Tax Prep and Immigration Technology: Not as Different as You Think

April 19, 2018 Chelsea Iversen

Ah, yes. Tax season is over.

But imagine for a second a world where you couldn’t have an accountant do your taxes for you. Imagine you didn’t have tax preparation software guiding you through the process. Imagine you still had to do your taxes yourself, by hand.

There are people out there doing it manually (bless them), but once things start to get complicated – even just a little bit – the entire process becomes a headache. Some of us don’t have time to spend reading and interpreting tax forms… We don’t have the expertise to know which form goes with what and how to calculate our highest deduction… We don’t know what has changed since last year, like tax rates or after we’ve gotten married or moved to a new state… And, then there’s always that lingering fear: What if I do it wrong?

Thanks to technology, we now have somewhere to turn when we can’t stomach the thought of doing our taxes alone. And it’s no wonder so many of us turn to technology in our time of tax need.

But then, why don’t we turn to technology to help manage the immigration process? In many ways, taxes and immigration are not that different. They’re both complex and confusing, they shift with the political tides, they require paperwork on top of paperwork, and there can be severe penalties for getting either wrong.

immigration technology and tax prep aren't that different, really

Only, immigration management is more cumbersome, really. It involves more than just one person or one family. It involves multiple people, moving to multiple countries, with multiple laws to deal with. And, on top of that, those laws are changing at what seems like a monthly basis.

Oh, and there’s only one time of year designated for taxes. But for immigration, though there is a popular season (H-1B visa season isn’t to be taken lightly), there’s no end date when all your immigration paperwork is due. No annual kumbaya moment when we all can breathe and celebrate that we filed all our paperwork and can now relax for a year.

Corporate immigration is like tax season but on steroids. Which is why it’s crazy to think that so many companies still do it all manually. On their own. Without technology.

Why use immigration technology?

Just as it is for tax preparation, an immigration management platform can be a savior for corporate immigration. It can help you take time-consuming, uber-complicated, ever-changing legal processes and make them easier. That’s what technology does. So why don’t we let it help us whenever possible?

Here are just some of the ways technology can help save you from manual immigration:

You can see the big picture

Just like with tax preparation software, immigration software can help you track your progress and see the entire scope of your immigration picture. Some tax software includes a little toggle at the top of your screen to let you know how your refund is looking. It sends you reminder emails to finish up when you’re not quite done. It even gives you a little checklist that it runs through with you to make sure everything looks good.

With immigration technology, you can expect similar birds-eye-view functions. You can use a centralized dashboard to organize all the visas at your company, and see the status of everyone, so you can track the progress of each individual while staying on top of the big picture. You can track your long-term to-dos, receive notifications of necessary visa renewal and petition submission dates and stay on top of deadlines. With immigration technology, you can even tap into company-level reporting, heat maps and country-of-origin reports so you can make plans for next steps.

It helps you prioritize

immigration technology - it helps you prioritize

Tax preparation technology walks us through the process, helping us determine which part needs to happen before the next part can. A step-by-step guide is built into the technology to make the process so easy, you don’t have to be a CPA to do it.

With the right platform, immigration technology can help guide you in a similar manner, helping you not just track expiration dates (that’s the easy part), but also synchronize company priorities, track global immigration travel schedules and connect attorney and manager availability. With immigration technology, you can identify which cases are ready to move ahead in the process. In short, it guides you to get through high-priority to-dos first so you can maximize your time.

You get access to expert help

You need to talk to experts sometimes, especially with the tax laws in the U.S. changing every once in a while. It’s hard to keep up, not just with the details of each case, but with the changes from year to year. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s confusing if you didn’t get a degree in tax accounting. Luckily, tax preparation software gives you the ability to ask questions if you need to, directly within the platform.

With immigration technology? Well, if it’s done right, you can have a 24/7 open line of communication with a dedicated team of experts, all familiar with your specific cases. Using platform-based tools for immigration allows you to communicate with your immigration attorney faster, ask tough legal questions and get personalized answers in hours through a chat function.

Your documents live in the cloud

Tax forms, including those you completed last year and the year before that, are all saved in your cloud-based tax prep account. That way, you have what you need when you need it. But it’s secure enough so only you can access it.

When it comes to immigration technology, secure, cloud-based documentation storage is even more important. Some employees have complicated immigration records – with years of renewal documentation to organize and store, as well as sensitive data and travel histories to keep on hand. With the right immigration technology, you can take all this critical documentation and secure your immigration data in a safe and compliant manner. That’s something technology can provide that in-office desktops simply can’t.

Questions about how immigration technology can help make your life easier?

Download our new Immigration Tech During Times of Regulation Change eBook. Then contact us to learn more about how a tech-enabled immigration provider can help.

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