Accountants and non-finance employees alike often struggle during tax season. It’s a stressful time of year that always seems to catch the most experienced professionals by surprise. With that said, employers can do a lot to help employees cope with tax-time stress in the workplace.
How to Help Employees Reduce Tax-Time Stress
The tax season is no doubt stressful to most employees, especially if they also have to file their own freelance income.
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Here are some ways to help your employees cope with tax-time stress.
1. Encourage Employees to Prepare Early
Encourage employees to start gathering their tax documents and preparing for tax season as early as possible. This can help reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed and give them more time to ask questions and seek help if needed. Remind your employees throughout the season.
2. Opt for Online Tax Fulfillment Instead of Snail Mail
Filing taxes online is much easier than doing it in person or via snail mail. In some countries, opting for digital is a requirement, not a suggestion. For example, Making Tax Digital (MTD) is a UK initiative in which businesses have to settle their HMRC tax affairs using compatible tools.
3. Offer Tax Tools and Relevant Resources
Consider purchasing software that helps employees navigate the tax process. For example, tools like QuickBooks have a full suite of tools that help with accounting, payroll, inventory, invoicing, tax filing, and bank account tracking. You could also suggest a finance tracking app.
4. Encourage Multiple Breaks, Exercise, and Meditation
Encourage employees to take breaks and practice self-care during the tax season. This could include taking time to exercise, meditate, or engage in activities they enjoy. They have 3 to 4 months to get their tax documents in, so most employees don’t have to rush or risk their health.
5. Preach the Many Benefits of Health and Wellness
While taking breaks and participating in hobbies are important, employees shouldn’t forget about their most basic needs, like food, water, shelter, and sleep. Employers can bring in healthy lunches that help make employees feel less sluggish, as a poor diet leads to burnout.
6. Be Flexible (Offer Remote and Hybrid Work)
Consider being flexible with work hours or allowing employees to work remotely during tax season if it will help them manage their stress. Just the thought of not having to come to work during this stressful period can help take the edge off, making them more productive employees.
7. Keep an Open Line of Communication at All Times
Make sure employees know they can come to you or their supervisor with any questions or concerns they have about their taxes. Encourage an open and supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable asking for help. Establish a positive corporate culture.
8. Run a Seminars That Teaches Employees About Financial Literacy
A 2018 FINRA study that covered financial literacy in America found that 53% of adults are anxious about their money situation. Employers can teach their employees about various financial topics, including how to file their taxes, which can cut down on overall stressors.
9. Suggest Looking for Support From Finance Professionals
Consider offering support services such as counseling or financial planning to help employees manage their financial concerns. If you have an accountant on staff that can double as a financial planner, ask for their help. Run a few seminars on the importance of financial health.
10. Explain the Value of Prior Planning (and Consistency)
If your employees had to rush at the end of tax season to make their filing date, explain the benefit of saving their receipts and calculating self-employed income throughout the year. If employees wait until January to start, they’re still behind, which inevitably causes stress.