We do a lot of tax returns! Most of our client base – but not all – is San Francisco residents. Individual tax returns can be tricky for high income individuals. We often have a client with a business, or multiple businesses. Some might be sole proprietorships, others S corporations, others C corporations, and still others LLCs. He or she might have a wife or partner, and that income might flow through differently depending on who owns what stock. Or, we have an individual with overseas interests. We do a lot of international tax here in the City, and that’s another issue where business interests and individual tax preparation for San Franciscans can collide. And still others are high net worth individuals, looking to leave substantial assets to their children or to philanthropic institutions in this great city by the Bay.
Individual taxes can be pretty complicated!
Now, our clients come to us because they recognize the value of a top-rated San Francisco CPA firm. We know tax: Federal taxes, California taxes, income and sales tax, capital gains tax, county taxes, licensing fees, capital gains tax and on and on and on. The “fun” of being a tax CPA is that taxes a) never go away, and b) they are constantly changing. So we have to be very up-to-date with what’s going on, and look for every legal opportunity to minimize our clients’ tax liability.
Which brings us to record-keeping. We always say we work “with” our tax clients and not “for” them. Meaning, what? Well, you come to us for our tax expertise, but we rely on you to provide us with up-to-date accurate records. These might be:
- Pay stubs – W2s are obvious, but accurate timely information on your employment.
- Receipts for charitable contributions – if you give to charities, we need receipts.
- Business expenses – some sorts of expenses would be directly reimbursed by your business, but others like education might be paid directly by you and still possibly be tax deductible. If it isn’t on paper, if we don’t have a receipt of some kind, we can’t really deduct them.
- Tax payments – state, local, property and other types of taxes are often deductible. But we need to know what you paid, to whom, how much and when.
- Mortgage and other interest – some forms of interest are tax deductible.
Those are just a few of the types of records we need from individuals. If you own a business, we’d usually want your bookkeeping files, often in the industry-standard Quickbooks platform. We don’t do bookkeeping, but we can recommend some fantastic San Francisco bookkeepers. Indeed, many clients give us a lot of electronic records these days – PDF’s and QUICKEN types of transfers. But however you do it, good record-keeping is a must for any high income individual who can “gain” by “minimizing tax.” Save those receipts!