When it comes to finances no one should know yours better than you. If you need help, there are professions to provide guidance. However, the role of an accountant might seem mysterious if you work in a different field. But managing money is something everyone has to do, regardless of their profession. And there are certain things you should know. Some professionals have weighed in on what accountants wish you knew.
1. You Need a Basic Understanding of Your Own Finances
If you have questions, please ask them. Your accountant wants to help. Unfortunately, they cannot keep track of your finances 24/7. Therefore it is imperative that you have a constant idea of what they look like. Should you run into any trouble, or there’s a problem you can’t figure out, by all means, reach out to your accountant. But the more organized you are when you meet with them, the better they will be able to assist you.
2. Not All Accountants Are Tax Experts
Come tax time many people stress about getting their taxes done on time. Be sure that your accountant is familiar with tax laws and how to file them. There are various kinds of accountants and not all of them require an in-depth knowledge of taxes. Choose an income tax expert for this specialized area. Remember, you can communicate with them throughout the year, too. Consult them on–for example–how to best track business expenses or charitable donations.
3. You Are Not the Only Client
Unless you run a business with an accountant on your staff please understand that you are not the only one that needs the accountant’s help. During tax time especially, many people need an accountant’s attention. While it’s appreciated that you have all of your information put together your accountant may not be able to review your information if you “just drop it off,” says CPA Practice Advisor. Like with any other consultant, make an appointment so you can review the content together.
4. Don’t Put Your Taxes Off to the Last Minute
CPA’s realize that this may be unavoidable. Sometimes it can take a while to get all of the tax documents you need. This is especially true if you have a lot of investments. However, if your taxes are simple and all you need to file is one or two W-2s take time early to file these. Your taxes are important to your CPA but if they are simple and can be taken care of quickly it’ll mean less stress for both parties to do them early.
5. A Tax Extension Doesn’t Change Your Due Date
Many people don’t realize this but if you owe taxes and the IRS granted you an extension, the due date remains the same. Quickbooks points out that “extensions are granted when you need more time to get your paperwork in order, not to defer when you have to pay.” They also explain that at least 90% of what is owed is due on tax day. Should you miss this date you will be subject penalties and late fees.
6. Tax Laws Change
As of January 1, 2018, new tax laws have come into effect. Although these laws are complex and hard to understand it behooves you to try getting a basic understanding of what this means for you. Reader’s Digest breaks down some things, like what you can and cannot claim anymore but it’s important to dig deep and research what you can on your own. Your accountant doesn’t expect you to understand everything but it is helpful if you go in already knowing that you can’t claim moving, medical expenses, or disaster costs anymore.
The most important thing we want you to know here at DCA CPAs is we truly appreciate your business. Our team members value their relationship with you as you do theirs. When tax time comes around again or you need help creating a budget feel free to contact us for a consultation.