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In need of a CPA
Old 01-01-2019, 08:32 AM   #1
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In need of a CPA

Hello all,


I have been doing my own taxes but recently decided to use a CPA since my tax situation is getting complicated with rental property and stock investments. I have gotten audited twice in last 6 years due to simple errors that HR block software did not catch. I live in San Antonio, TX and would like to find a reputable CPA can build relationship going forward. I met with one CPA locally and he was nice but charges ~$700 to do my taxes. Seems kind of high. I'm open to working with someone out of state since we live in a digital world.



My ideal person is someone who is responsive, works with you to understand your financial situation and builds a plan to minimize taxes owed. Any suggestion or help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:55 AM   #2
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$700 is probably middle of the road. I am in the opposite camp where taxes have become simple, but IIRC my CPA was charging $1000. (in MN)

I would contact friends asking for referrals, looking for a small shop that gets good reviews.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:51 AM   #3
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I use turbotax and have always done my own taxes, including with rental and stock info. Even used to do paper forms before the software was common. The software is a help, but you also need to have the understanding of what the forms are doing. That's the key, as it helps prevent problems. If you want the CPA, I would go for someone local, to aid in-person visits. No idea on costs, but if you know any friends with small business, ask who they use. I think a smaller local guy you can build relationship with would be better than a large place where the assigned CPA could change over time.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:06 AM   #4
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You probably don't need a CPA. Most professional tax preparers are not CPAs. You could just walk into an H&R Block or similar storefront and work with someone there, or you could find an enrolled agent here: https://taxexperts.naea.org/

I am very curious about what sort of errors the H&R Block software didn't catch though, and whether you tried to collect on their warranty. If their program made errors, they will pay whatever penalties you were assessed by the IRS. TurboTax has the same guarantee.
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Old 01-01-2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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In the situation the OP described the interview is key. He can go to H&R Block and ask their staff to prepare the return. Don't share that you had an issue with their software initially.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebu View Post
Hello all,


I have been doing my own taxes but recently decided to use a CPA since my tax situation is getting complicated with rental property and stock investments. I have gotten audited twice in last 6 years due to simple errors that HR block software did not catch. I live in San Antonio, TX and would like to find a reputable CPA can build relationship going forward. I met with one CPA locally and he was nice but charges ~$700 to do my taxes. Seems kind of high. I'm open to working with someone out of state since we live in a digital world.



My ideal person is someone who is responsive, works with you to understand your financial situation and builds a plan to minimize taxes owed. Any suggestion or help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
In San Francisco Bay Area, CPA, for basic return around $500+. I also have
rental property and use H/R Block.

Unless, you have knowledge of what you are doing, can be very difficult.
My experience with H/R software, you fill in answers to "questions", and the software prepares the "official" IRS return.

When dealing with "depreciation", "income", etc on rental property, H/R software, and questions process does not work. (For me anyway.)

What I do, is, I go directly to the schedule E forms, etc, and "override" the
software, and in essence, enter on the "actual" IRS forms the correct information.

You need to have an understanding of what you are doing.. ..this may take more work than you are willing to do. ie. take a course in tax accounting.

I doubt you can find a CPA, willing to sit down and teach you.

What you might do, Have a CPA do your tax returns, then after, try and figure out what they did. BUT you still need an understanding of tax preparation to figure out why, and what worksheets, you need to maintain.

Also, Some State Tax rules on rental property may be different than Fed IRS rules. Which further
complicates the process.

You may have to bite the bullet, and use a tax professional each year.
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #7
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In San Francisco Bay Area, CPA, for basic return around $500+. I also have
rental property and use H/R Block.

Unless, you have knowledge of what you are doing, can be very difficult.
My experience with H/R software, you fill in answers to "questions", and the software prepares the "official" IRS return.

When dealing with "depreciation", "income", etc on rental property, H/R software, and questions process does not work correctly.

What I do, is, I go directly to the schedule E forms, etc, and "override" the
software, and in essence, enter on the "actual" IRS forms the correct information.

You need to have an understanding of what you are doing.. ..this may take more work than you are willing to do. ie. take a course in tax accounting.

I doubt you can find a CPA, willing to sit down and teach you.

What you might do, Have a CPA do your tax returns, then after, try and figure out what they did. BUT you still need an understanding of tax preparation to figure out why, and what worksheets, you need to maintain.

You may have to bite the bullet, and use a tax professional each year.
When dealing with "depreciation", "income", etc on rental property, H/R software, and questions does not work."

Hmm...I'm using HR software and just naievely accepting what they tell me. What did you find is wrong?
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nebu View Post
Hello all,


I have been doing my own taxes but recently decided to use a CPA since my tax situation is getting complicated with rental property and stock investments. I have gotten audited twice in last 6 years due to simple errors that HR block software did not catch. I live in San Antonio, TX and would like to find a reputable CPA can build relationship going forward. I met with one CPA locally and he was nice but charges ~$700 to do my taxes. Seems kind of high. I'm open to working with someone out of state since we live in a digital world.



My ideal person is someone who is responsive, works with you to understand your financial situation and builds a plan to minimize taxes owed. Any suggestion or help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Would love to know what the audits were like??
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:21 PM   #9
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I think the OP should give some thought to what is being asked for versus what’s being received. Simply put, what do you expect a CPA to work for? If $700 is too much, I think you may want to continue doing your own taxes. One way to look at it is that you’re giving up and paying for not having to do the taxes and having someone to take a significant part of the burden for any future audits. Another way to look at it is the CPA’s time. Do you think your taxes will take less than say 4 hours by the time you include intake of the information all the way through to summarizing it with you in a year end meeting? I don’t think a CPA that is worth going to needs to work for much less than a couple hundred an hour and many charge significantly more.

I don’t know how complex the OP’s taxes are, but off loading any job that you can do yourself almost always seems expensive. The things to consider are what you get for it in return. When working, I off loaded my grass cutting. For an acre, it was quite expensive, but the benefit of not having to think about it and coming home from rough days at work to a well cut lawn made it worth every penny. Now retired, I get more enjoyment from doing it myself and at times having my grandson ride the lawn tractor (learning to drive) is a bonus.
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:45 PM   #10
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When DH retired from his federal career and started doing part time contract work, we needed help doing our taxes. I was getting a little over my head doing our alphabet soup of a return (Schedules A, B, C, D, and E). Self-employed, rental property, stock investments, and partner in an LLC.

She charged by the page and our returns cost about $600 including state and local. I followed along, attempting to do our taxes with Turbo Tax before our meeting with her. The first year I had a lot of mistakes, the second year I was close, and I nailed it the third year.

I have since been a volunteer tax preparer through AARP. That training, plus what I learned by following along with the paid preparer for a few years, gives me the confidence to tackle our taxes myself.

Maybe pay a professional for a few years while you educate yourself. I recommend someone local, as state income taxes vary widely and if you try to get someone online they may not know the state very well.
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Old 01-01-2019, 03:03 PM   #11
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$700 is not a lot if you include your time spent with the IRS trying to splain things.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:30 PM   #12
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Thanks all for feedback. Looks like $700 is reasonable for peace of mind.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:35 PM   #13
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmcgonig View Post
When dealing with "depreciation", "income", etc on rental property, H/R software, and questions does not work."

Hmm...I'm using HR software and just naievely accepting what they tell me. What did you find is wrong?
Hi,


I do a backdoor Roth IRA contribution and HR does not understand how to report it. Had to submit proper tax form believe was 5501 to IRS so not to get double taxed for contribution.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #14
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Or you might ditch H&R and try TurboTax.
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