How to Help Employees Through Tax Season

Joseph Stubblebine
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Tax season is just around the corner, and chances are you have at least one employee who is worried about filing a federal, state or local return. Filing taxes is something almost every working adult must do, but complicated tax rules and mountains of paperwork can overwhelm even the most organized employees. Helping your employees during tax season is not just a nice thing to do — it's also a smart business move.

One of the easiest ways to help your employees during tax season is to make sure you distribute W-2 forms and other tax forms in a timely manner. Legally, you have until January 31 of each year to mail employee W-2 forms, but waiting until the last minute prevents workers from filing taxes early. Try to distribute these forms as early as possible so that employees who are expecting a refund can file their returns. If you expect any delays, communicate with employees promptly. Making an announcement as soon as you know about the delay will put employees at ease and reduce the number of panicked phone calls to your HR office.

Ask department managers to distribute work as evenly as possible. If an employee is stressed about tax season, she's likely to feel resentful if she works late every night and sees other people leaving early. It's not always possible to distribute work evenly, but attempting to do so will help you put employees at ease and prevent complaints about unfair treatment during tax season. If your company has an employee assistance program, be sure every employee knows how to take advantage of needed services. Some employees might need financial counseling, while others want to discuss how their health care expenses will affect their tax returns.

If you can't reduce the workload or give employees access to financial counseling or other resources, make it easy for workers to relieve some of the stress associated with tax season. Allow employees to take a few minutes to stretch their muscles or listen to relaxing music. If you have the budget for it, offer in-office chair massages or aromatherapy sessions as tax season draws to a close. Encourage employees to get up and walk around during their shifts. Exercise relieves stress, so it is a good tool for reducing stress in the workplace.

Helping your employees deal with the stress of tax season is a great way to retain top talent and attract new employees. Start by distributing tax forms in a timely manner. If your company has the resources to do so, provide on-site chair massages or give workers access to employee assistance services. Helping employees during tax season will improve morale and reduce absenteeism, making this an issue you can't afford to ignore.

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