Tag Archives: Certified Public Accountant

My Taxes Need To Be Done!

Nothing strikes a note of fear into the heart of the average person more than taxes. I learned this from doing taxes for several years in a CPA office. I saw clients come in with several years of unfiled returns. They were totally unable to confront getting the taxes filed. The really sad fact is that most of them lost the refunds they would have gotten by filing on time because the IRS doesn’t refund if the return is over 3 years late.

But that fear is now largely unfounded. Everyone has heard horror stories of past strong-arm tactics by the IRS that were frightening. Those days are over.

Be Honest

In the last ten to fifteen years, the IRS has undertaken reforming themselves and rehabilitating their image. The only way the IRS can take legal action against you is if you intentionally try to defraud the government. Intentionally is the key word. The tax system for individuals is still voluntary as regards filing. If you don’t file a tax return, eventually the IRS will file it for you. They will not take advantage of any of the tax credits or possible deductions outside of the standard deduction. But there really is no need to fear.

Seek Help

Tax software has brought accurate, reliable tax preparation to the individual. You can do it yourself with free tax software. It isn’t foolproof but not for want of trying by Intuit. The IRS tax code and its several thousand pages gives a whole new meaning to the word complex. I have the utmost respect for the programmers who write tax software.

Filing your own federal and state tax returns has become simple. If you only have W-2 income, it probably won’t take more than 30 minutes start to finish. The software takes you down the road of filing without having to even look at a tax form until the end of the process. If you operate a small business as a sole proprietor (not incorporated), the software will help you gather everything you need to classify expenses and deductions and get them entered properly. You can even file your 1040EZ tax return on a PDA or smartphone.

So the fear factor is gone. Even if you file your taxes and later realize there was another deduction that you could have taken, TurboTax will walk you through filing an amended return to get those deductions and/or credits you are entitled to.

So take a deep breath, and get to it. Relax……………………

Dwight Mabe is a freelance writer and financial advisor based out of Greensboro, NC.

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How to Choose a Tax Accountant for Your Business

While you may have been doing taxes on your own in the beginning, a growing business usually needs an accountant. Unfortunately, not all accountants are the same. While some may know a lot about your type of business, others may not. Then there’s the fact that some accountants may be too busy to work with you one on one. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, don’t. Here are a few tips on how to choose a tax accountant for your business.

Find an Accountant That Understands Your Business

There are many different fields of work out there and different accountants will understand different businesses. It’s important that you find an accountant that understands your business or you could risk missing several tax deductions. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, you can deduct things that others can’t, such as books bought for research. An accountant that doesn’t work with writers would try to tell you that this deduction isn’t legal. That’s why you must find an accountant that knows your line of work.

Choose an Accountant That Has Time for You

Accounting isn’t as easy as some accountants would lead you to believe. It takes several hours to complete difficult business forms. If your accountant doesn’t have time to meet with you one on one to discuss your taxes before and after preparing them, you should look for another accountant.

Opt for an Accountant with Experience

There are a number of classes that turn out tax preparers in a matter of weeks. However, when you’re dealing with complicated tax issues, you want to choose someone that has years of experience. Not having enough experience can result in you being audited or paying more than you were supposed to.

Select an Accountant That Uses the Latest Technology

Believe it or not, there are still a number of accountants that do taxes by hand. While there isn’t anything wrong with this method, it will take longer to receive your return. Opt for an accountant that uses the latest technology so that you receive your return quickly and know that the IRS has received your return.

Consider the Accountant’s Qualifications

There are a number of qualifications that an accountant can have. The best accountants will have a CPA along with other certifications, such as ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation). A CMA can prepare your taxes and has passed many exams, but they lack the education that a CPA has.

Seek Out an Accountant That Can Offer More Than Tax Returns

Obviously, tax returns are important, but a business has more accounting needs. You may need to pay estimated taxes or need help keeping financial statements. Either way, there’s a good chance you’ll need your accountant throughout the year rather than just on April 15.

A good business accountant is necessary for not only getting the best return on your taxes, but preparing financial statements. Take your time and choose an accountant that is right for your business.

About the Author: Patria Bigger is a tax advisor who enjoys working with small business owners. During tax season she offers free tax support to her family members and friends but she also recommends anyone who needs help seek the advice of a qualified accountant.

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5 Reasons You Should Hire a CPA This Tax Season

Are you one of those do-it-yourselfers who believes it is always better to know than it is to pay someone else who knows? If so, it is likely that you also feel that you should be doing your own taxes. After all, how hard can it be? Millions of people do their own taxes. There are even easy-to-use software programs to help them through it. Well, while you may be right that you can do your taxes yourself, what you might not have considered are the reasons for why you might want to pass this job off to a professional. Here are five reasons you should hire a CPA this tax season:

Good advice. When you take your tax documents into a CPA’s office, you can expect to get much more than a completed tax form in return. CPAs can give you very valuable advice for how to save on next year’s returns, which can snowball into literally thousands of dollars in subsequent years. That’s because once a CPA sits down to examine your tax-related habits over the course of the previous year, it is easy to identify what you can do differently for a better outcome next year.

Education. Sure, you can buy a computer program and plug in some numbers, but that doesn’t mean you know all about tax code. Unfortunately, what you don’t know might hurt your pocketbook. CPAs are required to stay abreast of the latest code changes, and are privy to potentially money-saving information that you just don’t have.

Liability. If there is a mistake on your tax returns and you aren’t responsible for it, then guess who is responsible. That’s right, the person who prepared the returns. This can save you major headaches down the line, if you are ever audited.

Higher returns. When you hire a CPA, it is likely you will be asked questions about deductibles you’d never even heard of. Having a CPA’s knowledge at your disposal can equate to considerably higher tax return refunds – must more than what a CPA’s services might cost you.

Your questions. When you use a computer program, who answers your questions? What if you don’t know how to account for your home office, or if your housekeeper counts as an employee? Who will tell you? A CPA.

It’s great that you like to do things yourself, but it’s not always necessary . . . and sometimes it’s downright unadvisable. Do yourself a huge favor and skip the stress this tax season by hiring a CPA to do the dirty work.

About the Author: Angelena Chernosky completed her phlebotomist training program in 2011 and plans to work with a CPA to determine how her educational expenses will affect her filing. She was once unemployed but now works in a local hospital and hopes to continue her education so that she can become a registered nurse. Visit http://www.associationphlebotomytraining.com/ for mroe information on how you can enter the field of phlebotomy or healthcare in general.

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