Tax season is upon us, and for many people it can be a stressful time. Here are some questions to ask your tax advisor before you meet with them in person or on the phone.
1) What’s my gross income? 2) How much of that do I need to pay in taxes? 3) At what rates will I owe those taxes? 4) Will any deductions lower my taxable income, such as charitable contributions or medical expenses? 5) Is there anything else we should talk about before we get started calculating our total tax liability 6)? 7). Am I obligated by law to file a return each year if this isn’t the first one I’ve filed during this five-year period
8). Does filing an extension impact how long it’ll take me to pay all of this back at once when everything is done (like divorce settlements), and does it make sense for me not have to wait until next April 15th 2019 if so 9)?

The “ask a cpa a tax question” is a list of 9 questions to ask your tax advisor before tax season. The nine questions are as follows: 1) What do I need to know about the new Form 1040? 2) What is the difference between my W-2 and my 1099? 3) How much money should I contribute to my IRA? 4) What’s the difference between an HSA, FSA, and HRAs? 5) When should I file for an extension on my return? 6) Do I have any deductions that can be claimed on Schedule A or Schedule C of Form 1040? 7) What happens if I don’t pay taxes by April 15th this year? 8) Can you tell me how long it will take to get my refund back? And 9) Should I worry about getting audited this year?”

9 Questions to Ask Your Tax Advisor Before Tax Season

Tax preparation is just half of the story when it comes to taxes. If you’re like most people, you’re probably asking your tax queries at the wrong time–when your tax preparer is swamped.

The idea is to plan ahead of time and review your personal taxes prior to tax season. You should have adequate knowledge about your circumstances to ask your tax adviser questions long before the Conclusion of the tax year.

No one like paying taxes, yet they are an unavoidable evil. With that considered, there’s no incentive to pay more taxes than necessary. You realize that with good tax planning:

  • That your tax bill is as low as it can possibly be (legally).
  • What you will have to pay
  • When do you plan to pay it?

The majority of individuals feel that taxes should be handled by accountants. Most federal tax returns should be completed by a tax expert, such as a CPA or an enrolled agent. The good news is that a financial adviser can (and should) do a lot for their customers when it comes to taxes.  

Here are nine key tax questions to ask and how your adviser may help you answer them.

First and foremost, what can I do to reduce my taxable income as much as possible? 

This is arguably the most often asked tax question.   

This is a common issue when it comes to retirement planning. This is particularly true for those who have just retired or are intending to retire. Many individuals seem to be unconcerned about lowering taxes while working. When they retire, however, they become acutely aware of their tax load. 

Your tax counselor should constantly be on the lookout for methods to save money. They may notice a circumstance in which you may be committing a tax error, such as inappropriately rolling over a 401(k) (k).

It’s sometimes as easy as avoiding financial events that result in a tax obligation, such as selling shares when capital gains aren’t required. Your adviser should constantly endeavor to discover a more tax-efficient approach to do a task that is really essential to you. 

The more information your adviser has about your position, the more they can help you. Small company owners, for example, might anticipate to discuss topics such as:

  • What tax breaks are there for small businesses?
  • How to Claim a Deduction for a Home Office
  • What additional types of company expenditures may be deducted?

More critically, your adviser should stay up to date on tax law changes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement) Act, for example, have resulted in several changes for company owners.

Keeping your taxable income as low as feasible can also help you minimize your tax burden.

Second question: How much would my tax bill be this year? 

Even if nothing changes from year to year, the majority of people are only concerned with one thing:

Will I have to pay taxes or will I get a refund?

The issue is that most individuals wait too long to ask this question. The ideal time to inquire about this is during tax season. That’s when you have control over the result.

If you’re underwithholding taxes from your paycheck, for example. When it comes to submitting your tax return, your CPA has little power. However, a skilled CPA or professional financial planner may perform a tax prediction throughout the tax year. If done correctly, this will assist you in making the necessary modifications and getting back on track.

Your adviser should be able to provide a tax prediction based on the following factors: 

  • Returns from previous years 
  • Information about current earnings (such as pay stubs) 
  • Information on transactions (such as IRA distributions or securities sales) 

During your tax planning meeting, your tax adviser should be able to guide you through everything. They may also make any changes you think are required. This might be used to:

  • Taxable events that are expected, such as IRA distributions
  • Unexpected events, such as the termination of an employment.

A tax forecast enables you, the customer, to see everything in advance and make modifications if necessary. This is preferable than waiting until tax season, when nothing can be done except sign the tax return.   

Proper tax planning can help keep your tax liability low, and avoid an unexpected tax bill when filing your return.This guy is concerned about his tax obligations. A qualified accountant can assist you in avoiding this.

Question #3: Are there any changes in the new tax legislation that I should be aware of?  

There have been three significant modifications to the tax law since 2017. This is an excellent question to ask to ensure that your tax professional is up to date.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) changes its taxpayer instructions every year. This advise is likely to be followed by the largest tax professionals, such as tax lawyers and high-end CPA companies.

A skilled tax counselor, on the other hand, should be able to keep up with developments. Changes that affect your financial condition, in particular.

Question #4: Are my tax responsibilities increasing or decreasing? 

“Are my taxes higher or lower than previous year?” is another variant of similar question. Everyone wants to see a decreasing trend, so this makes logical.   

Your tax adviser should be able to look back two tax years and spot any patterns when preparing tax estimates. A tax prediction for 2022, for example, might include data from the years 2020 and 2021.   

What motivates us to do this? Because when looking at patterns throughout time, the most significant questions typically arise. Because your earnings fluctuate over time.

It’s sometimes evident, such as when you retire. Other times, the shift is minor, such as when a series of small wage raises moves you into a new tax band.   

Keeping track of these trends is particularly crucial when making major financial choices that might have an influence on your tax situation.  

Question #5: What impact does ________ have on my taxes? 

Anything might be the case. It might be a choice you’re going to make or an occurrence over which you have no control. You’ll most likely inquire about various topics depending on your situation.

Independent contractors, for example, may inquire about the impact of being a 1099 employee on their self-employment. A solo owner may be unsure about the appropriate business structure. Changes to the child tax credit may also be of interest to new parents.

In any case, individuals are frequently curious about the tax implications of life changes.

If a choice has to be taken, taxes may play a part. You’re unlikely to decline a promotion at work just because your taxes could rise. If you had to relocate from Florida to New York and pay $5,000 in additional taxes each year, you may reject down a $20,000 per year promotion. 

When an event happens, you may just want to know what the tax implications are. Although it is unlikely to impact the result, you may need to make modifications (such as increasing your tax withholdings) to stay on track. 

In any event, your adviser should sit down with you and ensure that you’re asking the correct questions regarding your tax status.

Question #6: How would you assist me in obtaining all of the information I need to file my tax return?

This should be simple if your tax expert really drafts your tax return. Your tax preparer should send you a checklist and/or a questionnaire early in the tax season. You should be able to follow the guidelines and provide whatever your tax expert need.

Your tax counselor may or may not prepare your tax return. Tax planning is something that many financial planners perform, but they don’t handle tax preparation. In such situation, your adviser should provide you with a checklist of facts.

Every January, we used to provide our customers a checklist of things at my financial planning business. This list would include the following:

  • They will get a list of tax forms from their banking institution.
  • A list of significant taxable events, such as Roth conversions and stock transactions.
  • Any other information their tax preparer would want, such as bank data

In any case, your tax adviser should have a system in place to provide you with the necessary information well in advance of the tax deadline.

Question #7: During tax season, how accessible are you?

If your tax accountant is like others, tax season is quite hectic. Not just in March and April, either.

September and October are also busy months for accountants who work with company owners. Furthermore, an increasing number of individuals are filing tax extensions. This implies that in October, more individual tax returns are submitted than in previous years.

In contrast, a tax-focused financial planner collaborates with accountants but does not prepare tax returns. In March and April, that individual is likely to be more accessible to handle your emergency calls.

Question #8: May I contact you for tax assistance at any time throughout the year?

The majority of tax preparation takes place between June and October. If you have a competent adviser, you should meet with them at least once a year to review your tax strategy for the next year.

Taxable events, on the other hand, occur throughout the year. Your tax advisor should be able to assist you with any issues that arise. This might happen either before or after your tax planning consultation.

In any case, your tax expert should be accessible all year. Especially if you have a question during tax season.

Question #9: How does tax planning fit into my overall financial strategy?

Tax preparation is an important aspect of financial planning. And tax efficiency should assist you in achieving your financial objectives.

A smart financial adviser will take the time to explain how taxes may affect your financial situation. And assist you in achieving your financial objectives while reducing your tax bill to a minimum.

Conclusion 

If you don’t talk about taxes with your financial adviser every year, you should ask them to. If they are unable to assist you, seek for a financial adviser that provides tax planning as part of their services. 

The “end of year tax questions” is a list of nine questions to ask your tax advisor before the start of tax season. The questions are meant to help you prepare for the upcoming year.

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