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Real Estate Investor Tax Tips For 2017: Selecting The Right CPA

Written by Than Merrill

Have you ever wondered where you may find the best real estate investor tax tips for 2017? Do you know whether or not you are actually ready to file your taxes when the time comes? Better yet, how can you ease the stress that has become ubiquitous with this time of the year, and perhaps tilt the scale in your favor? The answer is simple: pay attention to the right tax tips for 2017.

Fortunately, the single most important tax tips for 2017 aren’t out of your reach. It’s not too late, nor is it impossible, to make one of the smartest decisions you have made all year: hiring the perfect certified public accountant (CPA). With the right CPA in your corner, there is no reason you shouldn’t go into tax season with more confidence.

When all is said and done, your tax strategy is only as strong as the person behind the filing process. So while it’s important to have everything in place throughout the year, it’s equally important — if not more so — to select the right CPA to handle your own tax return. Having said that, it’s absolutely imperative that you vet the CPA that will be responsible for handling your taxes this year.

Tax Tips For 2017: Vetting Your CPA

Real estate tax tips

Let’s take a look at what you need to pay special considerations to when selecting the right CPA for the job:

1. Avoid overly conservative or carless CPAs

Your ideal candidate should be at the top of their game, which means there is little to no room for even minor shortcomings. It’s worth noting, however, that there are two distinct attributes I refuse to tolerate when working with a CPA that will determine the fate of what is frankly a large sum of money: conservatism and carelessness. Together, these two characteristics can derail just about any tax strategy, no matter how well thought out it was. Those CPAs that demonstrate a propensity towards conservative and carless practices are more inclined to gloss over the lesser-known tax strategies that could end up making a huge difference.

For what it’s worth, it’s in your best interest to find a CPA that exhibits the opposite tendencies. Instead of working with the first CPA you come across and risking leaving money on the table, vet your options accordingly. I can assure you an aggressive CPA is much more favorable to work with, so long as they remain within their legal rights. As for those CPAs that are careless, I shouldn’t have to tell you why it’s in your best interest to avoid them.

Make an effort to identify their tendencies and get a feel for how they will treat your own return. Only once you are absolutely certain that a prospective CPA will treat your filing the way it deserves to be treated can I recommend moving forward with them.

2. You don’t want a simple number cruncher, but rather a strategist

Not unlike the investors they have come to serve, CPAs are very diversified in the strategies they implement. In fact, it’s likely that you’ll come across all types of CPAs in your vetting efforts that run the gamut from boring and predictable to innovative and exciting. And while each has found a niche that covets their particular skillsets, investors are better off avoiding a particular type of CPA; those that can only be described as number crunchers. Instead, I maintain that real estate investors need to enlist the services of a strategist; someone that will work hard to maximize their tax return. After all, what is a good CPA if not for someone that will do their best to realize the results you were hoping for?

3. Don’t let the cost of a good CPA scare you away

“Cookie-cutter” CPAs are a dime a dozen; you don’t have to look far and wide to find an average personal accountant. And for what it’s worth, their presence is completely justifiable. Simple tax returns don’t require the most talented CPAs, but rather someone with a working knowledge of how the process works — nothing more, nothing less. However, as I have already alluded to, you are not in the market for an average CPA; you must prioritize finding the right individual for the job. And it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the right person for the job typically comes with a higher price tag. There is no way around it: better CPAs will charge more for their services, but that shouldn’t scare you away.

As with just about every other industry, you get what you pay for, and CPAs are certainly not the exception. However, I maintain that you don’t want to skimp on the CPA you hire; the ramifications could be devastating. But that also doesn’t mean you should hire a CPA based on the price alone. It’s entirely possible for prices to be inflated, especially around this time of the year. Instead, I simply want you to entertain the idea of potentially paying more for good work.

Provided you vet your CPA accordingly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider their cost an investment in your future. The amount you put in could potentially return many times over. So defiantly weigh your options, but don’t automatically count out those that seem a little too expensive; you could find their services well worth the cost of admission.

4. Don’t limit yourself to local CPAs

I want to make it abundantly clear: In limiting yourself to local CPAs, you are dramatically reducing the amount of talent you can draw upon. That’s not to say the right CPA isn’t just around the corner from where you live, but the idea of finding a good CPA is simply a numbers game. The more you have to choose from, the more likely you are to find one that meets your specific criteria. In broadening your horizons, you increase your chances of finding the perfect CPA

It’s worth noting, however, that you may not want to look too far outside of your area, as different states must comply with different tax regulations. So while you don’t want to reduce your options, it’s equally as important to work with someone that is well-versed in your state’s tax codes.

I want to encourage real estate investors to vet CPAs until they feel comfortable, and if that means looking outside of your local market, then so be it.

Tax tips for 2017 are as beneficial as they are varied. Everywhere you turn, someone will have their own opinion on the matter. And trust me, some are a lot better than others. However, there is one tax tip for 2017 that most people agree on: hiring a dependable CPA. With the right CPA on your side, you can expect your financials to be in good hands.