5 Ways to Help Employees Deal with Tax Season

Tax season is not the most wonderful time of the year. Nobody wishes anyone a happy Tax Day, and families don’t come together on Tax-Day morning to celebrate standard deductions. Taxes are a pain in the neck, and we all know it.

Tax season can also bring up all sorts of stressful issues that most people would prefer to avoid: math, personal finance, even marital problems. You have to sort out all these issues and finish your taxes by the deadline or risk getting a hefty fine from Uncle Sam. It’s no wonder so many people are grumpy the month or so before April 15. If you’ve noticed that your employees have been stressed out lately thanks to the tax man, read on for some tested ways to make tax season a little less painful.

(Before we begin, please note that filling out someone else’s W-4 is illegal, and while giving tax advice isn’t, it can make you liable for a lawsuit if your advice doesn’t pan out.)

1. Offer Discounts on Tax Software

This year, the standard federal tax form is more complicated than ever, making it easy to make an administrative error that can get your tax form rejected, mess up your refund, or worse. Tax software helps to eliminate these boo-boos, but it can get expensive if you have any forms other than the standard W-2. By offering discounts on tax software like TurboTax or HR Block, you can help your employees save money and avoid running afoul of the Internal Revenue Service. If your organization has an employee savings platform, let your employees know if it offers a discount on tax software.

2. Send Tax-Day Reminders or Countdowns

Starting in March, send out weekly reminders of Tax Day, April 15. (Some states have occasionally changed this date due to state holidays or severe weather. Check to see if your state is one of them.) For an employee with a heavy workload, brake pads to replace, three kids (each with a dentist appointment next week), and an elderly cat who needs daily insulin injections, a reminder can mean the difference between filing on time and paying a hefty late fee.

3. Make Sure You Have Good Pay-Statement Software

Software that makes it easy for employees to download their W-2s, view their pay statements, and change their withholding can make tax season a lot simpler. Look out for software with payroll calculators, which can help employees determine withholding, deductions, and more. Hourly paycheck calculators, gross-pay calculators, and W-4 assistants are just some of the calculators available.

4. Inform Employees of Common Scams

The IRS will not call you. The IRS will not call you. The IRS will not call you.

Scams from callers pretending to be IRS employees demanding payment are common, and they use scare tactics like threatening to take legal action or call the police. Remind your employees that the IRS will not call them to demand money. Here are some other scams to avoid.

5. Throw a Tax-Day Party

Your employees re viewed all their forms, bugged that one relative who’s good with taxes, double checked their math, and got it done. They deserve a reward! (So do you!) Have a potluck or just bring in some cupcakes to celebrate not having to think about taxes for the next 10 months or so.

Nothing you do will make your people jump out of bed in the morning and shout “Hooray for taxes!” However, you can make the process less stressful. If nothing else, at least folks will get to eat some yummy cupcakes once it’s over.