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How to file an extension

If you’ve waited this long to contact a tax professional or CPA about filing your taxes, you’ve likely been told the bad news: they’re booked. Luckily, you have a get out of jail free card, called an “extension.”

An extension buys you a grace period where a professional can still assist you after the deadline to file your taxes. An extension does not, however, extend the time you have to pay your taxes. If you believe you’ll owe taxes, you should make a payment now, using the following options:

Reason for Payment: Extension
Apply Payment To: 4868 (for 1040, 1040a, 1040EZ)
Tax Period for Payment: 2017

The deadline for filing an extension is April 17. You can e-file an extension for free. Alternatively, you can find Form 4868 on the IRS website to file for an extension via mail. It will need to be postmarked by April 17th in order for your extension to be granted.

Filing an extension will give you until October 15, 2018 to file your tax return. You will still be required to pay your taxes by April 17th.

TL;DR: You procrastinated having your taxes done. File an extension, then get help.

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When Do I Need To Use a Tax Accountant or CPA?

We’re now entering the middle of tax season. This time of year often leaves many people wondering if they actually need a professional to help them with their taxes. The answer, however, is totally dependant on your specific circumstances.

Everyone’s situation is different, but you should consult a tax accountant or CPA if you experienced:

  • A major life event, such as:
    • Marriage
    • Death of a contributing family member
    • Divorce
    • Birth or adoption of a child
    • Buying a home
  • Anything out of the ordinary, such as:
    • Stock compensation
    • The purchase of rental property
    • Large investments
    • The start or close of a business
    • Unfiled returns from a previous year
    • The receipt of a notice from the IRS
    • Cryptocurrencies

Ultimately, if your situation is complex or you feel like you’d benefit from a set of skilled eyes (and hands!), it’s best leaving your taxes up to a professional, like the team here at TL;DR: Accounting.

What’s the Difference Between a CPA and Accountant?

All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs.

CPAs are licensed by the state they operate in, which requires passing a licensing exam that covers multiple topics, from taxation to finance and even law. CPAs must also maintain their license by adhering to strict continuing education requirements.

Accountants are more than able to review your finances and records, but CPAs perform in-depth analysis to give you advice and recommendations. If the IRS decides to audit your records, a CPA can represent you to the IRS and help guide you through the process as painlessly as possible.

How Much is Hiring a CPA Going to Cost?

TL;DR: Accounting does not bill on an hourly rate, unlike many other CPAs. Instead, our fee is determined on a case-by-case basis after a brief review of your prior-year tax return and follow-up discussion with you. In this way, we can best determine if we’re the right choice for you and structure a fee that makes sense for your budget and needs.

If you’d like to book an appointment with us to see if we’re a good fit for your accounting needs, get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat!

TL;DR: You should talk to us if you are concerned, we will let you know if you can do it on your own.
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When do I need to file my taxes?

2017 tax filings will soon be coming due.

Filings submitted after this date may incur penalties and fees for a late filing. Of course, it’s always smartest to have your taxes prepared and filed as early as possible in the event there’s any issues—or simply to get the stress off your back. Filing earlier reduces the chance of someone filing a fraudulent return before you—a headache no one wants to deal with.

Since January 31st is the cut-off date for receiving W-2s, the earliest you can file is February 1st. If you have investments, you’ll likely receive 1099-DIV and 1099-INT forms sometime in mid-February to early March.

If you are self-employed, you should have received 1099-MISC forms from each required party by January 31st. If so, we can get started on your filings immediately.

Due dates for filing your taxes and the deadline for submitting your tax information to me is as follows:
Taxes: Due Date: Deadline for Submitting Your Information to Me:
Individual 4/17/18 3/15/18
Partnership 4/17/18 3/15/18
S-Corp 3/15/18 2/15/18

Note that if you are filing S-Corp taxes, the deadline for submitting your information to me is less than two weeks away in order to guarantee your taxes will be filed on time.

While the IRS permits extensions for filing, I do not recommend making use of extensions except in specific circumstances, and as such, require all information be submitted by the above deadlines.

TL;DR: You need to get moving on your taxes, the sooner the better. If you are still looking for an Accountant, schedule a meeting with me here.