How Benefits Teams Can Ease Employee Tax Season Stress This Year

Posted by LearnLux

Tax season can be a stressful time for employees, particularly for those who may not fully understand the tax filing process or who may be struggling with financial difficulties. The IRS reports that the average American will spend 13 hours and $200 dollars preparing their tax return this year.

Because of this heavy burden, it's no surprise that tax season stress spills over into the workplace. Now more than ever, employees are turning to their HR and benefits teams for support.

During tax season, many benefits professionals wonder if it's ok to offer guidance, and if so, how. Here are a few ways you can (legally) lend a hand to your hard-working teams during tax season. 


Encourage employees to get organized

Sorting out your financial life for tax time is no easy feat. One simple way to show support to your employees is by helping them keep important dates and documents top of mind.

  • Add Tax Day to your company calendar. Send tax day reminders out with pay stubs
  • Share a friendly Tax Time Documents Checklist
  • Make it easy to access the forms they’ll need from you (in case they need an additional copy)

This will save your team time in the long run by cutting down on many tax season FAQs that will come knocking at your door. 


Remind team members to review their withholdings

Are employees withholding too much, too little, or just enough? This is one of the tax season questions that could be stressing them out the most.

The IRS released a new Form W-4 (renamed Employee's Withholding Certificate) with some big changes designed to make accurate tax withholding easier for employees. Guiding them towards resources to make the right withholding choices for next year will build tax season confidence in a big way.

Caution: Steer clear of specifically telling employees how many deductions to take, and never fill out any forms on their behalf. This is where things can get legally dicey. However, a financial wellbeing program with Certified Financial Planner™ professionals can provide this personalized guidance.


Show them the power of pre-tax contributions

HSA, FSA, 401(k). Tax season throws an assault of acronyms at us. Why not share a few more that could save employees a bunch of money? Continue the conversation from open enrollment through tax season by educating your team on health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, and retirement benefits.

For example, employees who didn’t withhold enough last year can make HSA contributions up to the filing due date to avoid tax penalties. Steer clear of giving one-on-one guidance, though - that’s best left to qualified, unbiased financial professionals. 

Help them find discounted or free tax prep resources

Another great way to take the stress out of tax season? Lessen the financial sting.

Partner up with a well-vetted local tax preparation provider to offer cheaper rates for employees. Or, reach out to the big tax prep software companies to see if they’ll do a corporate rate for your team at scale. Some tax professionals may even do discounted on-site tax preparation at your workplace, which will save employees time, energy, and hopefully some cash, too.

Many employees also may be eligible for the IRS Free File services, which can be found here.


Remind them about filing an extension

Especially when April rolls around, employee tax season stress may reach an all-time high. Keep employees in-the-know by communicating that they can file for an extension if they can’t meet the deadline. 

While it won’t put off tax payments, it’ll at least delay the paperwork part of things until October. Individual tax filers, regardless of income, can use Free File to electronically request an automatic tax-filing extension.


Provide personalized guidance at scale with a financial wellbeing benefit

Your time as an HR or benefits professional is best spent on initiatives that drive your company’s success, not acting as a tax advisor.

If your workforce shows signs of elevated stress during tax season, or you notice more knocks on your door to talk about W-2s and W-4s, it may be time for a strategic solution. That’s where a holistic financial wellbeing program comes in.

Partnering with programs like LearnLux to offer financial wellbeing will deliver on-demand guidance on taxes, retirement, health insurance, budgeting, saving, investing, and more, directly to employees. With LearnLux’s robust Tax Time content track, employees’ FAQs will be answered with ease. For more personalized help, trusted Certified Financial Planner™ professionals and CPAs are just a phone call away.

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