If tax season tends to throw your business into a panic, you’re not alone. Taxes require careful planning if you want to avoid stress and reduce the risk for audits. Tax planning is the secret weapon for small business owners who want to enjoy tax savings with minimum effort. Let’s take a look at how you can find the best CPA tax preparation in San Antonio to breeze through tax season like a pro.
Things to Look for In a Potential Tax Preparer
You don’t want to hand over all your most important documents to just any accountant. When you start your search for your tax preparer, ensure they have a CPA license. To make your search easier, ask around for a referral so you can find a local San Antonio preparer who understands the specific tax laws and deductions for your situation. Otherwise, they could miss possible deductions, or fail to report the correct information for your industry or location.
Compile a List of Potential CPA Tax Preparation and Tax Accountant Firms
Once you have a list of potential CPAs and tax accountants, set aside time to make some preliminary calls. You want to ask each company about their licenses and experience. Not all accounting companies offer the same services, so ask about their tax preparation fees and services to confirm they meet your needs. Some CPAs in San Antonio charge by the hour while others charge a flat rate for the job.
You want to understand what they include, and if there are any additional fees you might have to pay. For example, if the IRS asks you questions, do they handle that? Do they e-file your submission? If there is an audit, do they stand behind their work? Ask them to provide references from their clients using their tax preparation services. If you feel comfortable with their answers, set up an interview to make your final decision.
Interview a Prospective CPA
During your tax preparer interviews, ask the following questions:
What experience do you have in my industry?
Even if your accountant has excellent references, you need to feel comfortable that they understand your industry. Ask them about the latest tax laws you can take advantage of, or that might be worse for you based on your field. If they hesitate, they might not be up on the latest laws, which could interfere with their ability to file your taxes using all the deductions available.
How much do you think it will cost to complete my taxes?
Bring along last year’s taxes so they can give you a more accurate quote to complete your taxes. Taxes vary greatly in complexity but having an example of your past filing can help them get a better idea of how much work is needed. You can then compare apples to apples when you consider the fees charged by each prospect.
Do you use e-filing?
The IRS requires accounting companies that file over 10 returns each year to use e-filing. If they don’t, that means they have less than 10 clients. And, if they do use e-filing, they are familiar with the process and are more likely to have a wider experience with completing returns.
How will you communicate throughout the process?
Understanding when and how the accountant will be available is important. If you tend to only have time to deal with accounting issues after hours, you want to know they could be available when you need them. Do they email, phone, text? Can you meet remotely instead of having to go into their office? Make sure they work on terms that suit your schedule and preferred mode of communication.
Are they seasonal?
Some tax accountants only do taxes and therefore can be more difficult to reach once tax season ends. This can be very problematic for audits. Also, this means they don’t offer other services to improve your taxes such as tax planning or financial advice.
What do I need to provide?
Your tax preparer should ask for all your records so they can make the most of possible deductions. They should also mention specific paperwork or documents to your industry and state. As you know, the IRS has strict rules, and your tax preparer should know exactly what you need to provide. This shows they do their due diligence to follow the rules while also leveraging any possible deductions that provide you with the best tax savings. If they are vague on what they need, they may not have the experience you are looking for.
Schedule a Meeting with Tolbert CPA
Schedule a meeting with us to learn more about how our small business accounting and tax preparation can set you up for the long-term success you’ve been looking for. Interested in learning more? Check out our Entrepreneur’s Guide to Accounting, where you’ll find helpful articles and resources to grow your business.