Tax Season is Approaching – Advantages of a CFP/CPA in Sonoma County
This tax season may be “one of the most confusing and frustrating in decades.” So make sure you’re working with a team you can trust. The team at Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management hears your concerns and will tend to your needs with understanding. Sonoma County wealth advisors are helping people wrap their minds around new tax codes while forging ahead in 2022.
For the 2021 tax year, the IRS expects over 160 million individual tax returns, even though it still has millions of unprocessed forms from the fiscal year 2020. From legacy tax and financial planning to next-generation wealth planning, the years ahead could become even more complicated for taxpayers.
Getting answers to simple questions should not be a huge hassle. That’s why with budget cuts and staff shortages, people are turning to a financial advisor in Santa Rosa CA to offer credible investment advice. In the fiscal year 2021, 89% of calls to the IRS went unanswered – that’s about 250 million callers with questions that never received the needed help!
Got questions about the current tax season? Investment advisor Santa Rosa-focused – Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management – provides comprehensive financial planning and tax planning guidance.
To minimize your tax liability, ensure you’re filing correctly, and simplify your life this tax season, you need an expert at your side. But in the alphabet soup of financial certifications, it can be tricky to figure out precisely what kind of financial professional you need for your situation.
Two acronyms often thrown around during tax season are CFP and CPA. Both represent financial advisors who can help you with wealth management and financial planning – but they have different focus areas, service offerings, and legal requirements.
CFP® vs. CPA: What’s the difference?
A CFP is a Certified Financial Planner who’s met the rigorous requirements and ethical standards set by the CFP Board. In addition to education and training requirements, hopeful CFPs also have to log 6,000 hours of experience with financial planning, including 4,000 hours as an apprentice, and pass a six-hour exam. While the program is rigorous, the essential qualification is their position as a fiduciary, which comes with a duty of care and responsibility of loyalty to their clients. Check out the CFP Board’s rigorous requirements.
A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant licensed to help businesses and individuals prepare their taxes, prepare for audits, maintain their books and financial statements, and generally consult on tax planning and preparation. In California, becoming a CPA requires 150 semester hours, logging at least 12 months of general accounting experience, and passing an ethics exam. Check out the California CPA Requirements.
Which one do you need?
A CFP helps with tax and financial planning. This requires helping you make smart investments based on your financial goals – including making the best possible tax decisions throughout the fiscal year.
A CPA helps explicitly with bookkeeping and accounting – including tax planning and preparation during the annual tax season.
While having one or the other would be very helpful in navigating the 2021 tax season, working with a firm or professional who does both is your best bet not just to survive but thrive in 2022 and the years ahead.
Personal Knowledge of Your Tax Situation
Working with an accountant once a year to file your taxes is a smart way to ensure you’re minimizing your tax liability. But if your accountant isn’t also working with your financial planner, then you could be leaving money on the table.
Your financial planner has personal knowledge of the bigger financial picture that makes up your unique tax situation, including ongoing monitoring of your financial plan to ensure you meet your goals. And they can work with you throughout the year to create a savings and investment strategy that minimizes your tax liability and matches your financial goals.
This means you could have more money to put toward your savings and investment strategies, including your Sonoma County retirement plan.
With insider knowledge from your financial planner, your accountant has a complete picture of your financial situation – from where you’ve made gains to where you’ve reinvested and everything in between. They’ll also know what to expect in the years ahead, which is especially important for clients nearing retirement as expenses and income will likely change.
When you work with a single professional or firm with both a CFP and CPA, you get the best of both worlds. Your accountant can even help you find unique ways to maximize your investments to limit tax liability. You not only get the tax expertise of an accountant for the coming tax season, but you can make tax planning decisions year-round that support your financial goals and minimize your tax liability – all in one integrated financial strategy.
Higher Value Services
To put it simply, hiring a CPA and CFP separately can be more expensive because you’re paying two different people or firms. If you work with a fee-only advising firm with both credentials (and both service offerings), you can cut down significantly on cost – leaving you more money for your investment and saving strategies.
Fee-only CFPs, such as Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, charge an hourly rate for advisory services, whether they’re doing financial planning or accounting work. And since CFPs have a fiduciary responsibility and legal duty to act in your best interests, you can feel confident that your finances, including tax preparation and planning, are in the safest possible hands.
By consolidating your finances with an integrated CFP/CFA professional or firm, you streamline the burden on yourself when tax season combines with a busy season at the office. Instead of spending hours tracking down statements and receipts, navigating spreadsheets, and spending hours on hold, schedule a call with your integrated financial advisory firm and talk through your options.
With centralized documentation, the bulk of your work is already done automatically. And since you’ve worked throughout the year on your tax planning to make a wise investment and financial decisions, you’ll likely already know your expected tax balance.
At this point, all you’ll have left to do is:
- Review your documentation and plan with your advisor
- Follow the tax plan you set in place at the beginning of the tax year
Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, Santa Rosa, CA-based, helps families live confidently. You don’t have to feel lost with your taxes or finances ever again!
How to Get Started
If you’re not already working with a financial planner or accountant, getting started can feel intimidating – especially if you’re beginning during tax season. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered!
Montgomery Taylor has worked with clients in nearly every imaginable tax situation and onboarded clients year-round, even at the peak of tax season. The best thing you can do to ensure you have a healthy 2021 tax return is to get started immediately.
At Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, we understand the challenges of retirement planning and can help put together a plan to protect your family’s legacy. Contact us to find out how we can help you!