When searching for a Tax Professional, what do you look for?

While experience is typically the number one factor, this isn’t always the telltale sign of a quality preparer with your best interest at heart. In fact, most “good” accountants are only making sure that your taxes are done, leaving A LOT of room for error. Truth be told, the IRS doesn’t hold your accountant responsible for any of these errors…unless you can prove the accountant made a mistake – and in all of my years of examining businesses for the IRS, the accountant never took the blame. Worst of all, if it was their mistake, you would only get out of paying penalties. The tax is still due. Frustrating – I know.

The truth is, as business owners, the IRS holds you to a higher level of accountability than all other taxpayers. They expect you to thoroughly understand the signed return AND know proper documentation in detail. I cannot say this enough: when searching for a tax professional, you should look for someone who breaks the standard mold.

Carlotta Thompson and Associates

How We Are Different

At Carlotta Thompson and Associates, we value our partnership with business owners and want to help them grow and scale their businesses. In order to do that, education and communication is priority. We want our business owners to understand the things that the IRS expects them to know, as well as their financial statements, concepts, and other general information to ensure they’re paying the least tax legally possible.

We also believe that our clients receive the most benefit when their bookkeeper, their accountant and tax preparer, and their tax strategist are all in one: “When I worked for the IRS, that was one of the biggest issues I found – when the bookkeeper, tax preparer, and (if they had one, the tax strategist) are all different people. They typically don’t talk to each other even when they sit right beside each other in the same office. Things are missed and it’s a detriment to the client.” 

That’s why when I opened my unique firm in 2018, I created a holistic approach. The thing is – any accountant can do your books and any tax preparer can prepare taxes. You need someone for whom saving you money is their number one focus. They should take your tax strategy and infuse it into your bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial strategy, because every day that tax strategies are not being implemented is another day you’re paying excessive taxes. 

We are also the only firm in the nation to implement custom strategies for our clients. We know our business owners are able to do the world so much more good when you’re focused on your mission, so we navigate the tax strategy implementation for your businesses, maximizing your deductions and ensuring you’re paying the least tax legally possible. 

What You Should Look For In a Tax Strategy Team:

  • You should look for a team of professionals that infuses strategy into your books, taxes, and financial planning. Your tax strategist, bookkeeper, and tax preparer should all be the same person. These credentialed professionals should also be a part of a team in which their work is reviewed by another tax strategist and two upper level managers to increase quality and ensure thoroughness. Shocker: Most firms don’t even do one review.
  • A team that is always learning new strategies because tax laws change quickly. 
  • You should search for a team that is not scared of the IRS. They can’t be afraid to implement strategies. Despite what your accountant told you, no, home offices are not a red flag to IRS auditors – I would know.  
  • A team that will go above and beyond. Look for someone who truly cares about you and your business. Ask about audit defense.
  • A team that is focused on saving you money. If every time you ask a question or bring up a strategy, they’re super conservative and say it’s a red flag – they are not the right fit for you. 
  • A team that is available and practices ongoing communication. You should have regular communication with them and you should be doing tax planning all year. Most of the companies I work with are growing super fast and if they don’t talk to their strategist until it’s time to file their taxes, they’re going to over-pay the IRS. 
  • A team that is also focused on compliance. Legal is the critical word in everything. They want to know how to legally toe the line and not cross it.

Remember, when choosing an accountant, it’s not about how much they charge you, but how much they cost you. 

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