4 Steps to Ensure a Successful Tax Return

Updated: May 4

The new year is here, which means it’s time to start thinking about taxes. While never a popular topic, it’s one of those things in life that’s always guaranteed.

As the largest tax and accounting firm for owner-operators, ATBS understands that you’re running a complicated business. You have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, which means you need someone in your corner that can help. One way we do that is to make the tax process as simple as possible. The end result for you -- a successful tax return.

There are a few simple steps required to ensure everything moves as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

But before getting started on your 2020 taxes, it’s important to mention that you should try to make your quarterly estimated tax payments. While you aren’t required to pay estimated taxes, doing so will help you avoid penalties from the IRS.

Step 1

The very first thing you need to do is to send all business related income and expenses to us. The best way to do this is with the ATBS Mobile App. This includes settlement statements and receipts for items you purchased for your truck or business. You won’t need to mail in your food receipts, because we’ll automatically calculate your per diem deduction based on the number of days you spent on the road. We will need to receive these documents on or before February 1, 2021 so we can keep the process moving forward.

Step 2

Next comes the tax organizer. While we understand it can be a fairly lengthy document, it allows us to find every possible deduction. That means less tax liability for you. When filling out your tax organizer, make sure you include the following documents at a minimum:

  • W-2

  • 1099’s

  • 1095-A, 1095-B, or 1095-C

  • 1098s

  • A copy of your prior year tax return if ATBS did not file the return

Please make sure you send us your completed tax organizer on or before February 26, 2021. Go through it a couple of times to double-check that each section has been completed fully. Each year, incomplete tax organizers result in a significant slow-down in the tax return process.

The sooner we receive your completed tax organizer, the sooner we can begin your tax return.

Step 3

Before we can get started on the tax preparation process, you need to make sure your ATBS balance (the amount you owe) is less than $200. If you are unsure about your current balance, or would like to discuss payment options, please call us at 866-920-2827.

Step 4

As we start digging into your tax organizer and preparing your return, there is a good chance we’re going to have some questions. One of the most important things we ask of our clients is that you’re available to promptly respond to emails and voicemails from ATBS employees. The number one reason why the tax process is delayed is because we are unable to speak to clients with questions we have. The sooner we can get things answered, the sooner we can move you along in the tax preparation process.

How we handle tax extensions for our clients

Unless you give us other instructions, we will automatically file an extension for all incomplete tax returns for enrolled clients. While there are a lot of misconceptions floating around regarding tax extensions, it’s important that you understand the truth. There is nothing wrong with filing an extension. It’s not going to increase your chances of being audited and millions of other taxpayers file for extensions every year.

However, it’s also important to understand that even though a tax extension will extend the time you have to file your taxes, it doesn’t extend the time you have to pay. You will still need to pay the estimated amount you owe before April 15, 2021. Doing this will minimize the penalties and interest that you would face.

So while not many of us enjoy the idea of preparing our taxes, it’s something that everyone needs to do. Fortunately, ATBS is here to help take the burden and stress off your shoulders. Give us a call at 866-920-2827 and let one of our experienced tax professionals help you prepare your 2020 tax return.