There are numerous challenges when it comes to end-of-year sales tax reporting. Regulatory updates are constantly evolving, bringing new compliance requirements that your clients must meet. Some industries, such as retail, will also have to account for an increased transaction load through the November and December holiday season.
Filing season can quickly become overwhelming and stressful, which is why it’s essential to help your clients organize and plan ahead as much as possible. When organizations/sellers/retailers understand their monthly workflow and develop an appropriate action plan, it will be easier for them to have peace of mind and a simplified sales tax compliance experience.
Here are a few tips to help your clients meet sales tax deadlines while also maintaining a work-life balance. For tips to help you during this filing season, check out our Sales Tax Toolkit.
Accounting for increased sales tax filings
Sales tax filings can be quarterly, monthly, annual, or even semi-annual. As the number of required filings increases, it’s important for your clients to stay on top of the requirements for each jurisdiction in which they must file. Have all prepayment obligations been satisfied? Do your clients know whether any deadlines have changed?
Some states also require authorization codes if a new computer is accessing an account for the first time. Make sure that you can get in touch with your clients to receive that information. In Minnesota, for example, that code will expire after 15 minutes.
Your clients should also check for any changes in filing frequency since the last time that they filed. They cannot assume that filing requirements will always stay the same from one year to the next.
Time management is key for successful sales tax filings
There are key ways to help your clients with time management. It may seem simple, but this can be essential for a stress-free and seamless sales tax filing process.
First, plan out a calendar with advanced deadlines. If you file for multiple clients, it may be easier to file one state at a time well ahead of deadlines and get them all out of the way before there is a time crunch. Remember that earlier is always better - take advantage of timely filing discounts and beat website latency that tends to occur closer to deadlines when more businesses are likely to file.
It’s also important to communicate clear expectations with your clients about data. If there are any concerns about your clients’ process, or you find that they have fallen behind, consider partnering with a tax provider that can connect with their business systems.
The importance of work-life balance
It is possible to have sales tax peace of mind, even during the busy filing season. Remind your clients to take breaks, such as going for a 15-minute walk or picking up a book for a quick mental release. Grabbing a glass of water and a small snack can also go a long way - skipping meals will definitely not help maintain focus, even as deadlines approach.
Setting boundaries can also help maintain a work-life balance. Let your clients know that it’s okay to ask for help when needed. Working more than 10 or 11 hours a day consistently will eventually take its toll.
When your clients have a comprehensive plan for sales tax filing, and a solution that can keep pace with ever-evolving changes, they can swap stress for relief. It’s important to get sales tax right quickly and accurately to save time, but it will also help keep team morale high and ensure that the business can focus on moving forward - and not worry about the operational details of sales tax filing.
Working with an automation partner can help your clients meet all filing deadlines without putting extra pressure on themselves. Remember to download our Sales Tax Toolkit for more tips on creating a plan for confidently meeting sales tax deadlines while also maintaining a work-life balance.