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Shanna Skidmore

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Five questions to ask your CPA at tax time

It’s that time of year … as we all learned from Meet Joe Black there are only two certainties in life :  “death and taxes”. As a former Fortune 100 financial advisor I’ve spent many years talking about financial planning and money management but all these numbers started as a 19 year old sophomore in college sitting in accounting class. Some people say accounting is like backwards math, and in a lot of ways it is. But for one reason or another my brain has just clicked with accounting and I love seeing those debits = credits.

I know as a business owner you may or may not share my fascination with the numbers side of your business.  It’s easy to go cross eyed looking at all the spreadsheets that tend to come with owning your own business and even harder to sit down with a “professional” and essentially ask for help. Believe me, I have a very similar feeling anytime someone tries to talk with me about SEO or marketing metrics. No thank you 😉

This tax season I would love to help you get the most out of these meetings with your tax professional and share FIVE QUESTIONS every business owner should ask their tax professional this tax season to better understand their business!

 

Five questions to ask your CPA at tax time

1.

Do you see ways I could be tracking my data better?

I know for some of you the days of keeping your business receipts in a shoebox until April 14th are still very much a reality, your tax professional can give you some great tips on how to manage your business finances to maximize your tax savings! Investing in a bookkeeping professional isn’t a possibility for all of us, but missing out on tax deductions could be costing you more in the long run!

Related : 3 ways to prepare for tax season throughout the year and avoid scrambling last minute.

 

2.

What could I do to make your job easier (or decrease preparation time)?

While many tax professionals charge a flat fee to file taxes, if they are having to make a lot of corrections to your books they may charge an hourly fee. Which can get expensive quickly! Once you understand the specific information they need from you to do their job, it makes preparing for tax time much easier on your end.

 

3.

Do you see any red flags in my numbers?

For instance, are any spending categories or expenses you see too high or too low? This can give you insight into whether your rent is too high or could be spending more on hiring help.

 

4.

Should I be paying quarterly estimates? If I should, how?

Many businesses should be paying quarterly taxes. It typically depends on the amount of tax you owed the previous year. This is a great question to ask your tax professional instead of worrying about it throughout the year! This article might also be helpful.

 

5.

Do you see opportunities to decrease my tax burden?

Where you live, how your business is licensed and how household income are just a few of the many factors that affect your ultimate tax liability. Utilize your tax professionals brain and see if there are strategic moves you can make to decrease your tax liability!

While yes, tax time isn’t a small business owners best friend, I hope you use these questions to learn more about your business and continue getting smarter with the numbers in your business.


Want to dig deeper?

Snag the Class : Get Tax Day Ready, five strategies to make tax prep easier this year!

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