2021 is behind us, but now the fun begins: Paying taxes. How often do you think you’ve withheld enough, but you’re still slapped with a large tax bill that must be paid by the filing deadlines? Could you have avoided this surprise tax bill?
For over 20 years, countless business owners have approached me with similar stories:
- “My CPA doesn’t seem to have time for me.”
- “My CPA finally returned my calls on December 31st but it was too late for me to do anything.”
- “Everything is always last minute with my CPA, he/she is a very nice person, but I am the one paying the price. And then I still have to pay them to do my taxes.”
- “I was surprised I owed so much. Had I known this would happen, I would have done things a lot differently.”
If you’re sensing an unexpected tax bill coming due to the IRS – don’t worry – you still have time to make a few more moves in 2022 to help lower your 2021 tax payments – and keep more money in your pocket. Here are some ideas; your CPA should help you through these.
- Open a new 2021 retirement account like an IRA, SIMPLE IRA or even a plan allowing a much larger tax deduction: a Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP IRA) or a Defined Benefit Plan. Then max out the allowed contribution for 2021 before you file your taxes.
- If you own residential rental or business real estate property and actively work in that business each year, then maybe consider performing a Cost Segregation Study.
- Document all those allowable business expenses that you may have forgotten about, especially your 2021 credit card statements.
If your CPA has not effectively advised you on tax minimization strategies, you must ask them – “Why?”. If you’re not satisfied with their response, then align yourself with a tax professional who’s confident in guiding you and your business.
There’s no better time than 2022.
The IRS is Cracking Down
Maybe you’re buying or trading cryptocurrencies. Maybe your business is doing business overseas, and you’ve amassed foreign assets or paid foreign taxes. If you did any of this in 2021, or in prior years, it’s more imperative than ever to report any and all transactions when filing taxes. The IRS is continually adding new rules to catch anyone failing to disclose these types of transactions.
Penalties start at $10,000/year per bank account; the IRS can even enforce penalties on transactions undisclosed on prior years’ returns. Even if you pay the penalties, now the IRS has you on their watch list moving forward for multiple years.
Your CPA Engagement Should be Year-Long
The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 sent businesses scrambling to their CPAs for guidance on issues beyond tax prep, including the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and Employee Retention Tax Credits (“ERTC”). A 2021 Thomson Reuters survey followed up with hundreds of accountants, where 95% reported a rise in clients turning to them for business advice during the Pandemic. But there’s a disconnect: Only 59% cited they were highly confident in giving business advice, outside of tax counsel.
Was your CPA available to you during the pandemic or other years, when you were forced to make tough decisions impacting your business? Consider these benefits of a CPA who wraps business advisory services into a year-round tax engagement.
- Quarterly reviews of company financials and performing NOW your current year’s tax estimates that may be due. Don’t wait until Tax Time to find out what you may owe – calculate this now so you can still minimize any potential taxes due.
- Advice on business growth and tax-saving solutions (including all available tax credits) for profitability, such as inventory management, accelerated depreciation, retirement benefits to owners, payroll minimization, other available benefits to owners – which ultimately will also lead to increased Net Income.
- Referrals to other services – payroll providers, insurance agents, bankers, attorneys, etc. (Your CPA cannot do it all! Use their relationships to help add profit to your business.)
- Guidance on business applications – PPP loans for last year, EIDL loans, as well as ERTCs for 2020 and 2021 – to name just a few.
- Counsel on all types of personal and business transactions: real estate, large purchases or sale of your business.
Considering the above, ask yourself:
- “Is my CPA doing this for my business? Why not?”
- “Why isn’t my CPA sharing their real-life business knowledge to help benefit my business?”
- “Am I profiting from my CPA relationship?”
A CPA should be another set of eyes looking at your business. This might require you to pay more for year-round tax and business advisory services, instead of a few months for tax preparation, but the rewards are endless.
When Do You Know It’s Time to Switch?
Taxes, especially dealing with international, the sale of your business, cryptocurrencies, real estate holdings and other business assets, can be complex. Your CPA should be able to steer you through documenting and reporting everything. If you think you may be facing penalties or if your CPA seems to lack the knowledge in complex tax issues, then find another CPA with experience in the niche tax areas that your business now requires. This trusted tax advisor should also have a proven track record of filing amended returns and obtaining relief/refunds from the IRS.
So how do you find this trusted tax professional, who can also provide your business with sound advice year-round? Start by researching CPA firms providing business advisory as part of their tax engagement. You can also ask your friends, business peers and partners, the local Better Business Bureau or even your Chamber of Commerce. Referrals are often the best sources.
Remember – a great CPA more than pays for themself every year!! Gone are the headaches and surprises at tax filing. For keeps is a proactive, experienced CPA who will steer you and your business through ALL 12 months of the year – not just through tax season.
Start now, and you’ll soon realize the cost-saving benefits this year.
Steven M. Piascik, CPA, MT, is founder and president of PIASCIK, a relationship-driven CPA firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, providing specialized tax and financial services to a broad range of clients throughout the world. Established in 2001, PIASCIK serves publicly traded companies, multi-million-dollar international companies, real estate, medical practices and high wealth individuals and families. In 2021, PIASCIK was named a Top 5 CPA firm in North America in Inside Public Accounting’s annual Best of the Best survey of firms. He can be reached at 804-527-1815 or by email email@example.com. For more information, visit www.piascik.cpa.