With winter starting to come upon us, you're thinking about meeting with your tax accountant and putting your tax plan in place. Maybe you've worked with the same accountant for years – or maybe you've recently developed a new relationship.
Either way: Does your accountant reach out to you about kicking your tax plan into high gear – or do you feel like you always have to initiate the conversation with them? Many of the concerns I've heard from farmers about their current accountants revolve around communication.
One farmer said he couldn't stand the way that his accountant 'talked down' to him – as if there were no way he could understand tax concepts. Another farmer said that while his accountant communicates with him, he's always talking way over his head and can't seem to explain anything using plain terms.
A problem like this with your accountant is more than just a relationship problem. It could ultimately affect how your tax plan is developed and carried out. More than one farmer has told us that his accountant filed an extension on his taxes that year, but the farmer wasn't sure why the accountant had done that – or if it was even necessary.
They've also told us about times when the accountant recommended filing an extension, but then couldn't seem to explain the pros and cons of doing so. Isn't that what you're paying them for – their expertise? You're missing out if you're not getting that right now.
Your farm's taxes are an important part of your overall business, so it's crucial that you work with a proactive communicator – who explains the benefits and disadvantages of tax areas you have questions about and informs you of important tax news that affects your business.
You know they'll return your call within a reasonable time period. You're confident that they have the expertise to guide you through your questions in terms that don't demean you or go way over your head. They've explained the benefits of proactive tax planning to you – and have promised to guide you through that process, step by step.
The relationship you have with your tax accountant is too important to leave to someone who isn't a proactive communicator. After all, you're their client, right? – not the other way around.
The way that your tax accountant works with you is important in getting the results that you want: an effective tax plan for your farm that's timely and accurate. If you're not experiencing that right now, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the relationship.