2017 was my first year in business (Handyman/Construction services). Who should I contact about help filing my first year? I would like to do everything through the quickbooks/turbo tax software in hopes that I can repeat the process in the futre by myself. Should I be looking for a CPA? Tax specialist? Who?
@Jayme this is such a great question, especially given how much our recent tax overhaul will be affecting small business owners specifically. I found this December 15 article from "The Balance" helpful:
CPA vs. Accountant
"Accountant" is a general term, referring to financial and tax professionals who follow specific rules and regulations, including Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which are rules and standards set forth by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
CPAs are accountants who have passed a licensing examination in a state. So, you could say that all CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs.
@Jayme -- Welcome to the QB Community! It's really great to see you here. This is such a great question this time of year because, you're right, you've got an opportunity right now to set yourself up well for this year and for years to come.
@Jayme Welcome, as well.
In the handyman/comnstruction busines you may be dealing with purchasing goods that in return are billable to your customers with or without a markup. You might keep some inventory that you use over multiple jobs. Preparation of Estimates/Quotes (and inclusion of your state contractor license is any on teh form) and conversion to Invoices is also something to consider.
Will you hire any subcontractors that would get a 1099 - example you build a house addition but must hire a licensed electrician/plumber as required by ocal ordinance?
I illustrate these just to show some of the complexities you might face in properly keeping your books and preparing for taxes. There is nothing, usually, so complex in a smal business that cannot be accomplished by the owner regarding taxes. But, even using TurboTax with QBSE or QBO does require some understanding at your end. For about 50 years(maybe longer) the computer industry has had an acronym GIGO meaning Garbage In = Garbage Out. The same can apply to TurboTax, if you submit errant data you get an errant return. So a reasonable understanding of what a contractor's tax return should look like even if created by someone or something else is paramoiunt.
Put another way> if you can measure twice and only have to cut once you CAN do your own taxes. But doing a first return on your own may be daunting. Add to that if you don't stay on top of income/expense through the year not only will you have no real idea how you are doing but that shoebox you fill with receipts would slow down even the best paid tax return specialists.
I hope I have not discouraged you, but encouraged you to at least consider finding a QB Pro Advisor to get you started in the right direction
No need for a CPA unless you are a large public company with shareholders and SEC filings, but I would recommend hiring an EA to do your taxes at least for the first year. The cost is minimal compared to the pain of reading IRS tax information, especially with all of the latest changes, not worth my time so even though I have been an accountant for over 30 years, gladly pay my tax lady to avoid all that. You may decide later you like doing that and get into it, but I suggest get help the first time to get it right and get off to a good start so you have baseline to work from. You did not mention what type your business is: C Corp, S Corp, LLC or Sole Proprietor. Important to be clear on your entity type since it determines how your taxes must be reported which then dictates some of the daily requirements for your. Highly recommend hire a degreed Accountant to get you setup and then once you see what is required, you can choose which tasks you will want to do vs. outsource.