You've read countless articles about how to make year-end tax decisions, and how to weigh whether you should invest in a capital purchase or not to save taxes, or whether you're still incurring expense that must be paid off.
But there's one area you haven't read much about. That's how to help your tax accountant get ready to prepare your tax information. If you start early, there may be ways an accountant can help to simplify the process and help you keep better records in the future.
The January issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer will contain three separate stories by Susan Hayhurst, a Terre Haute farm wife, featuring Becky Linville, an accountant in Terre Haute with 20 years of experience. She works with many farmers on their bookkeeping and tax records. The secret is not whether it's handwritten or on a computer, she says. Instead, it's whether the information is complete and compiled in a logical form.
You may be thinking January is too late because you have to make buying or selling decisions to affect your 2013 tax burden before January 1. The truth is that the focus of this series of articles is on how to get your records in order for the accountant once those decisions are made. The accountant may also be able to provide advice that may help you make smarter decisions in 2014 that will affect 2014 taxes.
After interviewing Linville, Hayhurst says she is surprised by the number of farmers, although a minority, that still bring their records in what's basically a shoebox and expect the accountant to sort it out. If that's happening on your farm, you're likely paying more taxes than you should, or leaving potential tax savings on the table, Hayhurst notes. Look for the series coming in the next issue, due out around Christmas.