A party to count on

Chances are you’ve been to a holiday party, Super Bowl party or Academy Awards night parties.  So why not throw a party to do your taxes?  Yummy food, possibly decorations (I’m either feeling Uncle Sam or lots of skulls and crossbones...) and maybe even some soothing music.  You can be creative and even have friends play. Some key elements of a good tax prep party:

Welcome here

Set up stations around your space or a table where friends can actually prepare their returns.  Use a few computer stations for those who prefer submitting online.  If your home is smaller, use clipboards and #2 pencils and fun sharpeners and erasers.  Simple and more complex prep forms, free from the Post Office in your area for your guests.

Fuel

Your call—from wine to some soothing and enervating green tea, to maybe a signature “Deduction Smoothie”, something to keep you all going.  Combine that with appropriate snackage for your friends and you’ve got all you need to keep you going.

Frustration busters

From the IRS helpline numbers, prep help brochures, software to an actual bookkeeper or CPA, a productive prep party can use some help.  Many bookkeepers and CPAs now make house calls.  Maria McMullen, a CPA in Virginia (mariamcmullencpa.com) makes house calls and said she would certainly consider a party.  Google “CPA” or “bookkeeper housecalls” in your area if you aren’t plugged into the accounting world.  Much like a hired palm reader, this professional can be paid for by all the attendees and can possibly answer questions on-site and take some returns away to prep off site if some guests just want the extra help.

Timing

If you set up a party now, chances are most of you will be able to complete your return in a supportive, stress-free environment.  If you do run across questions though, you’ll be able to address them, get further documentation or forms well before the April 15th deadline—again allowing you to prep under calm.

And nothing says you can’t have another party after April 15th, celebrating your savvy in creating a fun, supporting tax prep atmosphere for you and your friends.

IRS resources:

http://www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html

Telephone Assistance for Individuals: Toll-Free, 1-800-829-1040¦lt;br /> Monday – Friday, 7:00am–10:00pm your local time

Telephone Assistance for the Deaf or hearing impaired: Toll-Free 1-800-829-4059 (TDD) Monday – Friday, 7:00am–10:00pm your local time