When you need tax help, who do you turn to?
As tax season quickly approaches, your employees might be getting a little stressed or anxious thinking about all the work that goes into a successful tax filing. But you can help ease some of that worry.
There are a lot of resources that employers can make available to their workforce to help them through tax season. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. In-House Q&A Sessions
More and more employers are offering Q&A sessions with certified tax professionals. These are sometimes called “lunch and learn” meetings if they take place during the lunch hour. At these events, employees can ask about specific tax issues and get advice from a professional. These can be smaller lunches with just a group of a few people or larger presentations for Q&As. Ultimately, the sessions are so effective because they’re less intimidating than going to an accountant’s office off-site.
If you want something a little more formal than this, you may consider hosting a tax preparation seminar that’s led by a professional. This can be as simple as going over the steps for filling out the most common tax forms, or as in-depth as taking employees step-by-step through tax software.
2. Employee Discounts
You can also help your employees by setting up employee discounts, either with tax software companies or at a tax firm. Local tax firms will often be more than happy to offer your employees a discount if that means they’ll receive more business—and the service helps your staff know that they’re getting their taxes done right. You can even approach software companies, like TurboTax, about offering a small discount to employees who prefer to do their taxes themselves.
3. Off-Site Tax Filing Workshops
Consider looking into tax filing workshops that are offered off-site, and giving your employees time off to attend. Here are a few examples of workshops you might want to look into:
- Small business tax workshops are typically hosted for business owners, but these sessions might also cover topics that employees will be interested in. The IRS sometimes attends these gatherings in person or via a video conference
- University business students may offer free tax advice to people who meet specific requirements; contact your local universities to see if they are offering anything like this
- Local tax firms may also offer workshops for people in the surrounding community
4. Phishing Scheme Warnings
Tax season is ripe for phishing scams that try to steal taxpayers’ identities, so you’ll want to make your staff well aware of tactics that are commonly used. For example, scammers may send an email pretending to be from HR, requesting W2 forms. Or they may pretend to be from the IRS and ask employees to log into a phishing site or send confidential information.
Advise your staff to always call a colleague or confirm with the actual organization if they get a suspicious email, rather than responding to the message directly. You should also activate two-factor authentication for your staff’s emails and other secure accounts. Additionally, you might want to sign up for scam alerts from the FTC, so you’ll be aware of any new tactics.
5. Deadline Reminders
Sending your staff monthly email reminders about the tax-filing deadline is a small effort that can help your employees a great deal. If you have contractors that you work with closely over a long period of time, you might even send them reminders about quarterly deadlines.
Tax season can be a stressful time, not just for employers but also for their workforce. That’s why you want to offer as much tax help as you can. Your employees will appreciate the extra effort.