Taxes are frustrating and stressful! Many real estate agents work with CPAs to handle their taxes for them rather than use online filing systems. The reason many agents do this is because they don’t have their finances organized in a way that makes them easy to file so they look to a CPA to help them get organized. The problem with this is real estate agents are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more on average for a CPA than they really should be. Let us explain…
CPAs filing taxes for real estate agents need a few things, they need to know an agent’s income, expenses, and profit. They also need to know what types of expenses you have so they can deduct the business transactions from your taxes. So for this they need an itemized list of your expenses. In an ideal world, CPAs receive the following from an agent:
- Profit and Loss Statement (P&L)
- Itemized list of expenses with labeled categories
- Tax profile
Profit and Loss Statement
In order to get a clear picture of how much taxable income you have, CPAs need to have an updated P&L with reconciled transactions meaning you’ve confirmed each transaction and its category. Your P&L will break down how much money you brought in, how much you spent on expenses, and how much profit you took home. The only way to generate an accurate P&L is to use your bank transactions and its best to keep that P&L up to date throughout the year so it remains accurate come tax season. If you do not have an accurate P&L or you don’t have one at all, you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table in the form of tax deductions or extra time CPAs bill you for having to generate one themselves.
You should really have a P&L for your own sake at the end of the day. It is the only way to understand your financial health.
CPAs need to know what your expenses are. They need this data so they can get a full picture of your P&L but they also need it for calculating your business deductions. If you do not take the time to generate this list, you will either miss out on thousands of dollars in deductions or you will waste hundreds of dollars paying a CPA to go through all your transactions manually to find your expenses and categorize them. In an ideal scenario, you should hand your CPA a list of all your expenses and have them categorized for them.
It is also super helpful for you to know where your money is going so you can budget and plan better. Most real estate agents leave the business because they don’t have their finances in a place they can actually plan a sustainable career.
This is the easiest part. This simply consists of your filing status (married or single,) your location, business entity type, and other simple demographic information.
If you can hand your CPA a summarized report of the three things above, you will save hundreds of dollars on your taxes. The best way to do this is to use financial software like quickbooks or Symba. The cool thing about Symba is that it is built specifically with real estate agents in mind. We actually do all the work above for you throughout the year and all you have to do is hit a button to export the summary to a CPA. In other words, Symba will save you hundreds of dollars on your taxes and even thousands when you take into account the business deductions we automatically track for you! Give it a try!