Author Topic: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?  (Read 752 times)

andysandp

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How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« on: December 01, 2017, 10:45:59 AM »
I have an Accountant, but there are a lot of things I had to learn on this board to maximize my Tax Returns. 

My accountant is not familiar with After Tax 401's and how you can convert them to Roth.  He's not familiar with the HSA "trick."  These are not really "tricks," they are all legal.  I write "tricks" because they aren't all common knowledge.

Should I expect my Accountant to know all these "tricks" or should I be hiring a different kind of professional to guide me?

Anyone know a good Accountant in Boston area to maximize these tricks and for early Retirement?

Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 04:39:42 PM by andysandp »

Aggie1999

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 10:53:23 AM »
What is the "HSA" trick?

terran

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 02:22:11 PM »
What is the "HSA" trick?

It's not really a trick, but I suspect the OP is talking about the concept of leaving money in an HSA (and investing it) while holding on to the receipts for medical expenses instead of reimbursing yourself. This lets the money go in tax free, grow tax deferred and come out tax free to the extent you have receipts for qualified medical expenses incurred after you opened the HSA.


andysandp

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 04:38:01 PM »
It's not really a "trick" it's just not common knowledge to a lot of people.  These "tricks" are all legal.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 04:40:15 PM by andysandp »

With This Herring

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 07:51:55 PM »
What is the actual title of your "accountant"?  I ask because that can be a pretty broad category.  Are you going to H&R Block, Liberty Tax, or one of the other pop-up tax prep shops?  Is this a bookkeeper who does a few returns for spending money?  Is your person an enrolled agent?  Is your person a CPA?  If a CPA, is their primary business low-income individuals, small to medium-size businesses, larger corporations, or high net worth individuals?  Is your person a tax-specialized lawyer?

I don't know how best to find one, but you are going to want a professional (NOT Liberty Tax and their ilk) who specializes in your sort of situation.

When you find one, you need to tell them that you want to find ways to minimize your tax burden, even including saving more in tax-exempt and tax-deferred accounts.  I have had many higher-income clients (at OldJob) who would benefit so much from putting just $10K a year more into a 401(k), but I couldn't convince them to increase their contributions.  It seemed like almost no one was willing to stop collecting expensive cars/taking overseas vacations/gambling to improve their tax (and savings) situation.  A lot of people would ask if we could get their taxes lower, but all they really were willing to do was keep better records of their charitable donations and gambling losses to offset gambling winnings.  -_-
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SeattleCPA

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2017, 12:32:49 PM »
The other thing I'd add is, you may need to pay more for the service you want than makes sense given the benefits you want to enjoy...

With franchise type prices, e.g., you pay only a little.... but also you get the expertise you'd expect for $14 an hour worker

If you want high talent and lots of service, you can surely get that for $1K or 2K or whatever a year... because those are the prices you need to pay for someone to earn a six figure salary.

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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 01:29:49 PM »
I'm wondering this too.
With zero formal education, I feel like a tax accountant I pay well should know more than me about my tax stuff.
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andysandp

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 01:36:40 PM »
What is the actual title of your "accountant"?  I ask because that can be a pretty broad category.  Are you going to H&R Block, Liberty Tax, or one of the other pop-up tax prep shops?  Is this a bookkeeper who does a few returns for spending money?  Is your person an enrolled agent?  Is your person a CPA?  If a CPA, is their primary business low-income individuals, small to medium-size businesses, larger corporations, or high net worth individuals?  Is your person a tax-specialized lawyer?

I don't know how best to find one, but you are going to want a professional (NOT Liberty Tax and their ilk) who specializes in your sort of situation.

When you find one, you need to tell them that you want to find ways to minimize your tax burden, even including saving more in tax-exempt and tax-deferred accounts.  I have had many higher-income clients (at OldJob) who would benefit so much from putting just $10K a year more into a 401(k), but I couldn't convince them to increase their contributions.  It seemed like almost no one was willing to stop collecting expensive cars/taking overseas vacations/gambling to improve their tax (and savings) situation.  A lot of people would ask if we could get their taxes lower, but all they really were willing to do was keep better records of their charitable donations and gambling losses to offset gambling winnings.  -_-

The one I hired is a CPA.  I'm paying him $2200 do do my Tax Returns and my wife's returns, and my S-Corp.   A CPA at this price should know these things right?
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 01:44:02 PM by andysandp »

SeattleCPA

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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2017, 02:05:08 PM »
What is the actual title of your "accountant"?  I ask because that can be a pretty broad category.  Are you going to H&R Block, Liberty Tax, or one of the other pop-up tax prep shops?  Is this a bookkeeper who does a few returns for spending money?  Is your person an enrolled agent?  Is your person a CPA?  If a CPA, is their primary business low-income individuals, small to medium-size businesses, larger corporations, or high net worth individuals?  Is your person a tax-specialized lawyer?

I don't know how best to find one, but you are going to want a professional (NOT Liberty Tax and their ilk) who specializes in your sort of situation.

When you find one, you need to tell them that you want to find ways to minimize your tax burden, even including saving more in tax-exempt and tax-deferred accounts.  I have had many higher-income clients (at OldJob) who would benefit so much from putting just $10K a year more into a 401(k), but I couldn't convince them to increase their contributions.  It seemed like almost no one was willing to stop collecting expensive cars/taking overseas vacations/gambling to improve their tax (and savings) situation.  A lot of people would ask if we could get their taxes lower, but all they really were willing to do was keep better records of their charitable donations and gambling losses to offset gambling winnings.  -_-

The one I hired is a CPA.  I'm paying him $2200 do do my Tax Returns and my wife's returns, and my S-Corp.   A CPA at this price should know these things right?

You should be at least getting into the range of "good skills and knowledge"... unless that price includes a bunch of bookkeeping or payroll for the S corp ... or a bunch of detail on your 1040 like tons of trading and a bunch of rentals. If any of those conditions apply, then you're possibly still paying close to H&R Block prices.

Not trying to send you off on a wild goose chase, but you might be interested in looking at the typical profitability of small CPA offices:

https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/small-cpa-firm-profitability/

The pay that most small guys get may explain the reality you experience.
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Re: How do I find an Accountant that knows all these "tricks"?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2017, 07:03:44 PM »
What is the actual title of your "accountant"?  I ask because that can be a pretty broad category.  Are you going to H&R Block, Liberty Tax, or one of the other pop-up tax prep shops?  Is this a bookkeeper who does a few returns for spending money?  Is your person an enrolled agent?  Is your person a CPA?  If a CPA, is their primary business low-income individuals, small to medium-size businesses, larger corporations, or high net worth individuals?  Is your person a tax-specialized lawyer?

I don't know how best to find one, but you are going to want a professional (NOT Liberty Tax and their ilk) who specializes in your sort of situation.

When you find one, you need to tell them that you want to find ways to minimize your tax burden, even including saving more in tax-exempt and tax-deferred accounts.  I have had many higher-income clients (at OldJob) who would benefit so much from putting just $10K a year more into a 401(k), but I couldn't convince them to increase their contributions.  It seemed like almost no one was willing to stop collecting expensive cars/taking overseas vacations/gambling to improve their tax (and savings) situation.  A lot of people would ask if we could get their taxes lower, but all they really were willing to do was keep better records of their charitable donations and gambling losses to offset gambling winnings.  -_-

The one I hired is a CPA.  I'm paying him $2200 do do my Tax Returns and my wife's returns, and my S-Corp.   A CPA at this price should know these things right?

Honestly, I have no idea what prices firms charge; I never dealt with that end of things.  I know an S Corp return can be a pain, especially if the bookkeeping work needs a lot of fixing.

My point is that he may not realize that you are willing to put away and not spend gobs of money.  The vast majority of his clients aren't.  You need to specifically ask him about other ways to put away cash to save on taxes and see what his response is.

CPA is a very general title.  Your guy might be great with S Corps but not know the individual tax-saving strategies in which you have an interest.  At OldJob, I did mostly S Corps, and Partnerships with an occasional C Corp.  I knew enough about individual taxes to prepare returns for the owners of those companies, but I did not start learning all these nifty things about HSAs used for investing and Mega Backdoor Roths until I started reading this forum.  This is an area of specialization that not all CPAs will have.
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