You might not be a Certified Public Accountant, but you can still take on tax season if you have the right tools. Whether you're a freelancer or a small-business entrepreneur, you can save big — to the tune of $50 to $150 per hour, by 2016 estimates — by doing your taxes yourself.
For the most part, today's tax preparation supplies look a little different than the manila folders and file boxes of the past. Here are five resources you’ll want in your back pocket before tax season is under way.
1. Cloud-Based Accounting
There's good reason that “cloud-based” is a buzz words; if you want to access your documents any time on a variety of connected devices, it's the way to go. With a little planning earlier in the year, you can do that with your essential tax documents for free. With software like Wave , you can track income and expenses by syncing your debit and credit cards throughout the year, which then allows you to generate things like balance sheets or sales tax reports. If you have a small business that needs to add cloud-based invoicing on a budget, apps like Zoho have you covered.
2. Canon MAXIFY MB5420 Printer
The cloud might be the future, and it is indeed a handy tool, but hard copies of your final tax forms are an absolute essential for any tax season. Of course, the need to print — and copy — doesn't end with hard copies of the tax forms. At any given time, you might need copies of last year's returns for you and your spouse, proof of income, deductions and more. Good thing the Canon MAXIFY MB5420 cuts scanning time in half with both double-sided scanning and printing. Quick first print features get you out of the gate within seconds, and a page yield of 2,500 black-and-white pages per ink tank will keeping you ticking well after April.
3. Canon MP11DX Printing Calculator
Sometimes, old-school is the best way to go — it’s the reason printing calculators still occupy a key space among classic accountant supplies.
But you might be surprised to learn that the Canon MP11DX Printing Calculator has some decidedly new-school features, like a built-in tax feature that lets you store a frequently-used rate and pull it up at will, slicing your calculation times by an impressive margin. Long after tax season, small businesses will benefit from profit margin calculation keys that keep track of selling price, discounted rates and desired margins year-round.
4. Smart Receipt Tracker
Even if you're not ready to go full-cloud with your taxes just yet, it's definitely time to migrate away from shoebox accounting.
Speaking of shoeboxes, Shoeboxed is a free mobile app that lets you photograph receipts with your phone's camera. You can designate whether the receipt is deductible or reimbursable before you upload the digital copy to the cloud. The streamlined and aptly named Receipts from Evernote for iOS and Android offers an alternative free receipt-tracking option. And since your wireless printer plays nicely with smartphones and tablets, you'll be able to produce hard copies from your smart devices without the need to hunker down at your computer.
5. Canon Print App
Whether you're printing tax docs from the cloud, your iOS smartphone or your Android tablet, the Canon Print App is the key to sending all your print jobs straight to your Canon MAXIFY Printer wirelessly. It'll also help you manage your scanning jobs, and if you're already keeping records on common storage solutions like Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox, the Canon Print App prints documents directly from those services, without hassle or technological middle man.
Oh, and don't forget to instantly print a celebratory CPA selfie straight from Facebook or Instagram to celebrate your tax-season success.
- Advisory HQ: 2016 Average Accounting Costs and Accountant Fees
- Wave: Easy, Free Accounting Software for Your Business
- TurboTax: Tax Preparation Checklist
- Shoeboxed: Features