Last minute tax season questions? Ask a pro!

Do you have last-minute tax time questions like how to file for an extension? You’re in luck! Shoeboxed is sponsoring a last minute tax season webinar hosted by Tax Alli. Tax Alli’s CEO, Zach Olson, will be answering Shoeboxed users’ tax-related questions.

Do you have questions about filing for a tax extension or just want to make sure you get off on the right foot in 2015? You’re in luck!

Shoeboxed is sponsoring a last minute tax season webinar hosted by Tax Alli. Tax Alli’s CEO, Zach Olson, will be answering Shoeboxed users’ tax-related questions.

A little bit more about Zach and Tax Alli:

Zach Olson is the Founder and CEO of TaxAlli.com. Tax Alli pairs you with one of their in-house accounting teams and provides you with software, which allows you to easily collaborate with their accounting team. Simply connect your bank accounts and credit cards and you’re done. Moving forward, their accounting team ensures your bookkeeping is up to date, payroll is delivered, and taxes are filed.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, April 9 at 1 pm EST. Sign up here!

Disclaimer: This webinar is intended to provide general tax information. You should always seek the advice of a tax professional that is specific to your unique circumstances before making important tax-related decisions.

What Your Accountant Wishes You Knew Before You Walked In

We asked a few accountants to tell us what they wish you would learn before you walk into the office next time. Here are some of the surprising answers!

We treat our accountants like miracle workers. We walk in with a big pile of papers with a panicked look on our faces. They sigh, collect the pile, and sometime later everything is magically fixed and your money isn’t in jeopardy anymore.

If only you would take the time to learn a few things before you walked in, the whole process would actually be much smoother. Not only that, but you could participate in the growth and health of your finances and make your business that much stronger.

We asked a few accountants to tell us what they wish you would learn before you walk into the office next time. Here are some of the surprising answers!

There are No Dumb Questions

Your accountant understands that there are concepts you don’t “get.” If you did, you might not have an accountant. There will always be some new law, or rule, or other regulation that comes up and throws you for a loop. It’s going to happen.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is to simply nod your head and pretend you understand. If you don’t get it, don’t be embarrassed. There are no dumb questions!

“Give me a call if you have a question,” says Chris Peden of The Accounting Scribe, “no matter how insignificant the matter may seem. I would rather have them ask me what they think is a stupid question, than not ask and have something that should have been reported go unreported.”

George Sleeman of Tax Man to You advises, “Not all spending is deductible.” This might seem like a simple concept, but you might not realize it until you ask. “Also, you cannot expense everyday clothing because you wear a suit to work.” How would you have known that if you didn’t ask?

Participate

“Spending the time to review your business operations on an annual basis can be a time to create opportunities for tax savings or keep your compliance in check,” says Lauren Stinson from Windward Tax. “We are here to help you.”

Basically, if you’re not active in your finances, you’re limiting what your money can do. Your accountant can only do so much – they’re going to organize your money in a way they know best. If you have other ideas, though, on how you want your business to move forward, you have to be there to advise.

“I cannot get your return done without all the information I ask for,” Sleeman continues. Without your help, your accountant is only getting half the story. Help them out by participating in the discussion and staying informed.

Set Realistic Expectations

You probably know by now not to rush into your accountant’s office on April 14th with a giant stack of papers for them to help you with. However, you’re probably recreating this same stressful situation throughout the year and not even knowing it.

“I cannot get your return done in an hour,” Sleeman bluntly states. No matter the form or paperwork you want them to help you with, expecting them to literally pull off a miracle is unfair and unprofessional on your end.

On top of that, the more you rush your account the more likely there will be an error. Just make sure you get all your ducks in a row quickly so you have time to calmly explain what you need as well as ask questions when you’re confused.

Accountants are our friends. They keep our feet out of the fire and the taxman from our door. We hope these tidbits from real accountants will help your relationship with your own financial pro run more smoothly!

Zach Olson is the Founder & CEO of TaxAlli.com. At Tax Alli, we pair you with real life accountants and use cloud software to make small business accounting awesome. So you can do what you love while we handle the rest.

5 Reasons to Check in with Your CPA Year-Round

Working with a CPA can save you money and protect you from getting an IRS audit. Here’s why you should work with a CPA all year long, not just in April.

A CPA isn’t someone you should see just once a year. You should take just as much care selecting and building a relationship with your CPA as you do your doctor. While your physician is your main partner in your physical health, your CPA is your primary other half for your financial health (preferably in tandem with a financial advisor). It doesn’t matter if you “just” file a 1040EZ each year or you pride yourself in keeping up with the latest IRS tax changes, because it’s a CPA’s full-time job to know the ins and outs of taxes, which means they know more than you.

Simply put, working with a CPA can save you money and protect you from getting an IRS audit. While the fees for a CPA may look steep up front, many of them won’t nickel and dime you. In fact, there are many CPAs who will only charge you for the time required to actually file your taxes, which means you can shoot them the random tax question any time of year without being charged for it. They’re like your personal inside source to Uncle Sam.

Here are the big reasons why you should secure a CPA throughout the seasons and not just in April:

1. They’ll keep you on top of things

Need a reminder to file your quarterly taxes or on the fence about buying a house this year? Your CPA is that bug in your ear that keeps you in the best tax-related financial health. They’ll keep you informed of any changes, recommend moves to maximize this tax year, and make sure you don’t slip up if you’ve arranged for IRS payments.

2. They’ll save you money

No matter how much or how little you pay in taxes, without a reputable CPA by your side, you’re overpaying. Millions of unclaimed tax dollars sit abandoned each year. Whether it’s writing off postage or forgetting to deduct that eco-friendly applianceyou bought, your CPA will pore over every last purchase to make sure you’re never overcharging yourself. The IRS will take what you give them, if not more, so don’t willingly donate to Uncle Sam.

3. They know all the legal loopholes

A “loophole” doesn’t have the best connotation, but as long as it’s legal, why shouldn’t you get the most benefits? Taxes aren’t easy (no matter what the commercials say), and you can’t rely on a part-time bookkeeper at a pop-up shop in April to know all the ins and outs. You wouldn’t go to a part-time dentist who spent 10 months out of the year waiting tables to take care of your teeth, would you?

4. They help you plan

Not sure if you should start your own foundation or pay into an existing one? Confused on where the best place to open your business is if you live near a border? Asking your CPA any and all money and business related questions throughout the year helps you make the best decisions for you. Sometimes as seemingly minor as opening up shop in Portland instead of Vancouver can cost you thousands since Washington has no state tax and Oregon has some of the highest in the country.

Remember: Your CPA is on your side and has zero interest in getting involved in an IRS audit with you. They’re your advocate, and you can happily pass off the dirty work to them. Just be open and honest with your CPA, and you’ll likely avoid an audit while enjoying more of your hard earned cash. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Larry AltonLarry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.