It’s a fact, the closer you get to April 15th, the less time you’ll have to consider and discuss every possible deduction you can legally take for filing your 2016 taxes.
As the early part of the year moves into the rear view mirror and February, March or April appear on your calendar, daily newspaper, or phone, you may think you have more time, but your accountant certainly does not.
So talking to your accountant earlier is better than later to get your taxes filed within a reasonable time period –– and to give him or her enough time to maximize your deductions while minimizing your taxes.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, But Sweat Getting Your Taxes Done
Well, taxes are a combination of small stuff that you should sweat about and the big stuff that consumes our days, our jobs, and our lives.
“A++ on all levels! Books in Balance has been helping our business for many years now and have done just about everything, from financial planning to bookkeeping, personal and business taxes, and they do a great job of payroll & HR! They are a valued asset in our success. It would be difficult without them, and you could not ask for a more efficient and pleasant group of people to regularly work with.” – Michela T.
However, by just making an appointment now to see your accountant in January, you can conquer one of your biggest problems and get one small task accomplished after the other towards the goal of filing your tax returns earlier this year.
Procrastinate On Other Stuff, But Not Your Taxes
Like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, you should start gathering all of your business’s essential reports and documents in early January every year so that your accountant can properly prepare your tax return.
These typically include finding and collecting your business tax return from the previous year, as well as your financial statements, QuickBooks/Quicken reports, and other files you may need.
Last Year’s Return Is a Blueprint For This Year’s
Even if it brings up bad memories, get your hands on 2015’s tax return, which provides a blueprint on where your business was at that time. Then, your accountant can make adjustments for 2016’s return.
Your previous year’s return will also help your accountant pinpoint you past data and compare it to 2016’s, as well as to help identify any deductions you may have overlooked. This information will help them determine:
Whether you used cash vs. accrual to track all of your business finances
What your Federal Tax ID Number is
When you incorporated or launched your business
When you became a California S or C corporation
Your business code number
How you track your inventory
Your balance sheet amounts
Any partners or shareholders
Some Questions Your Accountant Should Answer in January
How much income did you earn in 2016? What were your expenses and deductions? Did you make any major equipment purchases such as new computers, servers, printers, phones, or office furniture? Did you lease or purchase your office’s property? Did you take any business trips that were not reimbursed by your company or clients? And how many employees and/or contractors did you pay?
The answers to these questions –– whether you generate a Profit and Loss Statement, a Balance Sheet, or a spreadsheet –– can provide a wealth of information for your accountant.
Again, don’t wait until February, March or especially not April to try to answer these questions, which will help your accountant prepare your taxes. There’s enough pressure to get your taxes filed… you don’t need the pressure of a rapidly approaching April 15 deadline, too.
“My taxes were complicated this year because of a job and a home-based business. Brandon saved me endless frustration. I wish I had started off by going to Books in Balance instead of the many hours I tried to figure it out myself.” – Cynthia C.
You Want Expertise In January And Throughout the Year
At Books In Balance, our accounting and bookkeeping practice lives by a continuing mission to serve you with the highest level of expertise, professionalism, and highly personalized service possible to your individual needs.
Nothing is cookie-cutter about us because we do more than crunch numbers. We are dedicated to serving all of your financial management needs. So you get Big 4 service at small business prices.
Even the manner in which we communicate with you is personalized to what’s most convenient for you: phone, email, text, fax, or in person. But if you talk to us in January, we can have more time to discuss your taxes to minimize what you owe the state and federal governments.
Again, It’s Important To See Your Accountant in January
If seeing your accountant in January was not at the top of your New Year’s Resolutions or daily to do list, we hope this article provided you with the right information and a logical plan of action.
Books in Balance is a small, yet diverse accounting and bookkeeping firm based in San Rafael. We’ve been providing financial services to individuals and businesses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since 1999.
“I’m a newbie entrepreneur and I realized I don’t know what I don’t know. The team at Books In Balance was able to guide me throughout my start-up and show me along the way what I needed to run a successful business. I’m a smart guy, I thought I had pretty much covered everything. I found out in working with Brandon there is always something new this old dog can learn. I continue to use them for regular bookkeeping, tax and rely heavily on them for business consulting every quarter.” – John C.
We offer comprehensive accounting, bookkeeping, budgeting, cash flow and financial analyses, payroll, bill paying, tax preparation services and more for you, your business, and/or your family.
To ask me a question or to make an appointment about what you should do for business tax preparation, please call our downtown San Rafael office at 415-455-9455.
Brandon, is a well-seasoned accountant and heads up the team with 25 years of senior accounting experience. He holds an Accounting degree with a Minor in Business Administration. He maintains several certifications and holds industry related licenses in tax preparation. When Brandon isn’t in the office, you’ll find this avid dog and animal lover supporting various Bay Area - and beyond - animal charities.