Frequently asked questions and answers regarding your taxes.
Q. Is there an easy way to keep track of my income and expenses throughout the year?
A. Each and every taxpayer is unique. At Christine Alvarez, CPA, we provide a free, one-hour consultation in which we discuss the level of your needs in tracking your income and expenses. We’ll also suggest some tax planning techniques to help you get a better understanding of your taxes coming due April 15 or in estimating your quarterly tax estimated payments, if these are required. Finally, we’ll go over any changes in your income or expenses from the prior year that could impact the current year’s filings or payment schedules.
Q. Since personal taxes are not due until April of the year following, is there anything I need to do or review before the end of the previous year?
A. Depending on your prior year tax liability and payments (withholding or estimated payments) made to the IRS/state, you may be required to make quarterly estimated payments in the current year. Also, year-end tax planning is always a good idea. You can discuss with your accountant any income deferral or deductions to be paid during the year or even in the following year that would reduce your tax liability in the current year.
Q. I’ve always heard accountants are only concerned with the immediate impacts of taxes and don’t look at the longer-range consequences or ways to minimize taxation.
A. At Christine Alvarez, CPA, we try to plan for multiple years with our clients and discuss business and personal plans to determine when and if taxable activity should occur. In recent years, Congress has made this more difficult by waiting to the last minute in a given year and even after the fact to make tax law changes. And, depending on an individual’s or business’s current lending needs, reducing taxes may not even be the best approach in the long run.
Q. Do you work with other professionals, and, if so, what areas do you look at?
A. It is impossible for one accountant to be an expert in every area of tax law. At Christine Alvarez, CPA, we frequently consult with other accountants on complicated tax issues to make certain our clients are getting the best available advice. We also work closely with attorneys, financial and estate planners, and others, as appropriate, to ensure we are looking at the entire financial pictures of our clients.
Q. Can you handle all of my daily business accounting, including taxes, reporting, payroll, and the like?
A. Any services that we do not perform in our own offices, we have colleagues with whom we work closely to meet all client needs a reasonable rates.
Q. Do you notify me of changes in tax laws or reporting requirements?
A. Yes. We personally contact our clients to ensure they are up to date on changes that may affect them.
Q. Do you handle the paperwork for quarterly payroll reporting to the IRS and state Employment Development Department?
A. We do not handle payroll in our offices, but work with outside services that take care of all payroll related activities at reasonable rates to keep our client costs down.
Q. Where do I start in setting up an in-house accounting system?
A. You should start with a free, one-hour consultation with Christine Alvarez, CPA to discuss the best system for your particular business. Further consultation may or may not be required once we determine your needs.
Q. If I want to sell my business or buy one, can you help me?
A. Yes. Pre-planning the sale and structure of the sale is imperative to keeping your tax liability to a minimum.
Q. If I need income from a retirement account, how do I avoid or minimize taxes?
A. If you withdraw income from your retirement account prior to retirement age, you will incur income taxes and federal and state early withdrawal penalties. These taxes cannot be avoided, however, if you qualify, we can help you determine if there are certain exemptions to the early withdrawal penalties.
We know you may have many other questions. At Christine Alvarez, CPA, we can guide you through the myriad tax terms and codes, the often unclear tax return instructions, and seemingly continuous tax law changes. We will even come to your home or place of business.
With a free, one-hour consultation, we can help you determine your immediate and longer range accounting needs, whether as an individual or small business. When we can help you make sense of all of the numbers and government requirements, contact us.