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December 18, 2023 | read

Can We “Just File a Tax Return?”

Thomas Castelli

The Real Estate CPA has been providing accounting and tax services for real estate investors for years now. And we’ve learned a few things along the way about what investors like you actually need. 

Let’s start with some context:

There are these firms we refer to as “tax return mills.” You’ve probably heard of them and they’re just what they sound like: accounting firms that churn out thousands of tax returns every tax season. You can hire them just for that. They know nothing about your situation, but you hand over all of the paperwork and details, and bam, your taxes are filed. You get a little peace of mind knowing that task is checked off, but as a real estate investor, you are probably left with loads of questions. And the tax mill accountant isn’t going to answer your questions, because they were hired to file a tax return, and they completed that job. Task done, file closed, see ya next year.

That meets a very limited need for any type of real estate investor, and we think it is wildly insufficient to help you out, so if you’re wondering if The Real Estate CPA  can “just file a tax return,” we’ll say straight out: for your sake, we don’t do that.

Here’s what we offer instead.

More Than a Tax Return: Advisory-First Tax Services

We see ourselves as more than tax preparers; we provide advisory-first tax services. Tax preparation is part of it, but advisory is the core service. Our clients strongly value this relationship and we have the feedback to show that it provides an overall better client experience and overall better results.

Tax Planning Services

Clients coming out of our tax planning services have a better understanding of their tax situation and what they have to do in terms of taxes – taxes are no longer a mystery for them. This is inherently valuable, but it’s also an opportunity-finding mission. We can work with you to identify the opportunities you have for minimizing your taxes, then put a plan in place for making that happen. 

Learn more about proactive tax planning with The Real Estate CPA

Accounting Services

Another way in which you can get assistance with your taxes through The Real Estate CPA is by hiring us for accounting services. Through this service, we can exercise a high degree of quality control through year-round accounting support.

Instead of just handing a nameless faceless CPA your tax docs, you are working with a trusted partner all year, which makes the actual filing of tax returns way less painful. Our team is going to already know the ins and outs of your business, which means they’ve helped you make the right decisions all year, and tax time is just an extension of that best practice.

The Real Risks (You’re Probably Overpaying on Taxes)

The biggest risk of having a CPA who just files taxes (and that’s all they do) is that you could be overpaying. If you don’t have the right strategies and take the right actions, you may not be making any wrong decisions, but you’re not making the best decisions.

Now, we say may not be, but that doesn’t mean categorically you’re in the clear. If you only see a CPA once a year at tax time, their lack of knowledge about your situation could in fact lead to errors. It’s possible. This could put you at risk of paying significant back taxes and penalties if you were audited.

So, you could be leaving money on the table or having things done wrong. Both of these cost you real dollars, and that loss only gets worse as you grow your real estate investment business.

Enlist an Advisor to Level-Up Your Tax Planning

An advisory-first model, or year-round accounting services, has become our go-to approach because we’ve watched it work time and time again. We don’t just file tax returns because whether you’re just starting out in real estate investing, or have multiple properties and diverse holdings, we take this seriously and our clients do too. These are real stakes, and the tax code is full of ways to save you money, but you need an accountant who knows that and who knows you to maximize savings.

As specialized real estate CPAs, we are committed to helping clients in this industry grow. We know that you only save money on taxes and make the best strategic decisions when you get personalized advice.

So, rather than just taking the profit by filing tons of tax returns, we take our time. We do it right. And you can hire us to be on your side.

Get a dedicated accountant for tax planning.

Your accountant will come to fully understand your situation and provide a tax strategy blueprint for meeting your goals. 

Ready to get a CPA that does more than file a tax return? 

Connect with us here, and check out all sorts of resources on Tax Smart Investors™.