Getting a large refund means I have a great CPA, right?

The amount of your refund isn’t nearly as important as the amount of money you pay all year long. If you are receiving a substantial refund, chances are you over-paid on your taxes. A lower refund doesn’t mean your CPA did a poor job, in fact, it means your tax plan was properly executed from the onset. With proper guidance from your CPA, you pay the appropriate amount of taxes throughout the year, increasing your available cash on hand.

How do Government compliance regulations affect me?

Your CPA can help identify and address compliance issues other than taxes that can significantly affect your business.
Some of compliance regulations you may want help reviewing are:

  • properly maintained employee records
  • I-9 forms
  • Timely 401(k) contributions
  • Obamacare requirements
  • Department of Labor audits

My CPA can be my financial advisor too, right?

Financial planning is a specialty that requires extensive knowledge of constantly changing investment vehicles and financial instruments.

It’s like Bates says, “Financial planning is to a CPA as Botox is to a dentist. While a dentist can perform surgery, do you really want them handling your cosmetic surgery? Probably not.”

Ads on TV claim my tax issues can be resolved for pennies on the dollar, how can this be true?

These commercials are everywhere and they are completely false. No one ever settles their issues for pennies on the dollar. However, there are processes in place to settle debts with the IRS and other Government agencies. For instance, the State of Louisiana has “Tax Amnesty” periods where penalties are waived as long as the taxes are paid. A Certified Public Accountant can help you identify the most appropriate path to resolve your tax issues.

I heard the Department of Labor has hired 10,000 new employees just to audit businesses? Why?

State and Local Governments are flat broke. When the government needs revenue, they get it from you. Government agencies on all levels are aggressively collecting taxes and fines they might have otherwise ignored in the past. For example the City of New Orleans is systematically reviewing all occupational licenses. You can manage your exposure by consulting a CPA to ensure you are compliant.

I’m told all good CPA’s have worked for one of the Big Four accounting firms, have you?

Bates Whiteside worked for Coopers & Lybrand which later became PWC (one the four largest firms in the world). He was also a Revenue Agent for the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Government, before deciding to open his own CPA firm.

Why did you leave one of the biggest accounting firms in the world?

During my experience at PWC, the brightest and best always left to work for themselves. Being one of 180,000 employees made it difficult to develop personal relationships with clients. I knew that in order to truly help others I needed to open my own firm. After X years, I have been able to work with smaller staff, which allows us to better serve our clients. Being able to get to know my clients, allows my staff and I to tailor our services to best fit each individual client’s needs.

What is the biggest problem you see facing businesses today?

Lack of organization. This is why 70% of small businesses fail and is another reason it is important for businesses to consult a trusted CPA.

Why does my CPA ask for so much personal information from me?

The lack of organization (link to above) within most businesses can lead to increased costs. The more information you give your CPA the better they can serve you. Incomplete or missing information can lead to missed deductions, thus increasing your expenses and lowering your tax savings.

I’ve paid my income taxes. What else do I have to worry about?

Everyone is painfully aware of their income taxes. But in business, there are many other taxes that can require more planning and ongoing monitoring such as sales taxes, personal property taxes, excise taxes, and occupational licenses. Sales tax is the number one source of revenue for Federal, State, and Local Government, while property, income, excise, and estate taxes round out the remaining top five.

Where do you do business?

Whiteside & Simms serves clients across the Gulf Coast region including the Greater New Orleans area, the north shore, and Mississippi. However, out of town clients/referrals are always welcome.

Can you perform a financial audit of my business?

No. We will ensure you are compliant with all necessary regulations within your industry and handle any tax issues you may have, but Whiteside & Simms does not perform attestations or audits of company finances.

Marriage has significant tax benefits. Is it important for my partner and I to get married to receive these benefits?

From a financial standpoint, yes. I strongly encourage partners to obtain marriage licenses from areas where it is acceptable. In regards to tax purposes, being married gives you and your partner financial security in the face of adverse circumstances.

Why do you find it important to pay attention to Disadvantage businesses?

Disadvantaged business owners have faced adversity throughout their careers. Despite once achieving their success, they are still often undeserved and in need of professionals to meet their needs. Whiteside & Simms takes great pride in serving disadvantages business through assistance such as completion of 8(a) certifications, which are especially designed to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. (link to SBA website for 8a)