Taxes

The “I Got a CPA” Update

A little over a month ago, I wrote about how I finally went out and got a CPA after a CSR working for an automated tax software program told me “you really need a professional to do your taxes.”

Here is how my CPA experience went! I am curious if it was anything like other people’s experiences with CPAs and financial advisers.

1. I had no idea how much it was going to cost. 

My CPA’s website didn’t have any rates listed, which is fine, but it took me to the end of our first in-person meeting (after a few phone conversations) to finally say “um… what do you charge, and is it by hour or by project?”

It was per hour, and since some of those hours happened without me in the room I really didn’t have any idea what my bill would be until I received it. That, of course, made me nervous because I like to plan things in advance, but it turned out fine.

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I Got a CPA

I’m not the kind of person who likes to ask for help.

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Silvio Berlusconi’s Community Service Begins

ICYMI, Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud and sentenced to four years in prison last year, but thanks to a law that passed while he was in office declaring that convicted criminals over 70 do not have to go to jail — LOL, okay — he got off with some community service.

And what community will be graced with his service? Well, as the Guardian reports, today he rolled up in a limousine to his first day of work at a hospice for Alzheimer’s patients, where he will be involuntarily volunteering once a week.

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PAY UP, Credit Suisse

Reuters reports that Credit Suisse is about to be in a world of hurt:

Credit Suisse Group AG is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department to pay as much as $1.6 billion to resolve an investigation into the bank’s role in helping Americans evade U.S. taxes, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday.

I always want to know who the person familiar with the matter is. I hope it’s someone who overheard a conversation in the men’s room.

The penalty would exceed the 895 million Swiss francs ($1.02 billion) that Credit Suisse has set aside to pay potential penalties to the United States.

They put a billion dollars aside to pay penalties. Hmph. Guess that’s smart of them.

Oh wait, did I say “world of hurt”? I guess I meant minor discomfort. Is 600 million dollars the ‘low hundred millions’? Someone is not going to be able to quit the Silicon Valley grind to pursue a career in the arts.

Photo via wikimedia commons

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Doing Your Taxes The Night Before

I have been gathering paperwork and sending things to my account for my 2013 taxes since early February, but a week or so ago I was chatting with Mike and declared I would do it myself this year. I won’t be making much money — how hard could it be? Then he reminded me that the first quarterly payment for freelancers is due at the same time as my 2013 taxes. Oh, great, okay. I opened this puppy up in a tab, left it open for a week, and then last night — April 13th — I decided now was the time. I got out a notebook and inhaled deeply. For the next four hours. Rather than write 3000 words about this experience I will fast forward to deciding at midnight last night I would do the ‘make an educated guess and throw some money at the government to cover my ass, rounded up to the nearest hundred’ method.

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Cheating on Taxes, and Getting Away With It

This piece by David Cay Johnson in Newsweek called “How to Cheat on Your Taxes” is less about cheating on your taxes, and more about why so many people get away with it.

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The Tax Preparation Industry Is Like the Wild West

NYU law student Alex Levy writes about shady, unregulated tax preparers in an editorial today explaining that in most states, anyone can set up a business to prepare your taxes if they wanted to.

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Taxes Are Due in Two Weeks. Remain Calm

till haven’t done your taxes? The April 15th deadline is approaching soon, and The Wall Street Journal has some last-minute tax tips for us.

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Taxing the Childless

Not endorsed in the slightest: Slate columnist Reihan Salam argues that childless people should pay higher taxes than those with children.

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Two Millennials Discuss Doing Their Taxes

John: I spent, like, four hours one night last week entering tiny numbers into TurboTax, then was crestfallen at the result, and did the same with H&R Block online. Now both of them are emailing me like, HELLO? DO YOUR TAXES AND PAY US… so I’m putting it off. For now. I did actually go to see a human person at an H&R Block office, and she told me it would be $300 just to process my 1099-MISC, nevermind the taxes I will inevitably owe, so I scuttled back to my desk.

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Here’s A Surefire Tax Estimating Process for Freelancers (Rebooted and Updated)

A year and a half ago, I wrote about my surefire tax estimation system for freelancers for the Billfold, in the hopes that a system that has worked for me would help the many Billfold readers who live partly or entirely on freelance income avoid quarterly or annual financial panic when it came to dealing with their taxes. “This system is incredibly useful!” some said. “This system is insanely complex, how can you expect anyone to actually do this,” said many others. “Please help me,” said an unsettling number of emails I’ve received.

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Tax Records and “True Detective”

Logan: *links to Reddit post about tax law error in final episode of “True Detective”*

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