It’s an important time of year for accountants and bookkeepers across the country who may be feeling the push to file clients’ tax returns by 31 March. Here are ten tips which may help ease the pressure.
- Enable e-file to send information to, and retrieve information directly from, Inland Revenue for your clients. If you e-file income tax returns, make sure your tax agency has been set up for e-filing in Xero Practice Manager prior to 31 March. Find out more on how Xero Practice Manager uses e-file in this Help Centre article.
- Review your client list, update your clients’ tax details and email addresses and check that they’ve been assigned to the correct and enabled tax agent.
- Check your clients’ provisional tax settings in their 2017 and 2018 tax statement screens to ensure the correct provisional tax methods are set up.
- When preparing a client’s tax return, remember to review and check their tax statement downloads in Xero Practice Manager to ensure the latest feeds have downloaded from Inland Revenue.
- Double check your client’s terminal tax calculation by running the ‘Terminal Payment Checking Report’ which compares each of your clients’ current Inland Revenue statement balance with the amount on the terminal tax reminder notice you’ve approved in the system.
- Understand error messages. If any tax return filing comes back in error, find out what it means and what you can do in this Help Centre article.
- When preparing a correspondence in Xero Practice Manager, do not include any symbols. Symbols (e.g. , & % ” @ $) are not accepted, and will cause your return to bounce back in error.
- Check your spam. Some email host providers use high-level email spam filters which can stop genuine emails being delivered successfully, or in the right email inbox. We recommend designating incoming Xero emails (@xero.com and @post.xero.com) to your whitelist/safe sender list. It’s also a good time to remind your clients to regularly check their spam or junk mailbox to ensure no emails that you’ve sent from Xero are sitting in these inboxes.
- Don’t leave it to the eleventh hour. E-file as many returns before 31 March as possible (taking into consideration that Good Friday falls on 30 March, so you may want to aim for a 29 March cut-off). You can continue to e-file FY18 tax returns with Inland Revenue right up until midnight on 31 March.
- Get ready for the new financial year and familiarise yourself with any changes coming from 1 April, e.g. the introduction of AIM (Accounting Income Method) for provisional tax, which means you will be able to prepare provisional tax on a bi-monthly basis for your clients; and a proposed PAYE filing change. 2018 tax returns will be available from 1 April.
Do your clients need some year-end guidance? Refer them to our year-end checklist for small businesses.
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