It’s finally here. Tax Day, 2016. Inexorable, ineluctable. Time to feed the beast and render unto Caesar. Or, as Ray Liotta memorably said in Goodfellas… well, we can’t actually write it in a company blog. Suffice to say, it ends with, “Pay me.” But whether you’re still sweating over your 1040 or celebrating a windfall from Uncle Sam, there’s one hidden tax that will hit a business in its bottom line: the cost of not developing your employees to meet their individual needs and preparing your business to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Think about today’s business landscape in terms of filling out your tax return: in order to maximize the money you get back, you need to find every deduction and credit you can claim. Employee development is a deduction that can save you big money, but you have to know that it’s there and how to use it to your best advantage. In today’s hyper-competitive market, not developing your people, whether they’re underperforming or high-potential, is like not filing a tax return. Eventually it’ll catch up to you.

What’s important is selecting the development tool that makes most sense for you, which could be one (or more) of a number of solutions: an Action Learning program, 360 feedback, customized coaching, or individual developmental guides.

For a small business that may not have the personnel or resources to justify a full Validation Study or an on-site Action Learning program, providing development and coaching on a case-by-case basis via an Individual Developmental Guide may make the most sense. Tailored to an individual’s personality, including likely strengths and opportunities for improvement in a work context, these types of reports provide targeted feedback, including coaching suggestions and steps for establishing a development plan, in a cost-effective package.

Maybe you use an online service to help you do your taxes; maybe you take your receipts to a CPA. Maybe you’re checking out Optima Tax Relief after being seduced by Alan Thicke’s sonorous baritone. The point is, seeking the advice of professionals, whether on taxes or employee development, will help you maximize your return and, in the long run, pay for itself by identifying opportunities to leverage strengths and address areas for improvement.