By Brittney Benz
Property management is a complex business, which means filing taxes can be challenging. Add outdated processes or paper records into the mix and it can cost your business in the long run, too.
While many property management organizations dread tax season, filing doesn’t have to be stressful when you have the right processes and technology solutions in place. As Steven Morgan, Group Product Manager at AppFolio, explains:
“Each year property managers must navigate tax season — re-familiarizing themselves with processes and addressing new requirements. Having the right technology can go a long way towards providing peace of mind that teams are adhering to requirements during annual tax season and can get their work done on time.”
In other words, using the right technology and having streamlined workflows in place before it’s time to file is key. It can also reduce your liability in the event of an audit.
Keep reading for helpful ways to make this tax season easier than ever by improving processes and leveraging smart solutions. Please keep in mind that while this article contains helpful information, we aren’t providing legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax attorney about filing taxes for your individual business.
Tax season tip #1:
Consolidate and centralize your data
Disconnected accounting systems and disparate data not only require a great deal of manual work to collect, but also leave room for human error. Instead, having everything in one system allows you to access accurate data quickly and efficiently, so you don’t have to spend time hunting down files and manually re-checking information.
Tax season tip #2:
Organize files for faster, easier processing
With a digital property management system, it’s even easier to gather your critical files and backup documentation. That’s because the right software can automatically store and update your files year-round, from important tax documents to vendor information, so you have everything at your fingertips when tax season arrives. As an added bonus, there’s also no need to locate physical paperwork or decipher handwriting with a property management software.
However, if you are still using a paper-based system, start gathering and organizing all tax filing documents as soon as possible. Be sure to allow more time than you think you may need to avoid a last-minute crunch.
Tax season tip #3:
Use automation and analytics to spot anomalies
Besides storing data in one place and keeping files organized, a comprehensive property management platform can help detect inconsistencies — like an incorrect ZIP code or an extra digit in a Social Security number — that could result in penalty fees or an unexpected audit. With customized reporting tools and built-in analytics, you can ensure your data is both accurate and complete.
Tax season tip #4:
Keep 1099s in line
Most property managers must issue and file 1099s by January 31, with owner 1099s due by February 28 if filing by paper or March 31 if filing electronically.
This process can easily fall through the cracks if you’re not careful, but property management software can be a huge time-saver. The right software can even help you send 1099s to owners on time and file electronically instead of by mail.
Want more ways to streamline your 1099s? Check out our article 5 Tips to Prepare for End-of-Year Reporting and 1099s.
Tax season tip #5:
Free your team to focus on high-value work
Managing tax season can be a time-consuming task that distracts from other essential business duties. Manually entering data can be tedious and lead to mistakes, rework, and potential filing penalties. However, with a great software system in place, your team can focus on higher-level options like staying up to date on the latest tax laws and researching potential deductions that could save your business additional money.
Taxes are an inevitable part of owning a property management business. But when all of your data and documentation are quickly accessible, organized, and accurate, tax season becomes significantly easier and much less stressful.