Find the Right Tax Accountant

When looking for a professional to handle your taxes, you need to make sure that you make the right choice. There are many benefits of having a tax accountant handle your taxes, but you should ask plenty of questions before you place all of your most important information in a stranger’s hands.

Why would you need a tax accountant? Most people feel that they can handle their own tax situation, however, there are some benefits that make hiring someone well worth the cost.

For example, preparing your own taxes can be quite time-consuming and stressful. You can be left with a lingering fear of an audit situation. Many people are frustrated and confused — which can lead to mistakes. Hiring a professional gives your tax returns an increased level of accuracy. Your tax situation could be quite complex, including stock market investments, business dealings, rental properties and other tax situations. If it is, you will need specialized advice.

If you have the goal of paying as little taxes as possible, a tax professional could be very helpful. He or she can provide you with detailed planning and advice. If you are facing a tax situation, such as the filing of back taxes, paying off a tax debt or fighting an audit, you shouldn’t go through it alone.

When looking for an experienced tax accountant, you need to make sure that you find the best professional for your financial situation. Ask your friends, family and business associates who they would recommend. It helps to ask someone who has a similar tax situation as you do.

Accountants should never promise you big refunds. If someone tells you that everything is deductible, you should be wary. You will be ultimately responsible for all of the information on your tax return in the eyes of the IRS, not your accountant.

There is nothing wrong with switching accountants. If you aren’t comfortable or feel that your accountant isn’t right for your financial situation, you need to do what is best for your tax situation. Don’t feel that you have to be loyal to your accountant no matter what. I recently had a friend tell me that they stay with their accountant because he is great at what he does, even if he doesn’t let them take deductions that they qualify for.

If you have a relatively straight-forward tax return, retail franchises could provide adequate services for your needs. Some tax preparers are more experienced. You often can find a CPA or an Enrolled Agent working in a tax preparation company. Ask if you can meet with a CPA, enrolled agent or the senior tax preparer. As you are charged by the number of tax forms necessary to file your taxes, you won’t pay any more to talk to someone with more experience.

Local tax firms offer specialize in individuals and small businesses. Make sure that you check out their expertise to make sure that they can handle your taxes. Enrolled Agents have passed a rigorous test and a background check by the IS. They often specialize in complex tax situations. CPAs have passed the CPA exam and are licensed by the state they work in. They usually specialize in specific areas, such as audits, taxes or business consulting. They are best for complex accounting, however not all CPAs will handle tax situations.

Tax attorneys have chosen to specialize in tax law. They usually have their juris doctor degree and a master of laws degree in taxations. They are great for handling your complex legal matters, such as estate tax returns.

When meeting with a tax professional, you should ask some questions to ensure that you find an experienced, trustworthy tax accountant.

Make sure that you ask the following:

How long have you been in business?

What licenses do you have?

What tax issues do you specialize in?

Do you have experience in tax situations like mine?

Do you outsource any work?

How long will it take to complete my tax return?

What is your privacy policy? Will my information be shared with any third-parties?

Am I currently paying too much, too little or just the right amount of taxes, in your opinion?

Tax accountants usually have very different attitudes about the US tax system. You want to find one that you can work well with and trust with your finances. You want to find an experienced, competent tax accountant who specializes in your situation and can help you minimize your taxes.

After you have narrowed down your choices, perform a quick background check. Contact your state’s board of accountancy to check on the license. They can tell you if any disciplinary action has been taken against the CPA. The IRS Office of Professional Responsibility can help you with Enrolled Agents, their licensing and their disciplinary history.

RateEmpire.com, http://www.RateEmpire.com, an internet consumer banking marketplace is a destination site of personal finance, investing, taxes and mortgage rates. RateEmpire.com provides mortgage guides and financial rates and information. RateEmpire.com also operates a financial portal #1 American Financial, found at http://www.1AmericanFinancial.com an online shopping portal #1 Shopping Online http://www.1ShoppingOnline.com

Is Your Accounting Practice Using an Obsolete Email Solution? You Could be Surprised

It’s 4:30 – and you decide you want your husband to buy some wine for dinner. You write “Pick up wine” on a piece of paper, roll it up, strap it to one of your pigeons, and send him flying out the window toward home. There.

 

It sounds ridiculous – but if you use Microsoft Outlook for your email, you might as well communicate with your spouse through carrier pigeon.

 

Yes – it’s that out of date.

 

Let me show you how to easily save 10 hours of productivity each month by simply switching from Outlook to a web-based email solution like Gmail.

 

Problems with Outlook

 

In the computer technology timeline, Outlook is very old. The technology is outdated; the program simply was not built to accommodate a high volume of messages and the size of today’s email attachments.

 

Here are some problems you might have with Outlook that drain your productivity:

 

Your messages pile up – you try to spend time organizing them into folders but you’re still always behind. (est. time lost – 1 hr/wk)
The search function is slow and cumbersome – and the results are often so bloated that you still squander time sifting through messages. (est. time lost – .5 hr/wk)
You can’t view appointments on your calendar with your smartphone or other mobile device. (est. time lost – .5 hr/wk)
You get “Cannot Connect to Server” and other error messages. These come from problems configuring Outlook and they hinder your ability to send and receive emails. (est. time lost – .5 hr/mo)
You struggle with initial setup and reconfiguration challenges. If you’re not a techie, making sure your settings are correct and updated is frustrating and time-consuming. (est. time lost – 1 hr/mo)

 

A Better Solution

You can now send and recieve email through the Gmail interface using your own domain name using a relatively unknown service called Google Apps. Gmail is 100% web-based, and this saves you time, money, and frustration…

 

Less Expensive: If you use Outlook, you’re most likely paying for IT support, Exchange hosting, or email accounts through GoDaddy or another domain registrar. In contrast, Gmail is absolutely free.

 

Easier: With Gmail and other Web-based email solutions, your inbox looks the same no matter where you access it – and you can do so from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. Plus, the outstanding search feature allows you to quickly find any email in seconds. Much better than sorting in Outlook.

 

And because the software is all online – “in the cloud” – you don’t wrestle with installing software or keeping track of updates.

 

Saves Time: Gmail saves time, too, with keyboard shortcuts. These allow you to compose, answer, and organize your email without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard.

 

Furthermore, Gmail groups emails into conversations. Instead of getting a new email each time someone replies to a message, all replies are displayed with the original thread. This cuts way down on the number of messages to wade through in your inbox.

 

Safer: Gmail is backed up on fully redundant servers. If a virus infects your computer, if a hurricane strikes your office, if any disaster compromises your computer – your email remains perfectly secure.

 

Don’t Use Pigeons – Use Gmail!

 

Take advantage of current technology. Stop using Outlook – an old email solution – and go with a Web-based email service. When you do, you increase productivity and eliminate time-consuming and frustrating problems.

Brian O’Connell is the owner and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s leading edge website design businesses dedicated exclusively to accounting websites. His firm at present provides websites for more than 4000 CPA, accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation firms.

Help Your CPA Website with Pleasing Graphics

Your content can be perfect, but it’s worthless if no one wants to read it. It doesn’t matter if your website has a high ranking in Google. If your page isn’t interesting to read, your high ranking is useless.

 

You’ve got just seconds – at best – to grab the attention of a new visitor to your CPA Website and convince her to read all your carefully optimized and edited content. Just one or two interesting graphics is enough to connect with a casual visitor long enough for her to become an interested reader.

 

Appealing to the people that visit your site is easy: clear, high quality images of yourself, your office, your local area or anything else unique and relevant to the content on your page will do. Appealing to Google with those images is a little trickier. Google, after all, can’t see pictures.

 

To make sure that your pictures are optimized for search engines you’ve got to help Google understand what your images show.

 

* File Names- Take a look at your pictures’ file names. If you pulled the image directly off your camera, it probably has some generic file name like the time and date the photo was taken. Give it a good descriptive file name. Include a keyword, if possible .

* Alt Tags- When adding the image to the page, use the Alt and Title tags. The alt tag text will display whenever the image cannot be loaded. The title text will display when your mouse hovers over the image. Like your file name, use a keyword here if it makes sense.

* Keywords- Google considers the context of the image, so be sure that your keywords are represented in the text surrounding the image. A page full of images may be fine for your human readers, but it doesn’t help Google much. Give Google something to read.

* Update Your Pictures- Update your images occasionally. Google loves fresh content and images are no exception. When you update your content, bring in some new images too.

* Relevance Is Key- Relate your images to your text and your text to your keywords. Provide what people want to see, and Google will find it.

 

In short, think about your images the same way you think about optimizing your text for search engines. Make your web copy and your images relevant, helpful, and attractive to your readers, and Google will reward you.

Brian O’Connell is the CEO and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s largest website design firms oriented solely to accounting websites. For more useful tips visit his CPA websites oriented squidoo lens.

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