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Tax time can be a harrowing thought for any one, but in particular business owners and the self-employed find it worse. This is because they have to sort their taxes themselves. Here are a few ways to make your life easier, save you some money and to make your accountant happy.

Many of you who are self-employed or own a business won’t think to organise your tax information (if you thought about it you’d probably think that you didn’t have time) before giving it to your accountant. If you found this little bit of time your personal gain could be huge.

Perhaps the initial step in this problem would be to get an accountant. There are so many people out there who think that they can manage their taxes by themselves. This might be the case, but if you can’t find the time to sort through your receipts it’s doubtful you’ll have the time to sort out your whole tax return. If you have a business or you are self-employed (in which case you are the business) then surely you should run like a business. Any big or corporate business, even most small businesses, have an accountant because at the end of the day, if the job was that easy we would all have the title ‘Accountant’. Accountants are ultimately there to help you, they want you to get as much money back as you can; they’re doing a job for you, if they don’t do a good job you won’t go back to them so it’s in their own interest to do the job properly.

If you’re not that keen on spending money on an accountant then there are a few small things you can do to help them in their job, to save you money. If you organise things from the beginning of the year it won’t take you any extra time at all. However, if you’re in a mess at the moment it could take you a few hours to initially organise everything. Instead of putting all of your pay slips in a box, organise them by month to make it easy for your accountant. Don’t put all of your receipts into a colossal stack and leave them there, sort through them; separate fuel receipts and personal receipts. You can’t claim tax back on everything so it’s worth separating the things you know you can claim from the things you know you can’t.

It’s easy to sort through your receipts and as soon as you’ve done it once you can carry on with the system. You should sort out all of the receipts you know you can claim a deduction on, after this go through the receipts that have more than one item on, highlight those that you are claiming a deduction on (this makes yours and your accountants life so much easier) this allows you to then add all of them up, so you know exactly where you are financially. If you enter all of this into a spread sheet your accountant can check it but it will be a considerably quicker process than before. You could leave this to your accountant, as they will go through them, after all it is their job, but this takes time and they may need to call you to clarify any misunderstandings; in this business – as with any other – time is money.

This blog post was written for www.creganaccountants.ie – a leading accountants in tax planning Ireland – by Georgina Goldsmith a small business owner.

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