Need to Create a Business Tax Plan? How to Work With Your CPA

An honest conversation can determine whether your CPA is able to meet your tax planning needs, and if so, getting prepared yourself is imperative to make it possible for them to do a good job.

A couple sits at a desk with an an accountant going over paperwork.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ask any business owner to name their most trusted adviser, and they usually mention their accountant. They assume their CPAs will accurately file their companies’ tax paperwork on time, as well as develop a business tax plan with strategies to keep their taxes as low as possible.

This consultation can help you keep and reinvest thousands of dollars in your business rather than sending it out the door to the government. A business tax plan is as important as your marketing plan or your succession and estate plans. It’s proactive and usually regenerates itself annually, providing recurring savings.

Unfortunately, only one of these things usually happens.

If you meet with your accountant just once or a few times a year before tax-filing season, you can reasonably expect them to prepare your IRS filings. They probably won’t provide, or even think about providing, you with specific tax planning strategies that can help you minimize taxes in the years ahead. This is a surprise for most business owners I’ve talked to over the years.

Your CPA isn’t trying to take advantage of you. The truth is that most simply don’t have the training, the time, the staff or even the office infrastructure to create strategic tax plans for their clients. Accountants are trained to look backward. They’re recording history. Very few of them take the time to look forward, especially as the sheer volume of documentation they need to complete for the IRS grows yearly.

A quick meeting with your CPA – anytime except Jan. 1 to April 15 – will help you clear up misunderstandings, set financial goals and position yourself and your business to take advantage of every possible tax code benefit.

Here's how to learn if your accountant is the right fit for your needs and, if they are, how you can partner with them to have the best possible legal tax outcome.

Bruce Willey, JD, CPA
Founder, American Tax and Business Planning

Bruce Willey has been working with small to midsize businesses across the country for more than a decade, helping them navigate business and tax law in a variety of situations. His services include assisting with business start-ups, operations, growth, asset protection, exit planning and estate planning.