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Stalking the Accountant: Tax Planner for the New Tax Laws

Tax season is here with concerns about tax law changes effective this year while the old rules apply to the return being prepared this tax season for 2017. Several new tools are available to help you determine how the tax code changes will affect you.

Drake Software, the program I use in my office, has developed a Tax Planner incorporating the changes in the TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT. If we prepare your return you will get a copy of this diagnostic automatically at no additional cost.

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Should I Prepare My Own Taxes?

There is nothing wrong with doing your own return to the best of your ability and then hiring a tax pro for the return you will file. (Read the last sentence again and again until it sinks in.) Yes, you might have two prep fees for the year: one for the DIY program (required when you print) and the accountant. But you will also see where you missed things.

An alternative is to hire a tax pro when you have a unique issue and then go back to preparing your return for a couple years. Some accountants hate this. I don’t.

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When Claiming Fake Deductions is Legal

Google has a neat feature called Alerts. This feature allows you to get a daily update on any topic you desire. The setup process is so simple even an accountant like me can do it without a problem. Once set up Google scans the internet, news and social media for mentions of your selected topic/s.

I follow a few topics which rarely get an update. I also have an alert of my tax practice: Tax Prep & Accounting Services, Inc.

The name of my practice is generic for a reason. I wanted something simple like General Mills or General Electric or General Motors. While most accounting firms want to spray paint their names across the logo, I wanted a name a buyer would feel comfortable purchasing without changing the name. You see, I was thinking about my exit before I even opened the doors.

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Stalking the Accountant 6 Jan-2018

The IRS was nice enough to tell us yesterday when they’ll open tax season this year: Business returns January 8th and January 29th for individuals.

Talking about tax season, things have been exciting around the office this week as a year of planning is nearly complete.

Finding qualified tax professionals locally is impossible in my small community. If only I could utilize some of the best minds in the industry from around the country.

Enter technology. I might know a thing or three about taxes, but technology eludes your favorite accountant. I do get there; I’m just incredibly slow to reach the destination.

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Tax Preparation

A common request the last few months involves starting a tax preparation side gig. A seasonal tax prep business can be rewarding if you follow a few simple rules. And if it spirals out of control you might find yourself working a full-fledged business 30 years later like a certain tax professional we will not name.

To run a real tax prep side gig you will need some background tax knowledge, an e-filing account with the IRS, commercial grade tax software, workflow management and clients. We will touch on each issue.

Education/Experience: Experience comes with time; there is no shortcut. I started on day one like everyone else. In the beginning it’s best to stick with simpler returns to avoid getting in over your head.

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The Indispensable Man

My last post on questions wealthy people ask their accountant struck an unexpected cord. It also uncovered a serious problem that has plagued this blog since the beginning.

The majority of bloggers come from one of two camps: they write a blog while in retirement or write while working for retirement.

Blogging is a lot of work. Writing is the easy part. Promoting the blog so somebody actually sees your work takes time. This blog does more than simply generate affiliate income. Aside from the passive income, readers discover there is more available from the right accountant. Not knowing a local accountant offering what I suggest they turn to the only place they can go: the contact page.

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Inflection Point

The past week has been an interesting one around the Wealthy Accountant world and all I can think of to explain it is. . .

Put up or shut up.

The best way to tell this story is to go back to the beginning.

Long time readers know I opened shop without knowing I opened shop in 1982. I prepared my first tax returns that year because I wanted the money and it seemed like easy work. It took until the 1989 tax season to realize this is something I could do for a living and still appear as a hard working, up standing (that illusion wore off fast) young man supporting his new wife.

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Never Miss a Charitable Deduction Again

The Wealthy Accountant is turning into a vibrant community. Readers share their stories helping me do my job of teaching you, kind readers, how to live a joyful life without money problems. Readers also do things your favorite accountant cannot. For example, you would never ask me anything about IT. On my best days I am dangerous when given the access codes to computer files in my office. Karen, my office manager, has a standing order with the IT firm managing all our information to never give me a pass code or access to any secure files. It’s better that way.

When it comes to taxes, the story is different. I immerse myself in taxes the way a college guy plays video games. Most tax questions are front brain answers to me and minor research for most of the rest. (Every now and again someone throws me a curve requiring serious research, but we will not talk about those times to protect the ego of the innocent accountant in the room.) Then a reader sends me a link for a website that blows my mind. John Haldi did just that.

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