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Thanks for the airline club response - I bookmarked the pub - it's not one I've needed before.

So I wasn't planning to go into business but some has fallen in my lap. How do I find a good accountant/tax person for a teeny,tiny business ? What can I expect to pay ?

rad
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Ask around, talk to your colleagues, if their circumstances are similar to yours. Satisfied customers are a good indicator.

What you can expect to pay will depend on the complexity of your return, nature and sources of your income, etc. This includes your investment situation as well as your business.

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What rad said is true. Most small accounting firms, will charge by the form that needs to be filed. So if you have 3 forms, its usually one price, but if you have 10 forms to fill out, its a different price. Most of the accountants I know also charge different prices, depending on the form. So a Schedule A is usually cheaper than something like a Schedule D.

Tammy
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[[ Most small accounting firms, will charge by the form that needs to be filed.]]

A lot of small accounting firms charge a fee based more on the amount of time it takes to prepare the tax return than the number of forms or type of forms required.

Choc
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A lot of small accounting firms charge a fee based more on the amount of time it takes to prepare the tax return than the number of forms or type of forms required.

I for one have gone to charging by the form. I only resort to time-based fees when there's problems that take much longer than normal.

My thinking is much like that of a doctor: time spent cutting and sewing $x. Knowing where to cut $XXX. If I don't charge for my knowledge, then I'm shooting myself in the foot by working efficiently. Because I know how to do tax returns quickly (and have spent some money on tools to assist with that) I need to charge based on the knowledge required for the issue the taxpayer has.

--Peter
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In my earlier note I deliberately fudged on the question of charging by forms vs. charging by time spent. You can do it either way.

I said it would depend on the "complexity of the return", and I certainly stand by that.

We generally charge by the time spent, adjusting for a variety of factors. I don't know what kind of a number we'd use for Schedule B. You can have 1-2 interest and dividend items, or a list longer than my weekly grocery list. (A good argument for keeping all your stocks in a brokerage account - you only get 1 1099-DIV.) But whether you define it as charging by the hour, or charging by the number of entries, you're essentially doing the same thing.

Schedule D - same thing. Very simple, perhaps, or a nightmare in the case of an obsessive-compulsive day trader. And in the case of someone who sells a business interest, the number of entries doesn't begin to reflect the work that went into it.

Schedule E - you can probably use a standard rate for a rental property, but in the case of partnerships, S-Corporation, and trusts (in which most of our clients are involved to some degree), the work we do for our clients involves a lot of time spent not reflected in the number of entries on the form.

In summary, I stick with my earlier advice. When you ask around, ask about fees.

-Bill
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My post was kind of a pre-emptive strike. I think I need to talk to an accountant about what I should be tracking and how I should be tracking it as I start doing work, rather than at tax time. I'd rather make as few mistakes as I can, even this first year in business. I'd also be looking for some guidance in the best way to structure the business. Is an accountant still what I'm looking for ?

rad
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My post was kind of a pre-emptive strike. I think I need to talk to an accountant about what I should be tracking and how I should be tracking it as I start doing work, rather than at tax time. I'd rather make as few mistakes as I can, even this first year in business. I'd also be looking for some guidance in the best way to structure the business. Is an accountant still what I'm looking for ?

rad
______________________________-

Yes.
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