My CPA Tips


caesarUnlike Julius Caesar, you survived the Ides of March yesterday. In Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar was warned, “Beware the Ides of March,” but ignored the caution and was stabbed 23 times by a mob in the Roman senate. Don’t ignore that we are halfway through March already. Tax Day for 2018, usually falling on April 15 (the Ides of April), will be two days later since the 15th falls on a Sunday. It’s just over a month from now. Will you be ready? Many people procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do taxes, but that can be risky and expensive. It may be too late to get your taxes done by that date, and if so, you may need an extension. An extension is better than sending in a hurriedly-prepared, incorrect form or missing vital deductions that could save you money. And some of the tax preparers-in-the-box only do taxes for a few months a year instead of professionals like CPAs who are dedicated to tax planning and year-round study. Les Merritt, CPA, has been helping businesses and individuals with tax preparation for decades and knows the latest tax laws. He studies which deductions you can take and which you cannot and can find all those that are allowable for your most beneficial tax return. Now is the time to act. Call Les Merritt at (919) 269-8553 to make an appointment to take care of your tax return. You will be glad you have taken action and removed this task from your incomplete projects. Set up to have Les do your taxes yearly and never dread the Ides of March or April.

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Countdown clockThis is your reminder countdown to tax day!  Your personal tax return is due in less than six weeks. Your company return, depending on what type of company may be due next week. It may not be too late to have a CPA file your personal taxes. In cases where one or both can’t be filed in time, you can get an extension and file later. As you are considering what to do, if you have not filed already, don’t rush through doing your own taxes. You will likely save money by having a professional like a Certified Public Accountant prepare your paperwork and filing electronically or sending it by mail BUT DO NOT DELAY! There is a difference between having all your receipts collected in a shoe box and filing the most advantageous tax return. Your maximized return will include all allowable deductions. That way you can get the heftiest refund or pay the lowest taxes. Using a professional for taxes is a wise decision. You can use your time more productively because even with software, you may miss significant deductions you can take or mistakenly record those you are not entitled to take. In either case, it can lead to pricey errors which may cost you time and money later.  

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Extension TimeDid your refund or what you had to pay disappoint you last year? Did you file at the last minute and slave over getting everything ready? Even if you haven’t planned for your 2017 taxes it’s not too late. However, don’t be tempted to go to the tax buddy in the booth or do a quick job on software at the last minute. Better to see a professional who works on taxes full-time. Corporate returns are due on March 15 and personal returns on April 17. That is just weeks away and many CPA's and tax preparers are booked up already getting their current clients’ returns ready. As tax-days tick closer and closer, you can be proactive. Contact a CPA to help with your tax return and file an extension. In the end, paying for the extension and late fee may be much less than if you miss significant deductions. With the tax law becoming increasingly complex, wise folks rely on an accountant or a CPA. Les Merritt, CPA, is ready to help with your taxes. Let Les work with you to prepare your taxes and extensions if necessary.  If you need for an extension, you can trust Les Merritt to file it, then do a thorough job on your return, so you can file as early as possible after the deadline.  Call Les today (919) 269-8553 to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did.

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Storm warning flags on beach. Baga, Goa, IndiaThere are a number of indicators on a tax return that can trigger an audit. One of the best reasons to use CPAs to do your taxes is that they are aware of most of these. No one wants to be audited. In 2016 only.7% of individual and .8% of small business returns were audited. These are small percentages so most of us do not get audited. The chances of being audited for those who make $1,000,000 or more a year range from 2.06% to 18.7%. A few things auditors look for in tax return are mathematical mistakes, charitable gift amounts that are based on purchase price rather than current value, non-qualifying home office deductions and driving-related costs. You might be surprised at some of the legitimate deductions you can take but knowing about them is necessary to take advantage. How can you determine what deductions are allowed? You can read the tax code for 2017 which is reported to be between 2,600 and 70,000 pages (depending on what is included in the count) OR you can use a CPA to prepare your taxes. Your preparer should make it his business to keep up with the current tax codes and changes. If you have not yet started preparing your return, give Les Merritt, CPA, a call at (919) 269-8553 to make an appointment. Since it is getting close to the deadline, you may have to file for an extension, but feeling secure that your taxes have been prepared correctly should make you more comfortable. Avoiding the red flags for an audit could make your life easy after you have filed. Be sure to contact Les Merritt and get your taxes done claiming all the legitimate deductions and no more. The audit you save may be your own.

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