7 ways employers can defuse tax season stress

Tax filing season is here, which means many employers will come face-to-face with a number of demands. Whether they do their own taxes, use online tax software or meet with a trusted tax adviser, there are many useful resources out there that will help employers work smarter, not harder.

Here are seven ways employers can reduce stress during tax season.

2019 U.S. Master Tax Guide
The U.S. Master Tax Guide contains timely and precise explanations of federal income taxes for individuals, partnerships and businesses. This guide contains information including tax tables, tax rates, checklists, special tax tables and explanatory text.
Legislative resources
Find a trusted, reputable resource for the latest news, opinions and laws regarding healthcare. Many companies in the industry have a designated section on their website that is dedicated to providing employers with updates and trends in the health insurance industry and how it will affect taxes.
Payroll calculators
Employers can use payroll calculators to determine gross pay, withholdings, deductions, net pay after Social Security and Medicare and more. Calculator types include salary payroll calculators, hourly paycheck calculators, gross pay calculators, W-4 assistants, percentage bonus calculators and aggregate bonus calculators.
Keep, shred, toss
Now is the perfect time to organize tax records so that they’re easy to find in case they’re needed to apply for a loan, answer IRS questions or file an amended return.

The IRS has some helpful guidance you can share with your clients on what records to keep and for how long. They should remember to:

- Keep copies of tax returns and supporting documents for at least three years.
- Keep some documents up to seven years.
- Keep healthcare information statements for at least three years. These include records of employer-provided coverage, premiums paid, advance payments of the premium tax credit received and type of coverage.
Make sure records are kept safe — but when it’s time, shred or destroy
Whether they consist of paper stacked in a shoe box, electronic files stored on a device or in the cloud, it’s important to safeguard all personal records, especially anything that lists Social Security numbers. Consumer Affairs recommends scanning paper and keeping records stored securely on a flash drive, CD or DVD.

It’s more important than ever for employers to keep personal information out of the hands of identity thieves. That means not tossing records in the trash or recycling bin. Home paper shredders are often inadequate for large piles of paper, but many communities have professional, secure document shredding services.
Start as early as possible
A deadline looming always makes the situation more stressful. It’s very important for employers to not wait until the last minute to start their tax return. If they choose to use a tax professional, be sure that they get in early. Tax professionals take on many clients, and only have a short timeframe to get all the work done.
Be honest
It may be tempting for employers to tell a white lie on their taxes to maximize their tax breaks or return, but that comes at a great risk. If they are audited by the IRS, they will liable for whatever was reported.