10 Questions to Ask Your Accountant About Taxes (It’s Never too Early to Prepare)
Like it or not, taxes are complicated business. The rules change frequently, and it can be frustrating to find out about them at the last minute. Hiring an accountant certainly helps, but you still have to do your part. By asking your accountant these ten questions, you’ll be better prepared for tax season — no matter what the time of year.
- What’s the Best Way to Contact You with Questions? To start, make sure you can reach your accountant and find out the best ways for keeping in touch. Does your accountant recommend touching base periodically to keep information flowing? What if you have an important tax question to ask before you make a big purchase?
- How Frequently Should I Consult With You Regarding the Financial Status of My Business? Similarly, it’s good to know that your accountant is keeping up with the current state of your business. Find out how frequently he or she would like to connect with you, whether or not you have any tax-specific questions to ask.
- What Paperwork Should I Keep? Your accountant is going to need you to provide certain financial statements and receipts when it’s time to fill out your tax return. It might seem inconvenient, but remember that your tax professional is looking for every possible way to save you money and make your business more profitable. Ask what is needed ahead of time so you don’t have to scramble for them at the last minute.
- What Expenses Are Tax Deductible? Many expenses qualify, but if you own a home business things can get a little complicated. Knowing what you can deduct as an expense will help you make smarter choices as you spend money on your business throughout the year.
- Is My Home Office Tax Deductible? Speaking of home offices, you can deduct certain utility, mortgage, and rent amounts that are spent on your home office. But the tax law requires you follow certain guidelines. If you are hoping to take this deduction, talk to your accountant about the details and how they apply to your specific situation.
- Can I Take a Deduction for My Car if I Use it for Business? If you use your own vehicle for your small business, you might also be able to deduct part of those expenses. Ask your accountant if you’ll be able to deduct any of your payment, insurance, or maintenance costs at tax time.
- What Should I Have on Hand in Savings? Concerned about having enough to pay owed taxes? Your accountant can advise you how much to keep on hand for tax purposes so you’re not completely shocked when it’s time to file and pay up.
- What’s the Difference Between an Independent Contractor and an Employee? Your small business will have different obligations depending on whether you have true employees or contract workers. Income and employment tax responsibilities can be explained by your accountant, and having that information can help you determine which is a better choice for you.
- Does My Business Structure Matter? Wondering whether you should work as a sole proprietor, establish as an LLC, or file as an S Corp? Each business type will affect your tax filings.
- Are There Any Special Deduction Requirements I Should Know About? Not all deductions are available to all business owners in all situations. If you are counting on a specific deduction when you file, inquire about the specific conditions you need to meet in order to qualify for that deduction.
Asking these questions ahead of time can make getting your taxes done as smooth and painless as possible. It’s never too early to start!
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