Overview: Addressing the best and worst times to contact your CPA.
THE WORST TIME TO CONTACT YOUR CPA
There are two times you shouldn’t contact your CPA:
- During your annual tax return appointment
- When you submit your documents to the CPA after the end of the year.
Why? While this information needs to be submitted at this time to accurately prepare the return, this should not be the first time you present this information to your CPA.
The truth is that once the year is over, there are very few things we as CPAs can do to reduce a taxpayer’s tax liability and the majority of them include spending sizable amounts of dollars to save relatively little tax.
THE BEST TIME TO CONTACT YOUR CPA
The proper time to contact your CPA would be during the year. This is when certain events take place that rightfully could affect your turn. A few of these “life-changing” events include, but are not limited to:
- getting a new job; receiving a promotion; retiring
- starting a business
- buying and selling property; inheriting property
- getting married or divorced
- having children or adopting
- large gambling winnings
Remember that this list is not all-inclusive. However, it does give an idea for the types of things you should talk to your CPA about.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the larger the change in dollars before vs. after the event takes place, the sooner you want to talk to your CPA. For example, a 4 percent raise at work does not warrant immediate contact of your CPA, but a promotion that increases your wages by over 50 percent certainly does. A 50 percent raise can likely change which tax bracket you are in while also adding eligible tax credits that weren’t available before (as well as take some away).
The main takeaway is that the sooner you get in contact with your CPA, the longer you must prepare for and mitigate as much tax liability as possible.
HOW TO CONTACT YOUR CPA
The first thing you should do is email your CPA with the details of whatever event either just took place, or even better, will take place. The reason email is preferred over call is because you allow your CPA to research how this event could impact your tax situation. While the phone call can be more immediate, you will likely be told by your CPA that they need to research the matter and get back to you.
Emailing gives your CPA time to conduct the research before contacting you. Your CPA will be able to set up the appropriate next step which could be a response email, phone call, zoom meeting, or in-person meeting depending on what the situation calls for.
In conclusion: Contacting your CPA during the year as events and changes take place will greatly reduce the uncertainty you can face during filing season and can help reduce your tax liability. As changes come up throughout the year don’t forget to contact our office at 909-307-2323.
At Smith Marion & Co. we allow our clients to take advantage of customizable tax packages. For more information on the packages available to you check out this blog by CPA Caren Cranston. https://smcocpa.com/getting-the-most-out-of-individual-tax-service-packages-the-best-package-for-your-needs-standard-executive-or-premier/
Carlos Carazo, EA, CPA