Tax Preparation in San Francisco and DIY with a CPA

Filed in CPA Blog by on December 10, 2016
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The DIY attitude of Bay Area residents could be attributed to the “pioneer spirit” of days gone by. From the old West until now, entrepreneurs have always looked to using their own talents to get things done.

Photo credit: Gunnshots via / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: Gunnshots via / CC BY-SA

Figuring out how to do things on your own now is so easy too. If it’s time to re-tile the bathroom floor, a quick review on YouTube and a trip to the home improvement store can bring great results. Yet other projects may need more skill than the most confident do-it-yourselfer has. For instance, what if there’s an electrical wiring problem in the house?  A mistake made by a well-intentioned independent person can end up burning the house down. It may be better to pay for a skilled electrician. Thinking about the consequences of DIY is important.

DIY and Tax Preparation: Not Necessarily So, San Francisco!

When it comes to tax preparation in San Francisco, should DIY be the way to go? Doing it alone may seem like a good idea, but will you be able to learn all the little tax details that can save money and avoid an IRS tax audit? What if we said you could be involved in this project and still have an expert CPA handle your personal tax returns? We admire a do-it-yourself spirit. When we team up with a fully engaged client success is unavoidable. As we move toward tax season, here are a few tips for planning your 2016 federal and state tax returns.
Simple Tax Preparation Tips for San Francisco Residents (and beyond)

  1. Get Organized Now: Maybe you keep a drawer of simple files marked; receipts, bills, rebates, etc. Maybe you put all receipts and statements in a shoebox.  Either way, the first task is to get your personal paperwork in order. This includes; sources of income, charity expenses, possible deductions and educational expenses.
  2. Change of Address This Year? Make sure every employer for this tax year have your current address.
  3. Be an Early Bird: Mid-February is a great time to get your taxes done. We personally love early visitors! That means we can really focus on you before the deluge of late arrivals pour in.
  4. Remember February 1st: The IRS requires all employers to distribute W2’s to employees by February 1st. If you have not received a W2 by that date, contact the source and verify your mailing address.   
  5. Scan and Back up Records: Remember, computers crash and laptops can get stolen. It is a good idea to back your tax preparation files up somewhere safe. Think about copying them to a secure flash drive and locking it in a safe spot.
  6. Learn Online Expense and Reporting Software: This a great way to review your personal expenses for the year and print out some simple reports. Try not to freak out when you realize how much you spend on Mocha Lattes!

The bottom line to a successful tax prep strategy is having all your paperwork ready and visit us early. Tax preparation for San Francisco locals will be different for each person. Whether it’s IRS or FTB returns, Safe Harbor CPA’s can help get you get the job done!

Photo credit: Gunnshots via / CC BY-SA