The holidays bring many welcome sights like turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, presents, and family and friends. But for those in financial services, it also signals that the most hectic time of their year is fast approaching—tax season.

Whether you’re preparing for tax season as an individual, or a professional that’s going to file on behalf of clients, a wave of paperwork is headed your way. One of the most helpful tips, for everyone involved, is to get moving quickly:

“Get your paperwork to your tax preparer early…February is fantastic. March, especially the first half, is fine. But…if you give your material to your tax preparer on April 1, don’t be upset if you end up having to file an extension.”

Far too often, we like to think that we’re the center of the universe, and the world will move at our pace once we’re ready to get started. That’s hardly ever true, and especially so for tax preparers. They have multiple clients, all expecting the same services, who all want their paperwork completed as fast as humanly possible. So make their lives easy, and get your documents in quickly, and in an organized fashion; and the faster you do that, the faster you get your tax return, a true win-win.

Don’t create more work

While getting your documents to your tax preparer on time and all at once are incredibly important, it’s also imperative to make their lives easier; which means not dumping a box of paperwork on their doorstep.

“Don’t give your tax preparer a shoebox of receipts. Yes it’s tempting, [but G. Scott Haislet] says his firm has a policy of rejecting shoeboxes. ‘It’s inefficient and involves mind-reading,’ he says.

Going through the shoebox and adding up the numbers is your job, unless you talk it over with your preparer beforehand and he or she agrees to accept it.”

Even if you do talk it over with your tax preparer, and they agree to sift through your receipts, cash journal, and receipt books, that’s ultimately money out of your pocket as they are going to bill you for the hours they spent tallying up all the total amounts. Fortunately, there are solutions available to ensure that this won’t happen, and that all of your receipts are easily accessible to those who need them.

Shoeboxed is your friend

While dropping off a literal shoebox of receipts at your tax preparers office is a bad move, leveraging Shoeboxed will ensure a smooth tax season for all. By scanning receipts and uploading them to a secure portal, Shoeboxed will extract important data like vendors, dates, and total amounts, and allow you to create custom reports.

There are a number of ways to signup and use Shoeboxed. You can download our app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device, which turns your phone into a high-tech scanner, and sends data directly into our system. For a low volume of receipts, this is a perfect solution, as you can scan them into your account at your leisure, and export the resulting data to send to your tax preparer.

However, this isn’t feasible for everyone. Some of you have thousands of receipts, and for a multitude of reasons, simply don’t have enough time on your hands to manually scan these documents; which is exactly why we created the Magic Envelope™.

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Instead of spending valuable time scanning document after document, Shoeboxed customers can request a Magic Envelope™, fill it with as many receipts as they can, and then send it back to our headquarters. Once we receive it, our scanning team will be hard at work processing all the contents inside, and ensuring that the data is correct.

Since we began offering this service in 2007, we’ve processed over 28 million documents through the Magic Envelope™, and today, receive upwards of 200,000 documents per month from our customers.

“I have so many receipts in my email from shopping online!” you say?

No problem.

We can also auto-import receipts for Gmail into Shoeboxed so that you never have to take a deep dive into the thousands of emails sitting in your inbox. With our Gmail integration, Shoeboxed scans your emails for attachments, identifies receipts through OCR technology, and sends that image directly to our portal and begins extracting the important data. We also have integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, and a host of your other favorite accounting programs.

So yes, sit back, relax and have a cup of hot chocolate or five this holiday season! But while you’re doing that, give yourself the gift of early tax preparation so that 2019 can be your best year ever.

You won’t regret it. (It’s basically magic.)

You might like: The Ultimate Receipt Organization & Management Resource

About Shoeboxed!

Shoeboxed is a receipt scanning service that supports multiple methods for receipt capture: send, scan, upload, forward, and more!

You can stuff your receipts into one of our Magic Envelopes (prepaid postage within the US). Use our receipt app (iPhone, iPad and Android) to snap a picture while on the go. Auto-import receipts from Gmail. Or forward a receipt to your designated Shoeboxed email address.

Turn your receipts into data and deductibles with our expense reports that include IRS-accepted receipt images.

Join over 1 million businesses scanning & organizing receipts, creating expense reports and more—with Shoeboxed.