The end of the calendar year through early new year is a busy time for businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies alike. Holiday events and vacation coupled with an abundance of end-of-year tasks can leave any company or agency pressed for time, and perhaps the most important task you may face is preparing for year-end tax documentation.

Because the stakes are so high, tax document processing and distribution isn’t a task that can or should be rushed. That’s why advanced preparation to facilitate data storage and processing—as well as choosing dependable outsourcing partners—is so important.

As you get ready for year-end tax document distribution, developing a plan that focuses on efficiency, accuracy, and reliability is key to avoiding costly tax season pitfalls. This guide will provide simple measures for tax processing optimization to help you streamline your year-end tax document processing and ensure a hassle-free tax season.

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Understanding the Significance of Tax Document Processing

Regulatory Compliance

Tax documentation requires strict adherence to regulations at local, state, and federal levels, from safeguarding customer and employee data to following exact timelines for completion. When businesses and agencies fail to meet guidelines, they can face severe consequences, including penalties by local, state, or federal tax agencies.

Meeting compliance requirements isn’t just about jumping through hoops—it’s about protecting your customers’, clients’, and partners’ best interests. When you meet and exceed guidelines, particularly those pertaining to the safeguarding of personal information, you can also prevent costly data breaches that can tarnish reputations and require significant time and expense to recover from.

Client and Donor Trust

When your clients and customers rely on your tax documents for their year-end tax preparation, it’s crucial that those documents are received on time and that they contain no inaccuracies that can cause confusion or tax filing issues. Efficient tax document processing is an important form of customer service, and when your company or agency does this well, it can reinforce trust and underscore your commitment to professionalism.

For nonprofit agencies, tax statements can facilitate strong and continual relationships with donors. For banks and investment management firms, they are just one of many signs that your institution is organized and fiscally responsible, an increasingly important message in a world with ever-decreasing satisfaction in the financial industry.

Operational Efficiency

For many agencies, companies, and institutions, this may be the most sought-after aspect of tax document processing. A herculean task often further complicated by errors or issues uncovered during document ingestion, tax documentation can be time consuming and tedious—especially if your organization is striving to get everything right, without outside assistance.

When you make efforts to streamline operations and reduce inefficiencies caused by errors, you can save your company or institution valuable resources.

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Best Practices for Tax Document Management

Preparing for year-end tax document processing means creating systems and protocols that reduce errors, promote efficiency, and protect personal information. While this may seem like a lot of goals to juggle, there are certain practices that can assist on multiple fronts. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to facilitate your tax document management process.

Establish File and Folder Naming Policies

Standardizing your digital organizational systems can save time, avoid duplication, and prevent errors. Be sure to accurately describe the type of document in the file name (e.g., “Client Engagement Letter” or “1040 Tax Return)” and maintain standard descriptions across your organization.

Creating file and folder template systems that can be duplicated each year and simplify the process and help maintain consistency.

Use Cloud-based File Storage

Many tax preparation and workflow solutions vendors offer integrated, cost-effective cloud storage as part of their packages. Cloud storage offers:

  • Enhanced Security: Better protection against breaches and data loss.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Lower total storage costs compared to maintaining in-house servers.
  • Better Collaboration: Cloud platforms typically provide seamless collaboration tools and real-time data access, making data easier to share.

Specify File Permissions to Increase Security

There has been a rapid increase in confidential employee data collection, especially since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010. Subsequently, there has also been a rise in threats to this data from both internal and external sources. Creating permissions can reduce the number of individuals who have access to sensitive data, thereby reducing risk.

Create user groups and individual users with defined access rights and be sure to pre-set these rights to dictate the folders and files each group/user can access. This will allow professionals, support staff, and clients to access necessary information without jeopardizing other firm data.

Control for Data Entry Errors

Data entry errors can be costly in both time and the extra labor needed to correct them. In order to minimize the disruption caused by errors, it’s important to take advantage of advanced document management technologies and take steps to promote high-quality data entry practices. Self-learning document management and tax prep systems can recognize and auto-correct consistent data entry error patterns, allowing your data entry personnel to avoid many tedious correction tasks. Additionally, taking the time to create well-managed and considered training and workflow plans can promote efficient and error-free entry.

Ensure Secure Data Transfer

When transferring customer or employee data, you need to balance efficiency with security. Traditional transfer methods, including delivering paper forms via courier services (e.g., FedEx) and in person, through direct face-to-face meetings, can be secure if the proper measures are taken. However, the downside is reduced efficiency, as this process can significantly prolong preparation time for returns.

When seeking efficiency, companies may be tempted to turn to more common forms of data transfer, including emailing files or transferring via temporary file storage devices (e.g., USBs). Unfortunately, as many businesses have learned the hard way, email can be especially vulnerable to breaches, and external drives can carry the risk of spreading malware and other computer viruses.

Perhaps the best solution is to utilize a web-based portal designed specifically for sensitive data transmission, which can offer both a secure and quick transfer of data. In fact, many tax preparation and accounting softwares now include secure client portals for this purpose.

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Why Use PrintMail Tax Form Processing?

For businesses of any size, tax form processing can be a burdensome process in an already busy time. While your company may get by on in-house expertise or the occasional assistance of some outside professional help, utilizing a tax form processing service can increase security and efficiency, while reducing demands on staff. Because of the sensitivity of the data being handled, the tight turnaround requirements, and the risks associated with failing to meet security and timeline needs, it’s important to choose a tax form processor that you can depend upon.

With 2.2 million tax documents printed last year (2022) alone, PrintMail has the experience needed to provide timely, secure, and accurate tax form processing. Rely on PrintMail for:

Expertise. Our knowledgeable staff is always up-to-date on the latest regulatory changes and we specialize in year-end tax compliance. This minimizes the efforts for in-house training for your team, while ensuring you meet compliance requirements.

Risk mitigation. Benefit from reduced errors when your preparation is handled within our cutting-edge systems and managed by experienced staff. Rest easy knowing that client and company data will be secure. As an SOC2 compliant company, we assure you that your data and your clients’ privacy is always protected.

Cost efficiency. Adapting to regulatory changes can be expensive, as can penalties that come with non-compliance. We can help you successfully navigate the most current tax codes and requirements, avoiding penalties and decreasing time spent worrying about the details. Beyond creating time-efficiencies and reducing risks of penalties, we can save you money on many other details associated with tax form processing, from the price of envelopes (our proprietary forms allow us to significantly reduce costs) to tax form inventory and storage.

Flexibility and scalability. With regulation changes and company or client growth, come increases in tax reporting volume and complexity. PrintMail uses the latest software and technologies to accommodate changing needs and requirements.

Tax Documents We Process and Delivery Deadlines

At PrintMail, we are able to efficiently process common tax documents for employers as well as financial institutions and nonprofit and government agencies, with an average turn time from file receipt to shipment of 5.9 days. However, it’s important to remember that the IRS reserves the right to modify or change these deadlines if they coincide with weekends or federal holidays. For the most updated information, you should always consult the most recent IRS publications or the IRS website.

The following is a list of forms we are able to process, as well as IRS standard deadlines for processing.

Form 1098 Series

Includes 1098, 1098-T, and 1098-E, and 1098-SUB

  • To the recipient: January 31
  • To the IRS: February 28 (if filing on paper), March 31 (if filing electronically)

Form 1099 Series

Includes 1099-A, 1099-C, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT, 1099-MISC, 1099-Q, 1099-R, 1099-SA

  • To the recipient: January 31
  • To the IRS: February 28 (if filing on paper), March 31 (if filing electronically)

For Form 1099-NEC

  • To the recipient: January 31
  • To the IRS: January 31

For Form 1099-B and 1099-S

  • To the recipient: February 15
  • To the IRS: February 28 (if filing on paper), March 31 (if filing electronically)

Form 5498-ESA

  • To the recipient: May 31
  • To the IRS: May 31

Form 5498 and 5498-SA

  • To the recipient: May 31
  • To the IRS: May 31

Form 1042-S

  • To the recipient: March 15
  • To the IRS: March 15

To better understand deadline requirements for your company or agency, contact a customer service representative at PrintMail, or take a look at our suggested timeline below.

Suggested Timeline to Meet IRS Deadlines

A detailed plan for meeting IRS deadlines is essential to ensuring compliance and on-time submissions. While other print vendors often want all tax data in and approved by the end of the first week of January, PrintMail offers an improvement in this area, with an average turnaround time of less than 6 days.

The timeline below provides insights into the efficiency of our schedule.

Tax Timeline 2024

While this timeline is an important baseline for our tax document processing schedule, it may be possible to accommodate modifications. Reach out to a team member for any schedule inquiries or concerns.

Partner with PrintMail for Your Tax Form Processing Needs

To alleviate winter time crunches and prevent costly accounting errors, more companies are turning to tax document outsourcing services to meet their needs. Not only can they take these extraneous burdens off of staff, they can also help ensure that tax documents are accurate, delivered on schedule, and adhere to local, state, and federal regulations.

At PrintMail, we offer cost-effective, fast, and reliable print and mail tax form processing services for government agencies, townships and municipalities, financial institutions and services, nonprofit organizations, and others.

Managing year-end tax documents can get easier—with the right practices and partnerships. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help.