Taxes

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masonstone
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Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am

So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?

trueblueky
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Re: Taxes

Post by trueblueky » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:25 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
What are the sources of income? Self-employed, salary, qualified dividends and long-term capital gains, qualified business income, Social Security all have different effective tax rates.

Are you including state income tax? Which state?

We need much more detail to answer the question.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:29 am

Most of the income is self employed but a minor portion is salary. This is just the federal taxes owed and not the state taxes.

Gill
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Re: Taxes

Post by Gill » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:33 am

What makes you feel you’re paying too much in taxes? We all feel that way. Give us a breakdown of you income and deductions and maybe we can help.
Gill
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runner540
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Re: Taxes

Post by runner540 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:37 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:29 am
Most of the income is self employed but a minor portion is salary. This is just the federal taxes owed and not the state taxes.
If you are MFJ and it's all income, it's below what I would have expected (deductions?): https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/f ... -brackets/

37% x the amount over $500k + $150k = $446k
If you are making that kind of income, you really need to understand the tax system.

dbr
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Re: Taxes

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:46 am

Of course you should consult a good tax accountant because who knows if you are paying more than you need to in taxes. The numbers you quote could be right, could mean you might pay less, and might even mean you have made a mistake in your tax filing and should be paying more. A feeling does not mean anything. As a ballpark, that number is not obviously wrong.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:48 am

Gill wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:33 am
What makes you feel you’re paying too much in taxes? We all feel that way. Give us a breakdown of you income and deductions and maybe we can help.
Gill
30% gross tax rate seems a bit high as compared to what my peers (who make similar incomes) are paying. The main deductions are the SEP-IRAs (110K) and 10K in home taxes per year.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:49 am

dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:46 am
Of course you should consult a good tax accountant because who knows if you are paying more than you need to in taxes. The numbers you quote could be right, could mean you might pay less, and might even mean you have made a mistake in your tax filing and should be paying more. A feeling does not mean anything. As a ballpark, that number is not obviously wrong.
I do have an accountant and I assume he's good but my question is if I should get a second opinion from a second accountant.
Last edited by masonstone on Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Stinky
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Re: Taxes

Post by Stinky » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:50 am

Did you earn roughly the same income in 2018 as in 2017?

If so, your taxes should be roughly the same. May be less as a percentage of income, due to 2017 tax bill. But not all taxpayers got a cut in taxes for 2018, especially those in high local tax areas.

By all means, get a second opinion. But be prepared for hearing that your tax returns are correct.
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Stormbringer
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Re: Taxes

Post by Stormbringer » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:51 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
That isn't enough information to make a useful analysis. We would need to more about how the income is structured and what sort of deductions you take. Also, is that tax bill federal only? Or does it include state and self-employment taxes?
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:54 am

Stormbringer wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:51 am
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
That isn't enough information to make a useful analysis. We would need to more about how the income is structured and what sort of deductions you take. Also, is that tax bill federal only? Or does it include state and self-employment taxes?
This is federal plus FICA taxes. No state income is included.

dbr
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Re: Taxes

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:54 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:49 am
dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:46 am
Of course you should consult a good tax accountant because who knows if you are paying more than you need to in taxes. The numbers you quote could be right, could mean you might pay less, and might even mean you have made a mistake in your tax filing and should be paying more. A feeling does not mean anything. As a ballpark, that number is not obviously wrong.
I do have an accountant and I assume he's good but I wonder if I should get a second opinion from a second accountant.
Why not? Accountants can make mistakes or overlook something or base something they have done on a legal accounting opinion that is up to interpretation. But so far you don't seem to have anything specific to question. If your feeling is based on comparison to tax returns of other people that could be tested by laying a couple or three of them out side by side to see how they got to the tax costs that are less than yours and by how much.

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Re: Taxes

Post by Stormbringer » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:09 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:54 am
This is federal plus FICA taxes. No state income is included.
My back of the envelope math suggests that your accountant is not taking advantage of the Qualified Business Income (QBI) deduction for your non-salary income. If, say, a million of that could be characterized as QBI then you would shave about $70K off your tax bill.
"Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe." - Albert Einstein

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Re: Taxes

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:42 am

runner540 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:37 am
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:29 am
Most of the income is self employed but a minor portion is salary. This is just the federal taxes owed and not the state taxes.
If you are MFJ and it's all income, it's below what I would have expected (deductions?): https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/f ... -brackets/

37% x the amount over $500k + $150k = $446k
If you are making that kind of income, you really need to understand the tax system.
the thing I don't like about that nerdwallet link is (and I know this is obvious to many, but not all) they don't mention that the tax brackets are AFTER the standard deduction. So if you look at the brackets nerdwallet provides it makes it seem like any income you have is taxable, rather than the income ABOVE the standard deduction.

So for instance if you read nerdwallet's site literally a single person with income of $38,700 for 2018 would pay $952.50 plus 12% of the amount over 9525 but up to $38,700. So $38,700 - $9525 = $29,175. 12% of $29,175 is $3501. They say add $952.50 to this, which would be $4453 in taxes. But you can have $50,700 and only pay $4453 because the $12,000 standard deduction reduces the $50,700 total income to $38,700 adjusted gross income subject to tax. Don't take my word for it. Run the numbers here: http://taxplancalculator.com/calc

Using that calculator you see the $4453 is based on income of $50,700. Using $38,700 as nerd wallet suggest the tax bill is $3014. Why? Because the first $12,000 of $38,700 is not taxable and the rest $26,700 is. The amount above $9525 is taxed at 12% so $26,700 - $9525 = $17,175. $17,175 X .12 = $2061. This plus $952.50 is $3013.50.

I don't see anywhere on the nerdwallet site where they explain that. So someone trying to figure their tax using the brackets can add $12,000 (2018) for single or $24,000 (2018) for MFJ to the top end of the brackets provided.

Another way of saying it is even though the OP might pay $446k on $1.3 mil, s/he can earn another $24,000 above that that's not taxed at all (if MFJ, or the first $24,000 they earn is tax free and only the amount above that is subject to tax if MFJ).
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dbr
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Re: Taxes

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:48 am

Another second opinion is to prepare your own taxes using an application such as TurboTax, go through the interview items, and see how it comes out.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am

dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:48 am
Another second opinion is to prepare your own taxes using an application such as TurboTax, go through the interview items, and see how it comes out.
I wanted to see if there are ways to deduct taxable income outside of routine tax deductions that might be available to higher income individuals.

spectec
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Re: Taxes

Post by spectec » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:03 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:49 am
dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:46 am
Of course you should consult a good tax accountant because who knows if you are paying more than you need to in taxes. The numbers you quote could be right, could mean you might pay less, and might even mean you have made a mistake in your tax filing and should be paying more. A feeling does not mean anything. As a ballpark, that number is not obviously wrong.
I do have an accountant and I assume he's good but my question is if I should get a second opinion from a second accountant.
I'm an accountant, and I can say with absolute certainty that if my income were above a certain level I'd engage at least two separate tax preparers to prepare my return (or else learn enough about Turbo Tax to do my own preparation and see if the two results are similar). The cost of the second return is insignificant in light of the amount of tax involved. I'd also make sure that at least one of the tax preparers is an Enrolled Agent.
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Re: Taxes

Post by The Wizard » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:09 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am
dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:48 am
Another second opinion is to prepare your own taxes using an application such as TurboTax, go through the interview items, and see how it comes out.
I wanted to see if there are ways to deduct taxable income outside of routine tax deductions that might be available to higher income individuals.
Since you're self employed, you can deduct "expenses".
But you already know that, I assume...
Attempted new signature...

runner540
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Re: Taxes

Post by runner540 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:14 am

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:42 am
runner540 wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:37 am
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:29 am
Most of the income is self employed but a minor portion is salary. This is just the federal taxes owed and not the state taxes.
If you are MFJ and it's all income, it's below what I would have expected (deductions?): https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/f ... -brackets/

37% x the amount over $500k + $150k = $446k
If you are making that kind of income, you really need to understand the tax system.
the thing I don't like about that nerdwallet link is (and I know this is obvious to many, but not all) they don't mention that the tax brackets are AFTER the standard deduction. So if you look at the brackets nerdwallet provides it makes it seem like any income you have is taxable, rather than the income ABOVE the standard deduction.

So for instance if you read nerdwallet's site literally a single person with income of $38,700 for 2018 would pay $952.50 plus 12% of the amount over 9525 but up to $38,700. So $38,700 - $9525 = $29,175. 12% of $29,175 is $3501. They say add $952.50 to this, which would be $4453 in taxes. But you can have $50,700 and only pay $4453 because the $12,000 standard deduction reduces the $50,700 total income to $38,700 adjusted gross income subject to tax. Don't take my word for it. Run the numbers here: http://taxplancalculator.com/calc

Using that calculator you see the $4453 is based on income of $50,700. Using $38,700 as nerd wallet suggest the tax bill is $3014. Why? Because the first $12,000 of $38,700 is not taxable and the rest $26,700 is. The amount above $9525 is taxed at 12% so $26,700 - $9525 = $17,175. $17,175 X .12 = $2061. This plus $952.50 is $3013.50.

I don't see anywhere on the nerdwallet site where they explain that. So someone trying to figure their tax using the brackets can add $12,000 (2018) for single or $24,000 (2018) for MFJ to the top end of the brackets provided.

Another way of saying it is even though the OP might pay $446k on $1.3 mil, s/he can earn another $24,000 above that that's not taxed at all (if MFJ, or the first $24,000 they earn is tax free and only the amount above that is subject to tax if MFJ).
Right, but $24k on an income of $1.3MM is negligible in whether $400k of taxes is the right ballpark. For $130k income, it makes a material difference.

prd1982
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Re: Taxes

Post by prd1982 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:24 am

I would vote for getting a 2nd accountant to review your taxes. Without having your financial details, which I would NOT put on any forum, no one will be able to tell you if you paid the correct amount. So pay to have a second review for piece of mind, if nothing else. A second question will be if there are changes you should make to reduce your taxes while keeping your income. Not sure if the account can help with that.

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Re: Taxes

Post by livesoft » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:43 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:48 am
30% gross tax rate seems a bit high as compared to what my peers (who make similar incomes) are paying. The main deductions are the SEP-IRAs (110K) and 10K in home taxes per year.
So get one or two of your peers' tax preparers to look at your situation. If they save you $10K, then you can afford to pay them $5K, right?

Also note that "income" can mean many things. As I noted in the Adjusted Livesoft Income threads, we get quite a lot of our income tax-free, but since it never shows up on Form 1040, we feel we pay a lot of taxes anyways.
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dbr
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Re: Taxes

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:48 am

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am
dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:48 am
Another second opinion is to prepare your own taxes using an application such as TurboTax, go through the interview items, and see how it comes out.
I wanted to see if there are ways to deduct taxable income outside of routine tax deductions that might be available to higher income individuals.
What did your accountant say in answer to that question? That's what you are paying him for. But that doesn't change the advice to ask a second expert.

Gill
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Re: Taxes

Post by Gill » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:54 am

Unfortunately, the bias of the tax law is to deny deductions to higher income individuals rather than grant them deductions not available to others.
Gill
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NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Taxes

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:01 am

People lie about their income, taxes, and investment performance all the time. Or maybe they really don't know the right data so they make stuff up. I wouldn't take casual comments from friends and colleagues too seriously. But if you know who does their taxes, as mentioned above, it could be useful to get a second opinion.

Some tax preparers just tell you what you owe based on the data you give them, if you can find one that can suggest things to you that would reduce your taxes that would be extremely useful.

One thought that comes to mind is charitable contributions.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:14 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:01 am
People lie about their income, taxes, and investment performance all the time. Or maybe they really don't know the right data so they make stuff up. I wouldn't take casual comments from friends and colleagues too seriously. But if you know who does their taxes, as mentioned above, it could be useful to get a second opinion.

Some tax preparers just tell you what you owe based on the data you give them, if you can find one that can suggest things to you that would reduce your taxes that would be extremely useful.

One thought that comes to mind is charitable contributions.
I was hoping to find ways that doesn’t involve me spending money :D

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Taxes

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:16 am

I get TurboTax. It’s pretty inexpensive.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:40 pm

I was more inquiring about getting a second opinion to see if there are ideas to reduce taxes as opposed to simple mathematical errors.

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Re: Taxes

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:50 pm

If I made $1.3 million and paid $400k in taxes, I wouldn't be asking a forum. I would make my accountant explain everything in detail and I would pay someone to review his work.
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Re: Taxes

Post by bhsince87 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:07 pm

Ballpark number sounds about right.

You're paying around an extra 12% up to $128k, so your rate is maybe 25-35% there. Then it dips a little. Then goes back to 35-37% for a large portion of your income.
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Re: Taxes

Post by drk » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:26 pm

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
What did your accountant say when you expressed your concerns about missing deductions?

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Re: Taxes

Post by drk » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:27 pm

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:14 am
I was hoping to find ways that doesn’t involve me spending money :D
In terms of money, the cheapest way is to learn how your taxes work. If you're making that much money, though, there's no sense spending that much time to save a few bucks.

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Re: Taxes

Post by abuss368 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:36 pm

Not sure a helpful or productive answer is possible based on the very limited information provided.
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Re: Taxes

Post by TigerNest » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:43 pm

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Re: Taxes

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:43 pm

[Off-topic comment removed by moderator oldcomputerguy]
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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:57 pm

drk wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:26 pm
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
What did your accountant say when you expressed your concerns about missing deductions?
He said I need to have more business expenses to reduce my taxes. But that’s spending a dollar to save 40 cents.

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dodecahedron
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Re: Taxes

Post by dodecahedron » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:03 pm

spectec wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:03 am
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:49 am
I do have an accountant and I assume he's good but my question is if I should get a second opinion from a second accountant.
I'm an accountant, and I can say with absolute certainty that if my income were above a certain level I'd engage at least two separate tax preparers to prepare my return (or else learn enough about Turbo Tax to do my own preparation and see if the two results are similar). The cost of the second return is insignificant in light of the amount of tax involved. I'd also make sure that at least one of the tax preparers is an Enrolled Agent.
I agree with spectec. Get a second opinion.

Does anyone else remember that a while back Money Magazine would annually submit a hypothetical taxpayer scenario to 50 different tax professionals and wind up with a wide range of answers as to tax liability. One year the magazine claimed that none of the 50 tax pros (most of whom were CPAs with a good number of EAs as well) got what the magazine had predetermined was the ¨correct¨ answer for the scenario.

(Unfortunately the link I posted doesn´t have the best formatting but it is quite a blast from the past. Tax rates were much higher then.)

Edited to add: here is an 11 year summary of the range of discrepancy in tax pro responses to the scenarios.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dbr
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Re: Taxes

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:06 pm

masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:57 pm
drk wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:26 pm
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
What did your accountant say when you expressed your concerns about missing deductions?
He said I need to have more business expenses to reduce my taxes. But that’s spending a dollar to save 40 cents.
It also means he is not unaware of the issue and has some competent information about it.

But get the second analysis. I would, by the way, not call these things opinion.

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masonstone
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Re: Taxes

Post by masonstone » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:33 pm

dbr wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:06 pm
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:57 pm
drk wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:26 pm
masonstone wrote:
Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:19 am
So I paid about 400K in taxes in 2018 off of an income of about $1.3 million. I feel like I'm paying too much taxes; should I seek the second opinion of another accountant or the ballpark numbers look correct?
What did your accountant say when you expressed your concerns about missing deductions?
He said I need to have more business expenses to reduce my taxes. But that’s spending a dollar to save 40 cents.
It also means he is not unaware of the issue and has some competent information about it.

But get the second analysis. I would, by the way, not call these things opinion.
I didn’t mean this as an insult, it’s what we call it in the medical field.

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