Well, I was working with this Commercial Real Estate Agent and he was telling me that the biggest thing to invest in real estate right now is multi-family properties. Made sense to me. So many people have forclosed on their homes or are in the process of it, and so many more have short sold their homes over the last 3 or 4 years, most of them don’t have the credit to get a new mortgage and many are waiting out the market before they would want to buy again anyway. This leaves many people in need of rental homes. Either way, owning an apartment building if you buy when the market is down, seems to make sense to me. I know someone who owns a huge apartment building downtown and a few others and that investment is part of what has made it so that they don’t need to work anymore. Nice concept right? So, I know I am not an investment broker but it makes sense to me. Thought I’d share. http://shaunfabos.com/?page_id=357
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So far this is what I’ve gathered. A CPA is certified to keep the accounts of and file returns for a publicly traded company. That’s the main difference. Because they have this extra level of being certified they charge a lot more, and they know more, especially about publicly traded companies and large corporations. CPA’s are liable for the tax filing errors they make, if they make them. CPA’s average rate is about $350 an hour from what I’ve seen but I should do more shopping around for a better comparison. You have to provide them with all of your bookkeeping for the year. Or you would have to hire their firm to keep your books which is not usually affordable for one man band or small mom and pop shops, but it can be.
A Tax Preparer is someone who hopefully knows a lot about taxes and can prepare and file your taxes for you. When it comes to hiring one of these guys you just need to make sure you get a really good referral and check into them enough that you feel comfortable. They too have to sign the return and they too are liable for mistakes made on your return if they make any. These guys are usually less than CPA’s but it may cost you about $1000 to $1500 to file you Federal & State Corporate and Individual returns per year. And you have to provide them with all of your bookkeeping for the year.
Self Prepared with Consult – You can also pay someone to help explain how to prepare your own taxes and use Turbo Tax or similar program. I recommend Turbo Tax.
Or you can just use Turbo Tax etc and prepare it your self and send it in. If you are an employee then it is probably the simplest kind of tax return and you can most likely navigate Turbo Tax without a hitch. If you have some special situation then you can call someone for advise, but most employed people (W2) have pretty straight forward tax returns.
Saving those receipts can be pesky. They get crumpled up in your pocket, thrown out with the trash or stuffed under who knows what. You need to keep them all. Yes, ALL of them. But WHY?
Well, luckily many of us have not had to feel the sting of an audit from the IRS or Franchise Tax Board. Those who have, you may find dilligently keep their receipts. But even for those who have not, be aware that you could be missing literally thousands of dollars in deductions. If you are an independant contractor, commonly referred to as a 1099 (IRS form) then you probably already know a lot of the areas of your spending that you can get a deduction on. But you also probably don’t know them all, and aren’t tracking everything that you could. Some might say, “It’s not worth it, I’ll just forgoe the refund money, or pay the tax.” but it’s really not that hard once you have a system.
The best system we’ve seen so far is to have a place you always put your receipts and put them there every day, when you get home. This has been successfully done with envelopes, the big manilla ones for shipping . You can tape it to your wall, your door, or put it in a drawer (if you really think you will open the drawer every day) then just start sticking them in there every day. Cash receipts, credit card receipts.
Not only is this very helpful in getting the best deductions on your taxes, it can also catch bank errors, or be a lifesaver if you ever need to return anything and can’t find the receipt.