What is Your #1 Piece of Advice to Clients in 2019?

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The new year brings with it new challenges and opportunities, especially considering the impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has on tax year 2018. We asked several Intuit® ProConnect™ Tax Pro Center authors for feedback on their advice to clients in 2019. Here’s what they had to say:

Dawn Brolin, CPA, CFE – Powerful Accounting LLC

In 2019, I will be advising my clients to commit themselves to more frequent engagement with our firm in order for us to assist them in maneuvering changes in tax reform. There will be impact on their 2018 tax returns, and we were clear during the 2018 filing season of what their effect might be, should all things remain the same. Tax planning and tax strategies are going to be a factor for most of them; I will be making it crystal clear that they need to start taking the necessary steps to work with me to minimize their tax burden.

Carla Caldwell – Caldwell Consulting & Training, LLC

Don’t go it alone! With all the changes in tax law and in business, you need to have someone who can help guide you through this objectively. Be sure to connect with your accounting and tax professional regularly throughout the year to ensure you are as prepared as you can be.

Nayo Carter-Gray, EA – 1st Step Accounting

Make sure your business and personal transactions are in separate bank accounts. It’s easier for you to track your income and expenses, and it also helps to keep the IRS from disallowing your business deductions.

Alan Crouse, CPA – McDonald Cointot Crouse LLP

We would like our clients to prepare a projection for 2019 for us to review.  We would use this to discuss their assumptions for the year, along with any ways we see to improve their bottom line and their business. This could be used for tax planning, cash flow and the overall health of the business.

Fredric D. Leffler, CPA, MBA

I have two pieces of advice. First, don’t ask for tax planning advice during tax season. Second, don’t wait till the last minute to have your taxes prepared. Trying to provide quality tax planning advice during the tax season is generally a matter of too little too late; too little time to give quality advice and too late to take tax mitigating actions. Waiting till the last minute to prepare taxes generally means preparing taxes without adequate information and proper reviews.

Tyler McBroom, CPA, MBA – Measured Results

My best piece of advice to clients in 2019 is a timeless and fundamental one: keep a good set of books. On top of helping you make informed decisions about the direction of your business, it is still the best action item you can take to minimize your tax bill. Think about this: as a business owner, if you are in a 28% federal and maybe a 6% state bracket, then add 15% self-employment tax as a sole proprietor and nearly 50 cents of every dollar you miss as a deduction is going to Uncle Sam at tax time. Keeping a great set of books that you actually update and reconcile is the most important step towards not missing out on those deductions.

Andrea M. Parness, CPA – A. Parness Company CPA

To individual tax filers we typically see on an annual basis, I suggest they contact their tax preparer early in January to find out what information they will need for 2018 tax filing. Due to some states de-coupling from federal rules, some tax filers’ information may not have changed.

To business tax filers we typically see on a quarterly basis, I suggest they set up an early annual meeting so we can review their goals and expectations for the upcoming year, and make sure that we start their 2019 tax strategy planning sessions early to allow for the implementation of any changes we will be recommending.

Christopher Ragain, CPA – Halon Tax Software

If you own a business, remember to pay your children. With the new standard deduction of $12,000, you can pay them up to that amount without triggering a taxable event on their tax return. So, it is now a free $12,000 deduction.

Hal Rosen, CPA – Haynie & Company

Under the new tax law, tax planning is an absolute necessity! It is very easy to lose the 20% business pass-through deduction if one does not meet the requirements, which could be as simple as taking a little more W-2 payroll for the owner. Business owners stand to benefit the most from the new tax law, and proper planning will ensure that all benefits can be realized.

Jacob Schroeder, CPA – Ascend Consulting, LLC

Concentrate on what you do best and hire the rest. Don’t allow needless tasks to distract you from making your business what it should be.

Editor’s Note: What’s your advice to clients? Leave a comment below to share your advice with other tax practitioners.

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