Talking With a CPA: Expectations vs. Reality

I think I thought my CPA meeting would be an in-depth conversation about every aspect of my business, a combination "tax prep and business health" service, and it turned out to be much more "let's look at the problem in front of us, which is inputting numbers into your 2014 tax return."

AirBnb Ruined Our Lives and Turned Us Into Entitled City Dwellers

If you live in New York, you've probably seen the subway ads for AirBnb. They display hosts who have made serious money through the tech company—the king of the "sharing economy." AirBnb has recently won significant legal battle by proving its own legality. It was ruled that AirBnb hosts who live in the apartment or house they are renting out are within the boundaries of the law. Well, that’s us. We’re legal. And yet, if I’m honest with myself, AirBnb has basically ruined my life. And it can ruin yours, too.

The Cost of a Solo Trip to Montreal

I chose Montreal because I could get there by train: the trip is scenic in its own right, winding up through the Hudson Valley and traveling parallel to Lake Champlain.

Tax Season

In the past few days, I've opened my mailbox and discovered 1099 forms, a W-2, as well as 1098-E forms (student loan interest statements) in my email inbox. The forms are currently being organized in a folder. Our favorite time of year has come and I'm slowly preparing for it. Today, Jan. 20, marks the official start of the tax-filing season.

Everybody Wants to Do 1 Thing

And what about you? What's the 1 Thing you've got to do?

It’s Weird But Adult to Talk Money With Strangers

Meaghan: So YOU had an exciting morning, eh? You visited a financial advisor!

Ester: Yes! It was very adult. Our advisor lady did our taxes for us this year which was the FIRST TIME that’s ever happened, but she was so smart and nice that we decided to ask her to Counsel us. To give us Counsel. Because we’ve never gotten that before either.

Meaghan: Yeah! I have never done it, though it has always seemed like a good idea. I guess almost like therapy the key is finding someone who you trust/respect.

Ester: She came recommended from a Billfold pal, actually! (And a real-life friend.)

Meaghan: Amazing. I guess also having her help you with taxes was a nice way to get to know her and see how she works and stuff?

Ester: Yes, and vice versa — she got to know us pretty well by doing our taxes too. :) We figured that would give her a pretty clear picture of who and where we are, and it did. The big change is that the fella, who is currently a full-time corporate lawyer, will not be one for long, so there is much Mystery and Complexity about what happens next.

“Cops Are Basically Revenue Collectors”

Did the NYPD accidentally reveal that one of its primary mandates has little to do with general well-being and much more to do with raising money for the city at the expense of its most vulnerable?

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.

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.