Over 30 years ago, we had our first small business. Some friends recommended that we see a professional tax person, and they recommended the guy they used. I had always believed that with my engineering degree and an ability to do calculus, differential equations and analytic geometry, I did not need any help with my taxes. After all, I had the pamphlet from the IRS and tax preparation is just simple addition and subtraction. To prove them all wrong, I did my taxes myself, then we had our first appointment with Peter.
It’s an understatement to say that I learned a lot that night. Not only did Peter do our taxes competently and conservatively, but he saved us considerably more money than his fee. He educated me about how much more a tax accountant learns each year to be able to prepare taxes and understand the finer points of tax law. Let me state clearly, Peter never did anything shady or marginal; but he knew how to do his job well. And he was current with the latest regulations and tax court decisions.
After that night, I looked forward to my annual visit to Peter. He was not merely filling out forms, he was documenting my life in a way that not only fulfilled my obligations but saved me money every time. At times, it seemed more like he was painting a picture than filling out forms. He was truly an artist.
Peter’s daughter, who grew up working for him in the office, is now a CPA and took over his practice about 10 years ago when her father retired. She still does my taxes with the same artistry of her father. I still look forward to my tax appointment every year, and every year I learn more about our obscure tax code.
The lesson for any small business is that unless you are a tax accountant, get professional help with your taxes. This is a very specialized profession and a good tax accountant will save you more than their fee.