It’s that time of year again – tax season! If you’re like most people, you probably dread dealing with your taxes. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
There are many great companies out there that offer tax planning services, and it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In fact, it is those that plan their taxes that benefit the most from them.
In this guide, we will discuss the key factors you should consider when choosing tax planning services for your needs.
So read on and find the best company for your unique needs!
Tax Planning: What Does It Entail?
First, let’s discuss what tax planning actually entails.
Tax planning is the process of organizing your finances in a way that minimizes your tax liability. This can happen through a variety of methods, such as investing in certain types of accounts or taking advantage of deductions and credits.
A good tax planner will help you find the best way to minimize your taxes, so you can keep more of your hard-earned money.
Furthermore, a tax planner can also help you if you’re self-employed or have a complex financial situation.
They can provide guidance on how to set up your business so that you maximize your deductions, and they can help you estimate your taxes so that you don’t end up owing money at the end of the year. In short, a tax planner can save you a lot of time and headache – both during tax season and throughout the year.
Accounting vs Tax Planning Services: What’s the Difference?
Now that you know a little more about tax planning, let’s discuss the difference between tax planning services and accounting services.
Both types of companies can provide valuable help with your taxes, but they have different focuses. Accounting firms primarily focus on bookkeeping and preparing financial statements.
They can also help you with your taxes, but their main focus is not on tax planning. Tax planning companies, on the other hand, are focused solely on helping you minimize your taxes.
When choosing a company to work with, it’s important to decide what type of help you need. If you just need someone to prepare your taxes and do some basic bookkeeping, an accounting firm will probably be sufficient.
But if you’re looking for help with tax planning and want to minimize your taxes, you’ll need to choose a tax planning company.
Of course, there are also firms that offer both accounting and tax planning services. If you’re not sure which type of help you need, these companies can be a good option. They can provide a full range of services, so you can get all the help you need in one place.
Things to Consider Before Finding the Right Tax Planning Service Provider
Before you even consider hiring a tax planner or tax planning service provider, you need to ensure that you understand the fundamentals of your taxation.
For instance, your employment type, business type, and the country in which your business is registered will all have an effect on how you’re taxed. If you don’t understand these basics, it will be very difficult for a tax planner to help you.
Additionally, it’s important to have a good idea of your financial situation before meeting with a tax planner.
You should know how much money you make, what deductions and credits you’re eligible for, and what your overall tax liability is. This information will give the tax planner a good starting point to develop a plan that minimizes your taxes.
Let’s take a look at some other things to consider.
Your Place of Work
Do you work for a company, or are you self-employed? If you’re employed by a company, your taxes will be fairly straightforward. Your employer will withhold taxes from your paycheck, and you’ll just need to file a return at the end of the year.
But if you’re self-employed, your taxes can be much more complex. You’ll need to file quarterly estimated tax payments, and there are a lot of deductions and credits you can take advantage of.
A tax planner can help you whether you’re employed or self-employed, but it’s important to know that the type of help you need will vary depending on your employment status.
Do you have a simple investment portfolio, or are your investments more complex? If you have a lot of investments, rental properties, or other types of income, your taxes can be very complicated.
A tax planner can help you sort through your finances and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you’re eligible for.
On the other hand, if you have a simple investment portfolio, an accountant may be sufficient. They can prepare your taxes and make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.
Are you a sole proprietor, LLC, partnership, or corporation? The structure of your business will affect how you’re taxed. For instance, corporations are taxed differently than sole proprietorships.
And if you’re a partnership or LLC, there are special tax rules that apply. A tax planner can help you understand how your business is taxed and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you’re entitled to.
Are you married or single? Your marital status affects your taxes in a few different ways. For instance, if you’re married and file a joint return, you’ll get a lower tax rate than if you file separately.
And if you’re divorced or widowed, there are special rules that apply to your taxes. A tax planner can help you understand how your marital status affects your taxes and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you’re entitled to.
These are just a few of the things to consider before finding the right tax planning service provider for you.
When it comes to something as important as your taxes, it’s worth taking the time to find someone who can help you minimize your liability and maximize your refund.
Choosing the Right Tax Planning Company
Now that we’ve discussed what tax planning is and why you might need it, let’s talk about how to choose the right company for you. Here are some key factors to consider:
Make sure that the company offers the services that you need. For example, if you’re self-employed, you’ll want to make sure they offer guidance on business deductions. If you have a complex financial situation, you’ll want to make sure they can help you estimate your taxes accurately.
Moreover, you’ll want to make sure that the company can help you with your specific tax situation. Every taxpayer’s situation is different, and you’ll want to make sure the company can tailor their services to your needs.
Make sure you understand the company’s fee structure. Some companies charge by the hour, while others charge a flat rate.
There are also some companies that will take a percentage of your tax refund. Be sure to ask about fees upfront so there are no surprises later on.
Also, make sure you understand what’s included in the fee. For example, some companies will charge extra for state taxes, while others include it in their flat rate. Make sure you know what’s included so you can compare apples to apples.
It’s always good to choose a company with experience. They will likely have handled many different types of situations and will know how to navigate the tax code to get the best results for their clients.
In addition, an experienced company will likely have a team of tax professionals, which means they can handle more complicated situations. They will also be up-to-date on the latest changes in the tax code and can help you take advantage of them.
Be sure to read online reviews and ask around for recommendations. You want to make sure you choose a company that is reputable and has a good track record.
Not to mention, you’ll want to make sure the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau and has a good rating. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you’re choosing a reputable company.
Albeit, there are many things to consider when choosing a tax planning company, but if you keep these factors in mind, you’ll be sure to find the right one for you.
How to Vet & Ensure You Have the Right Tax Specialist for You
In order to ensure that your tax specialist is right for you, you should ask for a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN).
All tax preparers who are paid to file federal tax returns must have a PTIN. You can use the PTIN to check the preparer’s background and credentials on the IRS website.
Ask for Law License, CPA, Enrolled Agent Designation
Next, you should ask to see the preparer’s law license, if they have one. If the tax specialist is not an attorney, they should at least be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have an Enrolled Agent designation.
CPAs and Enrolled Agents are licensed by the federal government and must meet certain standards. They are also required to take continuing education courses to keep up with changes in the tax code.
Find Out If They Are Members Of Professional Organizations
Finally, you should ask if the tax specialist is a member of any professional organizations. These organizations have strict ethical standards that members must adhere to.
Some of these organizations include the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Them being members proves that they are serious about their profession and are committed to providing the best possible service to their clients.
Compare Their Fees to Others
Once you’ve considered all of these factors, you should get quotes from several different tax specialists. This will allow you to compare their fees and services. Be sure to ask about any discounts they offer, such as for seniors or military members.
You can also use online tools like the IRS’s “Free File” program to find reputable tax preparers in your area.
This program matches taxpayers with participating tax software companies. The companies then provide the taxpayer with free or reduced-rate tax preparation services.
Ensure They Can Provide E-File and Direct Deposit
When you’re ready to choose a tax specialist, be sure to ask if they offer e-file and direct deposit.
These services can make filing your taxes much easier and faster. E-file allows you to file your taxes electronically, while direct deposit ensures that your refund will go directly into your bank account.
You should also ask about any other services the tax specialist offers, such as help with preparing for an audit or negotiating with the IRS on your behalf.
Confirm They Are Willing to Sign Tax Returns
Finally, you should always confirm that the tax specialist is willing to sign your tax return. This shows that they are confident in their ability to prepare your taxes and are willing to take responsibility for any errors.
You don’t want to submit a blank return or one that has been signed by someone who is not a tax specialist. Doing so could result in delays or even an audit.
Determine If They Will Help Represent You If An Audit, Collection or Payment Occurs
If an audit, collection or payment occurs after you’ve filed your taxes, you’ll want to know if the tax specialist will help represent you. Many tax specialists offer representation services for an additional fee.
You should also ask about the tax specialist’s refund policy. Some companies will charge a fee if you need to file an amended return or if your refund is delayed. Others may offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their service.
Tax Planning Modalities for Businesses
To make things a bit clearer, we will now cover the various tax planning modalities that can be utilized by businesses. Not all of these applicable to every business, hence, it’s important to outline the details specific to each.
Cost Segregation Study
A cost segregation study is an engineering-based analysis that reclassifies certain building components from real property to personal property for tax purposes.
The purpose of a cost segregation study is to identify, quantify, and classify the individual components of a building so that they can be depreciated over shorter useful lives than the standard 39-year life used for most commercial buildings.
This results in lower overall tax liability for the business owner.
Research & Experimentation Studies (R&D)
Research and experimentation studies, commonly referred to as R&D studies, are a type of tax planning that can be used by businesses to claim a credit for qualified research expenses.
To be eligible for the credit, businesses must engage in activities that are intended to create new or improved products, processes, or software.
R&D studies can help to identify and quantify eligible research expenses so that businesses can maximize their credit.
Employment Tax Incentives
Employment tax incentives are a type of tax planning that can utilize by businesses to reduce their employment taxes.
There are a number of different employment tax incentives available, including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment, and the Payroll Tax Deposit Matching Program.
Businesses should consult with a tax specialist to determine which incentives they assist in eligibility.
Section 199A Consultation
Section 199A is a tax provision that allows businesses to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income.
Businesses can use a Section 199A consultation to determine if they are eligible for the deduction and how to maximize it.
The consultation will also help businesses identify which expenses are considered qualified business expenses and which are not.
State Tax Planning
State tax planning is a type of tax planning that can be subject to use by businesses to reduce their state taxes.
There are a number of different state tax incentives available, including the Sales Tax Exemption for Manufacturing Equipment and the Property Tax Abatement for New Construction.
Businesses should consult with a tax specialist to determine which incentives they may be eligible for.
Interest-Charge Domestic International Sales Corporations (IC-DISC)
An IC-DISC is a type of tax planning that can be subject to use by businesses to reduce their taxes on export sales.
Businesses can use an IC-DISC to claim a credit for up to four percent of their qualified export sales. To be eligible for the credit, businesses must have product or service income from exports that exceed $500,000.
In order to maximize the credit, businesses should work with a tax specialist to determine which expenses are considered qualified export expenses and which are not.
Exclusion of Foreign Derived Intangibles Income (FDII)
Foreign-derived intangibles income, or FDII, is a type of tax planning that can be used by businesses to reduce their taxes on income from intangible assets that are derived from foreign sources.
Businesses can use FDII to claim a deduction for up to 37. five percent of their qualified foreign-derived intangible income.
To be eligible for the deduction, businesses must have income from intangibles that exceed $500,000.
Opportunity Zones are a type of tax planning that can be subject to use by businesses to reduce their taxes on income from investments in designated low-income communities.
Businesses can use Opportunity Zones to claim a deferral of capital gains taxes and a reduction in the amount of taxes owed on future capital gains.
To be eligible for the deferral, businesses must invest in a qualified opportunity zone within 180 days of realizing a capital gain.
The investment must occur through a qualified opportunity zone fund. Qualified opportunity zone funds are required to invest at least 90% of their assets in qualified opportunity zones.
Nonprofit Tax Matter Resolutions
Nonprofit organizations are subject to a number of different tax laws. As a result, nonprofits may find themselves in need of tax planning services.
Nonprofit organizations can use tax planning services to resolve tax matters, including audits, appeals, and collections.
Nonprofits can also use tax planning services to establish compliance with federal and state tax laws.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Tax Planning
When it comes to making mistakes, taxes is one of the areas where they happen often. However, they are usually easily prevented. Let’s take a look at the top 5 mistakes you need to avoid when tax planning without or without a specialist.
Not Tracking Your Receipts and Expenses
This is a very common mistake that people make. When you don’t track your receipts and expenses, it’s easy to miss deductions that you may be eligible for.
Not Planning for Major Life Changes
Another common mistake is not planning for major life changes. This includes things like getting married, having a baby, or buying a house. These types of changes can have a big impact on your taxes, so it’s important to plan for them in advance.
Not Taking Advantage of Tax Credits and Deductions
There are a number of tax credits and deductions available, but many people don’t take advantage of them because they don’t know about them or they don’t think they’ll qualify. However, it’s worth taking the time to see if you’re eligible for any of these credits or deductions.
Failing to Stay Organized
This is another mistake that can lead to missed deductions and errors on your tax return. When you’re organized, it’s easier to keep track of your receipts and expenses and make sure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits you’re eligible for.
Not Working with a Tax Specialist
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not working with a tax specialist. A tax specialist can help you take advantage of all the deductions and credits you’re entitled to, as well as help you plan for major life changes. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help you find a tax specialist in your area.
Tax Planning Done Right
Now that you understand what to look for in a tax specialist, you can be sure that you’re getting the best possible service for your needs.
By taking the time to research your options and compare prices, you can be confident that you’re getting the best value for your money. With the right tax planning company on your side, you can rest assured that your taxes will be handled correctly and efficiently.
If you have any questions about choosing a tax specialist or need help with your taxes, please contact us.