre-pair” new staff with mentors. Mine answered dozens of daily, often repeated, questions. It’s amazing he got any work done my first 6 months. Thanks, Mike!

When Mike wasn’t available there were ten other accountants I could bother. The team’s knowledge and support helped me through the learning curve.

Think how much easier EVERYTHING is when you have a supportive team.

So, to develop a supportive “tax” team, your options are:

  • Become a tax accountant

OR

  • Throw a party.

Which do you think is more fun?

**

A party can help whether you’re doing your own taxes or organizing paperwork for a paid preparer.

So have your friends over to share stories, ask questions, trade tips, and search for answers. You might be surprised by their collected knowledge.

You can potentially save money on your return, take less time on tax season to-dos, learn in a supportive environment and have fun.

**

First, decide what you want to accomplish: Understand taxes better? Answer specific questions? Organize your information? Stop procrastinating?

“Yes, obviously, why not, and of course.”

**

Now assemble your team. Who would you normally invite to a party?

I’d recommend diversity. Confused, “chatty types” who will ask lots of questions. Two efficient busybodies to work the room and keep everyone organized. An online whiz. A few quiet, precise buddies.

You know that one friend who’s annoyingly good at reading detailed instructions? Send their invitation today.

Then there’s that other chum who talks to hear the sound of their voice and doesn’t ask questions. That invitation might get “lost.”

Invite people who know their way around a tax return. An expert might show up hoping to get some business. Find your expert through a professional body such as your State Society of CPAs, Enrolled Agents or Tax Consultants. Invite them soon, feed them well, and don’t start shedding clothes when they mention depreciation. Control yourself! 

If you can’t find a tax pro, use your networks and every social medium for someone to provide clarity. A financial planner, your money-wise cousin, friendly business owner, etc.

If anyone, pro or otherwise, is crazy enough to lead your gala event, ask them how they’d like to do it. They might go all out on a presentation. Or fun activity. You might volunteer to help. They might just do a casual question and answer.

Conference call with the “expert(s)” if they can’t attend in person. It’s better than nothing.

**

Speaking of which, you’ll need internet access in addition to your usual party food and drinks. In other words, don’t throw this party in a remote village where only anthropologists can find you.

Go to the IRS’ user-friendly Interactive Tax Assistant. The ITA can answer a huge range of questions and help you identify what Deductions, Itemized Deductions and Credits to claim.

While online, grab a tax organizer. They are thorough, insomnia-producing questionnaires about your tax-related activities for the year. Feel free to complete one if you hate yourself. At least use it as a guide.

Click here for a quality sample.

Have a copy of you prior year tax return for reference.

**

“Wow, this does sound like a fun party!”

Now you understand how tax accountants get their reputation.

**

When you’re partying, don’t share anything you don’t want public. Also, don’t try to “sneak a peek” at someone else’s information. Ruins the vibe. The point is, make it comfortable for your guests, especially the “outsider” giving up their time to help.

**

Then, stay in touch with your team after the festivities. Set up a group chat where you can hold one another accountable and share knowledge.

Finally, decide who’s hosting the next party.

“Oh, no. We have to throw ANOTHER party?”

CPA firms throw “post-season” tax parties where everyone discusses “Subpart F Inclusion” between tequila shots and keg stands. Nice way to blow off steam and celebrate your accomplishments.

So schedule a post-season party and enjoy!

**

Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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