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Adulting - Tax Help

  1. #1
    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Adulting - Tax Help

    I had a big year and I'm in way over my head. How does one go about finding help with tax related issues? Got married, moving to a new state, buying my first house, and had some tax-advantaged money come in from an inheritance. Oh and I've got a baby on the way. Too many moving parts for me.

    Google local CPAs?

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    Backwoods lobster boy number9's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    NDCPA on here is a CPA.

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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Petorius View Post
    I had a big year and I'm in way over my head. How does one go about finding help with tax related issues? Got married, moving to a new state, buying my first house, and had some tax-advantaged money come in from an inheritance. Oh and I've got a baby on the way. Too many moving parts for me.

    Google local CPAs?
    Sent you a text.

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    Bizarro Zoolander Petorius's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    I should mention- I'm pretty much moved to SC at this point. More looking for general tips on how to find the help I need without spending disproportionately to my relatively low net worth.

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    ^ It's my bike and my car tls25rs's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Petorius View Post
    IOh and I've got a baby on the way.
    No help on the original question but congrats on the baby on the way!

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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    We switched over to a full CPA a few years back. Not significantly more $$$ yearly than doing a software package, and he's done wonders for us financially.

    Find one that's recommended and only works on referrals from existing clients. It's a good way to sort the unsavory advertisers from the legit ones.

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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    We switched over to a full CPA a few years back. Not significantly more $$$ yearly than doing a software package, and he's done wonders for us financially.

    Find one that's recommended and only works on referrals from existing clients. It's a good way to sort the unsavory advertisers from the legit ones.
    So who is your recommendation?

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    I've gone the opposite route. Fired my costly CPA and started using the cheap commodity tax software. I can't tell you if it missed out on deductions but I can absolutely tell you it slashed my tax prep costs.

    But yeah, hiring a pro may be worth it for this year due to the number of quirks. Once you have a professionally prepared return to consult for next year-assuming nothing changes-it might be easier.

    Good luck finding someone. This is a challenge for many of us. I was referred to a preparer through family and pretty disappointed at the service I got for the cost. They offered very little in terms of tax advice that isn't freely available elsewhere. At one point they straight out told me that my situation was too simple to get any real tax savings. The tax software seems to agree.

    My sister runs her own business and her situation is entirely different.


    Married: You file according to your status as of 12/31. So for 2017 you will be filing a joint return. Lucky you!

    Kiddo: IIRC it doesn't count until it has a SSN. So not until it's squirted out. Then you get to claim head of household, multiple dependents. All that. I'd wait to adjust your withholding as I always favor a refund over tax due. But YMMV.

    House: Mortgage principal + property tax may mean it is finally worth itemizing. The tax software has this stuff figured out as it applies to many. Pretty straight forward and it will automagically decide if itemizing vs the standard deductions are worth it. It all depends on how much you spend on the mortgage + taxes. For me it's a nobrainer.. but then my taxes are absurd. You'll get a statement (1098) that lists the total principal paid and the property tax paid on your behalf if it was paid from escrow (true for most of us). It's pretty straight forward

    Interstate move: Dunno, never done it

    Tax advantaged inheritance: Dunno, never done it

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    Quote Originally Posted by virtualbong View Post
    So who is your recommendation?
    +1.. and can you elaborate on what kind of "wonders" the CPA worked? More deductions? General tax / savings advice? Something else?
    Legitimately curious..

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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    If the estate was handled properly, i.e. trust fund, then you pay zero taxes on it, with the exception of capital gains made on the trust from the time of death to the time of payout.

    If it is going through probate, well, you will pay.

    Life insurance payouts are tax free.

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  11. #11

    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    I used an accountant through referrals from my real estate office. Here was my experience.
    -easy to setup first appointment
    -was told "you have a lot going on, there is no way we can get this done before April 15th" - partially my fault, I dropped off my stuff late February.
    -waited 1 month after April to let the dust settle - sent follow up email, no response
    -waited 1 week, sent another follow up email - "oh sorry all of us have been out of town catching up on continuing education"
    -2 months pass - no response
    -email - no response
    -called - "she's busy". Call later "She's busy, can I have her call you back?" - no return phone call
    -sick and tired of this $hit - said I'm coming down to get my originals back - suddenly "oh you were next on the list"
    -back and forth, back and forth, every update took 1 week (ie. "hey we looked at X today...we'll get back to you")
    -they submitted 2-3 days before October 15th
    -sent her an article that it's better to spread out 401k throughout the year vs. front load (because match stops once you max out). She said I was wrong. Asked her questions about the tax law changes at her presentation on it; she didn't have good answers for it that I couldn't just find online. Seems there weren't many tax benefits/deductions/advantages she could tell me about that I didn't already know. Her summary was "taxes are a part of life". If I want more cash in my hand, just work more hours as a W2 and pay the taxes.

    my 2016: closed on rental in January 2016, had a couple units rented the whole year, lived in one. Had a roommate for part of the year, moved out and rented the last unit by month 12, closed on another rental by December 2016. W2. Not married, no kids, no business. Didn't even buy and sell any damn stocks through a taxable account (just usual buying stuff through 401k). How complicated could that be?!?

    I have a copy of the return so I can see what goes where. Don't think I'm closing on another rental for 2017 so I'm going to prepare it myself and bring it to a CPA for review.

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    Last edited by breakdirt916; 12-05-17 at 12:30 PM.
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    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    Without getting into to much personal details, our CPA (family CPA for years who we finally started using) layed out exactly what we can do to shelter more of our income from taxes, what a "typical" deduction was for donations/cash/etc, what needs proof and what doesn't, and what to do next year to make it even better come tax time.

    $150 fee. I was already paying $80+/- for doing it myself. No brainer.

    Meeting takes about an hour a year. Come back a week or two later to pick up the returns to sign and send in. Done.

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    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    $150 is pretty reasonable. I've seen a lot charging much more than that.

    I was expecting to have an hour long conversation with someone asking me Q's and directing me towards more / bigger deductions and/or some time spent on savings strategy. I got none of that. The real deal breaker for me was when they offloaded the data entry to me! Just like fucking turbo-tax but with a 3 week delay between me entering the data and them getting around to preparing the return!

    I often wondered if my expectations were not reasonable.

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  14. #14
    I've been here before. Mustang's Avatar
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    I'm a CPA, and I prepare tax returns for a number of members here and on BoRn (I have clients outside the motorcycling world as well).

    Everything in the next two quotes is correct
    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Married: You file according to your status as of 12/31. So for 2017 you will be filing a joint return. Lucky you!

    Kiddo: IIRC it doesn't count until it has a SSN. So not until it's squirted out. Then you get to claim head of household, multiple dependents. All that. I'd wait to adjust your withholding as I always favor a refund over tax due. But YMMV.

    House: Mortgage principal + property tax may mean it is finally worth itemizing. The tax software has this stuff figured out as it applies to many. Pretty straight forward and it will automagically decide if itemizing vs the standard deductions are worth it. It all depends on how much you spend on the mortgage + taxes. For me it's a nobrainer.. but then my taxes are absurd. You'll get a statement (1098) that lists the total principal paid and the property tax paid on your behalf if it was paid from escrow (true for most of us). It's pretty straight forward
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    If the estate was handled properly, i.e. trust fund, then you pay zero taxes on it, with the exception of capital gains made on the trust from the time of death to the time of payout.

    If it is going through probate, well, you will pay.

    Life insurance payouts are tax free.
    The interstate move is unlikely to have significant benefits. Are you moving because of work? Are there any relocation benefits / reimbursement involved?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIglu View Post
    Without getting into to much personal details, our CPA (family CPA for years who we finally started using) layed out exactly what we can do to shelter more of our income from taxes, what a "typical" deduction was for donations/cash/etc, what needs proof and what doesn't, and what to do next year to make it even better come tax time.

    $150 fee. I was already paying $80+/- for doing it myself. No brainer.

    Meeting takes about an hour a year. Come back a week or two later to pick up the returns to sign and send in. Done.
    This statement typically applies to me as a CPA, and to the general population as tax return preparation clients. While my fees vary based on the complexity of each client's returns, most clients' fees are in the $1-200 range, and I don't think I've had a client yet who's required fees >$400.

    I don't typically "meet" with clients - one, because it's 2017 and a service provider of this type doesn't have to be physically close to you, but more importantly two, because even though I provide each client with a document/information checklist at the beginning of tax season, many clients don't end up having everything ready at once. I find it a better use of everyone's time to work via email and phone, or occasionally pickup or send snail mail copies of documents. YMMV

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    $150 is pretty reasonable. I've seen a lot charging much more than that.

    I was expecting to have an hour long conversation with someone asking me Q's and directing me towards more / bigger deductions and/or some time spent on savings strategy. I got none of that. <snip>

    I often wondered if my expectations were not reasonable.
    Bubs, unless you communicated to the provider that you wanted tax planning advice, or the provider promised to provide such at the beginning of your engagement, your expectations were not reasonable. Bill's opinion (not that of the entire CPA profession): there is a difference between "tax preparation" and "tax planning advice". The former does involve items such as: pointing out issues with previous years' returns; identifying where you could take certain larger itemized deductions; calculating the most advantageous treatment of tuition payments; etc. The latter, while it may be called something other than "tax planning advice," is a more focused conversation (maybe not even during tax season) that may even be better had with a financial planning professional rather than "just" a CPA (FWIW, not all CPAs are CFPs, and vice versa). Hope that makes sense?

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    Last edited by Mustang; 12-05-17 at 03:45 PM.
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    Re: Adulting - Tax Help

    My CPA's preparation fee has increased north of $300. I have been a client for 18 years and will be preparing my own returns this year.

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