Blog | HR |
10 Min Read
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November 9, 2023

Year-End Tax Filing Tips with Mimi Lewi

by Nina Santos

The year’s end is approaching, and that means tax planning. Empeon Certified Payroll Professional Mimi Lewi shares her in-depth experience to simplify tax season from data gathering to reporting. The healthcare industry, in particular, faces unique challenges, including staff turnover, complex regulations and changing legislation. Mimi’s advice can help employers and employees avoid obstacles and streamline reporting.  

Meet Mimi Lewi: Senior Tax Specialist

While tax filing may seem daunting to some, Mimi Lewi, a senior tax specialist with 13 years of experience at Empeon, is passionate about taxes, including piecing together forms and crunching numbers. She takes pride in empowering customers by teaching them how to understand tax processes and answering their questions related to tax reporting. With her intrinsic knowledge of Empeon, Mimi is well-equipped to assist healthcare customers in tax reporting and considers it her favorite part of the job. 

 

One of the ways Mimi offers customers the best experience is by collaborating with other departments and finding ways to make the HCM system more user-friendly.

“People don’t like taxes because they don’t understand it. It’s so amorphous to them, but the minute you understand taxes, there’s a logic to it, and it makes sense.

For Mimi, providing customers with the tools to understand taxes and year-end tax filing is critical to a company’s success and the employee experience, especially as a lack of knowledge can result in avoidance and error.

“We’re working on enhancements and updates (to keep Empeon) easy to use, understandable, comfortable, and even maybe enjoyable[...]” 

Tax Filing Amid Staffing Challenges in Healthcare 

In an ever-evolving industry, staff turnover is an obstacle that leads to subsequent challenges. And this can impact tax reporting season for healthcare businesses. According to Mimi, among the three most common challenges faced by the healthcare industry are incorrect demographic data (including names and social security numbers), returned W2 forms with incorrect addresses, and wage calculation errors.   
 

How can employers manage these issues? Mimi says that attention and preparation are the keys to keeping accurate data. In relation to the transient environment of healthcare staffing, this is especially important since there may not be enough time to follow up with an employee before they move to their next company. 

“[…] have employees doublecheck their records (and) set up an ESS (employee self service) account.”

An additional challenge for healthcare businesses is that employees can work with multiple employers. While employers may not have access to information from outside their business, they may be able to assist employees by maintaining a clear channel of dialogue. 

“If an employee comes to you and mentions that they have too little taxes withheld, ask if they are working other jobs. The employee may need to increase (tax) withholding so they’re not left with a big tax bill.”   

Accurate and Timely Tax Reporting  

Accuracy in year-end filing ensures financial transparency, compliance, and precision. To keep the reporting system accurate, tax departments file reports quarterly. Once the information is received, it is reconciled by the IRS, which can happen at any time but is most common at the end of the year. Pitfalls arise when states and agencies process incorrect information.  

 

When an employee or company reports inaccurate information, it is flagged by the IRS and adjustments are requested. Sometimes, however, mistakes are not caught right away, and even incorrect personal information, like a wrong social security number, can lead to issues down the road. Mimi describes the consequences of data inaccuracy. 

When he wants to retire, his money’s not there because it was never credited to his account due to the wrong social security number (on file) […]” 

Catching errors as soon as possible can be the key to preventing issues that affect the company’s bottom line and employee morale. Luckily, mitigating the risks of inaccurate reporting simply requires attention to detail, including double-checking all data. Standard best practices include reviewing all documents like social security cards and asking the employee to check their pay stub after their first paycheck. 

 

Encouraging employees to review their information is one of Mimi’s most significant pieces of advice, yet she recognizes that it’s not always the easiest for employers. 

Technology is yet another helpful tool that companies can utilizeMimi explains how Empeon assists in accurate reporting. 

“We have built many validations into our system. […] (With technology), we control the tax set up.”

Resources for Streamlining Year-End Processes 

Staying informed about tax laws, changes, and year-end tax information is crucial for individuals and businesses. Reliable resources help to ensure compliance but also to spot tax savings opportunities. Following tax authority agencies and HCM software companies on social media, reading press releases and receiving newsletters are among the top ways to keep current with state and local tax laws.  

Stay on top of all the updates because states and locals are constantly making updates, and they’re not so good about telling you.

For multi-state employers or employees who file their own taxes, this can be an even bigger obstacle. Mimi recommends simple steps like following the news, in addition to three tax and payroll resources: Symmetry Software, Bloomberg Industry Group, and Wolters Kluwer.  

Mimi’s Take Away Message for Year-End Filing 

Mindful and proactive planning throughout the year is key to staying ahead, but especially in the lead-up to tax filing season. Prompt attention, verifying information, and brushing up on tax knowledge are three main ways employers and employees can enjoy smooth processes at the year’s end. By addressing tax-related matters, diligently verifying information for accuracy, and staying updated with tax laws and regulations, employers and employees can avoid potential penalties and risks while maximizing their tax benefits and ensuring compliance.  

 

So, when is the best time to start planning for the year-end? Mimi’s suggestion is starting around Thanksgiving. 

Get ahead of the season by planning and following Mimi’s tips to streamline tax-filling for your healthcare business. You can also learn more about Mimi Lewi on the Empeon blog. 


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