Do Your Own Taxes or Go Pro?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with FM Properties

 Yes... its that time again and I am in a dilemma. After spending almost $500 last year to have an accountant do our taxes for us I am considering doing them myself. I could not see where he saved us that amount and for me right now, $500 is enough motivation to file on my own.  

  •  I am wondering how many of you real estate professionals file on your own our use help. Why do you do it the way you do it?
  • If you do file on your own, what software do you use?
  • I am really leaning to filing on my own, am I crazy?

I would appreciate any advice on this. I know what my CPA will say but of course that is where he makes his money and would advise me to use his services. Thanks for you input and good luck in your own tax battle this year!

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Rainmaker
563,007
Lindsey Hasford
Coldwell Banker Vision - Elk River, MN
ummm. We have someone do it for us... two businesses and a rental cause us enough confusion!
Jan 02, 2008 12:33 PM #1
Rainer
28,341
Jen Hudson
Windermere Real Estate/M2, LLC - Stanwood, WA
Stanwood, Camano & Arlington, WA
I have always had my CPA do it because it is worth the $200 he charges to save me the time and hassle. Taxes aren't my favorite and I don't want to be audited later and find out I mistakenly owe.
Jan 02, 2008 12:34 PM #2
Rainer
67,272
Lu Kalaj
Vision Realty Centers - Brighton Township, MI
I use Tax Act..... Have done my own for 20 years.  If you learned Real Estate, you can do your own taxes.  As long as you make the time to spend about 2 hours to do them.  Its an online sofware.  Go to Taxact.com.  They have help features if you get stuck....  Good luck.  Lu
Jan 02, 2008 12:39 PM #3
Rainer
38,453
Scott Wall
StoneHouse Realty, Inc - Bristow, VA
Turbo Tax every year. Lately with audit protection if the "just in case" office deductions. :-)
Jan 02, 2008 12:42 PM #4
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

I take the time to pay a retainer fee every month and I do not worry about my taxes any more. I have used Kim Bryant for over 7 years now. And I always get $$$ back. I never talk to the IRS or anyone any more I have given her power of attorney and she takes care of everything. The $$$ that I get back and the peace of mind of worth every penny I pay her and she is tax dectutable. She will show you how to keep you money. 

I believe it is the best investment money I have every made. I do not have to look anything up any more or keep anything together for my tax year any more. I take about 1 hour or less every month to give everything to Kim and she handles every thing. If you would like more information on her I will be happy to send you her information. She is very good and most of the states. I do not know how ever in ID, but if she does not work I still would suggest that you just hire someone with a reatiner fee and they will show you how to incorporate and save you $$$.

I just do not see waisting my time with taxes and trying to keep up with all the updates then there is a professional out there to do the work for me.

We are professionals and we get mad when FSBO try and do it themselves. How could this be any different? 

Jan 02, 2008 12:43 PM #5
Rainer
42,925
Jeff Fullmer
FM Properties - Idaho Falls, ID
Real Estate Investor/Financier

Lindsey, 2 businesses and a rental... I would have someone take care of it too! You have so many avenues for writes offs and strategies you can implement.  

Jen, my counter point would be if it takes you 2 hours then is your time worth $100 an hour? If you do get audited then you are ONLY paying what you should have paid in the first place. Is that really a problem?

Lu, thanks. Tax Act, better then Turbo Tax?

Scott, Turbo Tax - better then Tax Act? I was planning on Turbo.

Susan, you make a strong argument. Is Kim a CPA, tax attorney, or something else? (I am assuming tax attorney). I have reservations about working with someone I can't go out to lunch with or meet face to face, especially if I am giving them that much control over my finances but I wouldn't mind looking into it. I do agree with the FSBO comparison but also know how busy CPA's and the like get this time of year. They turn into processors and not analysts sometimes. In years past, if some new strategy came out then it was usually up to me to educate my tax professional. My opinion has been if you are going to have someone prepare your taxes, is there really much difference between a CPA and H&R Block?

Jan 02, 2008 01:32 PM #6
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

OK Jeff,

I really understand where you are coming from here. It is hard to but a package together when the loan office is out of town and you cannot reach out and touch someone. Kim is a CPA. Has been for quite some years and I forgot how many. Around the 15 to 20 and I know that sounds bad. I checked her out around 7 years ago. 

Here is the answer to the processor part of your question. IF someone is taking care of your items every month then how are they really a processor for tax season? They have everything that they need other than some small paperwork that does not come until the end of the year and they just plug in the rest of the end of the year items and there you go an early tax return. I get my $$$ by the first week in March with no sweat.

OH H&R Block. What if they miss something, "Say that you forgot or did not know it was tax deductible" to take to them and they did not think or know to ask you because they are the processor? but Kim has asked for it through the year and is keeping track of it and now she has everything. Example, what is better to use the gas decudtion or the repairs or the mileage of the vehicle. Well, she will keep track of it all through the year and which ever is best that is the way she will apply for your taxes for you. 

I am not saying that you do not know what is going on here. Kim provides monthly doucmentation of what she has done for your taxes and if you have any questions you call or email her and you will have an answer as to WHY she did it that way. No strings held back as to where your money is going and how much you need to pay if any at all.

She saves me more money in tax returns than her fees would ever be. I would not have thought about the ins and outs to make it work.

Quick example: Are you incorporated? If you said NO then you need Kim. If you said yes. then the next question is? Did you pay in last year if your answer was Yes. then you need Kim to show you more about corporations and I will not get into this but Kim can for you. I am not a CPA, but I do know when I need better help than what I can get out of books and H&R Block who are just number crunchers to me.

If you would like to know more just call or email me. 

Jan 02, 2008 02:25 PM #7
Rainer
185,143
Matthew Rosov
Amerisave Mortgage Corporation - Laurel, MD
Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist
Turbo Tax for my own taxes - CPA for my S corp!  Though at some point I may have her do both!
Jan 02, 2008 02:26 PM #8
Rainer
42,925
Jeff Fullmer
FM Properties - Idaho Falls, ID
Real Estate Investor/Financier

Susan,

I see where using a CPA ALL year would be of benifit. It sounds like you have a good one there. What I have found with the (I only talk to you two times a year and one of those is about your bill) CPA is what I was ranting about. The key is finding someone who communicates with you and works for your best interests. I currently don't have a s-corp, LLC, or investment properties and am W-2'd. So I will itemize but my tax stratagy is not very complicated. Tom Stanley (Millionare Next Door & Millionare Mind author) said he knows a guy that has 7 CPA's prepare his taxes and files once, just for the networking opportunites. I guess that is another reason to have a CPA, they have the best network to tap into. Thanks for educating us on what a GOOD CPA will do for you!

Jan 02, 2008 03:53 PM #9
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

Jeff,

I did understand what you were ranting about and I was trying to say not all are CPA's just like not all of us are Realtors (some are just part timers giving us a bad name).

Yes the key is finding the right person. I would think your CPA would recommend you be an s corp min. and after you grow show you what else is out there. This is the communication that I am talking about. Kim helps me with everything that is needed to be filed each year to maintain my s corp. I have put in a call to Kim to see if she knows anything about ID. I know she knows about Nevada and Delaware, so she is just not stuck in NC. 

 

Anyway. I hope you have a very Happy New Year. I was really trying to help you to know if you have an excellent CPA or not. You are correct. It does matter. 

Jan 02, 2008 04:20 PM #10
Rainer
51,762
Linda Box Taylor
Castle Connections Realty - Plano, TX
Your Plano, TX Realtor
I turn to a pro for my taxes.  I don't trust doing my taxes myself.  Too many tax laws change and I like having a CPA taking care of me.  But I do pay for it!  It costs alot more than Turbo Tax but its worth my peace of mind. 
Jan 02, 2008 04:26 PM #11
Rainer
42,925
Jeff Fullmer
FM Properties - Idaho Falls, ID
Real Estate Investor/Financier
Thanks Susan, oh I know my last CPA was not the greatest. He quit his firm and so I was hung out to dry without my tax pro. So that was another reason to just hunker down and do it myself.
Jan 02, 2008 04:27 PM #12
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville
Jeff, I totally understand loosing someone that you trusted. You can find Kim Bryant on AR. I invited her and she only blogged once, but all of her contact information is here with AR. Call and check her out. What do you have to loose?
Jan 02, 2008 06:42 PM #13
Rainer
42,925
Jeff Fullmer
FM Properties - Idaho Falls, ID
Real Estate Investor/Financier
Thanks Susan!
Jan 02, 2008 07:01 PM #14
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