It is that time of year again! This is the time when most companies call their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or are considering hiring one, to complete their taxes. If you are working with an external CPA and paying by the hour, you want to make sure you have your information organized and ready to go to minimize your cost. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you get the most benefit and lowest bill from your CPA!
What Should You Take with You to the CPA?
It will take a little time to get adequately prepared to meet with your CPA, depending on the size of your firm. So, set aside an adequate amount of time to prepare your information. The first thing you should bring is your prior year tax returns if there are any. This will help your CPA prepare Schedule C for your 1040.
If you are an independent contractor or provide services, you will want to bring along any 1099-MISCs from your clients. Make sure to check you got all the 1099s you SHOULD have gotten, too. Other businesses can forget or may be slow in getting them out. The other side of the coin is IRS Form 1096 you sent to the IRS detailing the 1099-MISCs from your business to your service vendors.
Bring along your payroll forms for any employees (W-2, W-3, quarterly payroll reports filed) and a payroll summary for the year. Be prepared to discuss the exempt and non-exempt status of employees and any benefits or bonuses you may have paid.
Expenses are of peak importance so you can minimize your taxes. So, bring along your bank and credit card statements. The bank statements will show cash flow, revenues, and expenses. Credit card statements will, of course, detail expenditures and any interest you may be able to deduct. Also, bring in your petty cash account records for the year. If you are an LLC, bring along the records from the Capital Account you used to make owner withdrawals.
Aside from these records and forms, make sure to bring information on your health insurance, investments, capital purchases, loans, or other assets. This includes your inventory records so that the CPA can calculate your cost of goods schedule. If you have a home office or use a personal vehicle for your business, bring along your mileage logs and square footage of your office.
Of course, much of this is contained in your year-end financial statements. So, bring along a paper printout of your statements but also your electronic copy. Whether you use accounting software or a spreadsheet, bring along the electronic copy on a USB or send it ahead of time by email. This will eliminate most data entry for the CPA’s staff and reduce your bill!
If you don’t have a CPA already, investigate hiring a part-time CPA firm that can do your taxes but also stick with you through the rest of the year to help with your operations. The money you save by contacting companies like Des Moines Accountants or CustomOne CFO & Controllers could easily pay for the services and increase your profits by eliminating mistakes and refining your business operations!
Working closely with your CPA