Your Guide to Managing Cash Flow and Holding your CPA Accountable During Tax Season
As the April deadline draws closer and closer, you might be having unpleasant flashbacks of tax seasons past. Specifically, you may be remembering the unpleasant surprise of discovering you owe much more than you had anticipated – not to mention the unpleasant and complicated fallout. While horror stories abound, it is possible to meet tax season head on with the proper planning and forward-facing perspective. In addition to being completely transparent with your CPA and financial advisors, there are other ways to ensure you’re fully prepared for that deadline.
- Consider Corporate and Personal Tax Returns
Many small businesses, including dental and medical practices, are filing their tax returns as S Corporations. This allows the owners to pass company income, losses, deductions and credits on to their personal returns. Before you sign your tax return, have your CPA explain how your business income from net profits/losses, W2 wages and dividend/owner’s draws affects your personal return. If you are taking owner’s draws, ask your CPA to confirm that you have the tax basis for taking them. This will help minimize the risk of calling attention to an audit by the IRS.
- Don’t Forget Your First Quarterly Estimate
For many small business owners, April 15th is not only the deadline for personal taxes, but also for quarterly estimates (with the next estimate due on June 15th). Don’t forget this important overlap, as you can be penalized for late estimate submissions. Learn more about quarterly estimates, including due dates and payment instructions, on the IRS website.
- Plan Ahead
Always remember that your CPA is your tax compliance expert, but you should look to your CFO for help with managing cash flow requirements. Ask your CPA for a projection of the current year’s tax liabilities and have them give you quarterly tax estimates when you sign your tax return for 2019. These estimates can then be used to forecast and model future cash requirements.
- Use a Forecasting Tool
Cash flow forecasting software such as Total Cash Clarity™ can help you project up to 8 months into the future. They will help you see shortfalls in projected cash that may be needed when you have to pay your estimates. These kinds of tools can help manage time as well as money, and often include access to supplementary information and materials that can help you gain control of your finances.
- Don’t Silo Your Specialists
Be proactive in managing your meetings with your CPA and make sure your CFO is included. Don’t silo your CFO out of tax planning meetings. Try setting a meeting with both parties in June or July with the intention of finding out how much money you’ll owe and create strategies to get more money in your pocket.
Tax season can be a stressful time for business owners, but much of the anxiety can be eliminated through diligent and practical planning. If you have more questions about navigating tax season or wish to learn about our outsourced CFO service, give us a call at 303.835.7992.