Non-local CPA

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
knswamy
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:18 am

Non-local CPA

Post by knswamy »

I have always used a local accountant. However, in recent years, I never meet face to face with one - always choosing either a phone call or Zoom/Google Meet. Which brings up the question, why even bother with a local accountant? I've never been thrilled with any I have used, so why not open the pool nationally?

If you concur, do you have a good CPA you recommend?
jebmke
Posts: 14530
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by jebmke »

knswamy wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 12:51 pm I have always used a local accountant. However, in recent years, I never meet face to face with one - always choosing either a phone call or Zoom/Google Meet. Which brings up the question, why even bother with a local accountant? I've never been thrilled with any I have used, so why not open the pool nationally?

If you concur, do you have a good CPA you recommend?
If you live in a state with income tax, an accountant from outside the state will be less likely to be adequately trained on your state's income tax laws. A national firm like PWC might be an exception although even there - the person handling your federal return might refer it to another member of the practice.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
quietseas
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:43 pm

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by quietseas »

Even if you do have a state income tax, in most cases the return is data entry that flows from a federal return unless you have a very complex personal situation. OP, do you own a business including rental properties? Do you need a CPA or a tax preparer?
niceguy7376
Posts: 2961
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:59 pm
Location: Metro ATL

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by niceguy7376 »

Why does any individual need a CPA? Tax return filings?
Topic Author
knswamy
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:18 am

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by knswamy »

Oops, sorry I meant for a small business. We do not use a CPA for our personal returns. This year, we have two businesses, a working business and now a 2nd business that owns a office suite that the 1st business rents from.
fyre4ce
Posts: 1795
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:29 am

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by fyre4ce »

I lived for time in a tax-free state and kept using my old accountant from another state. It worked great with no problems.

If I lived in a state with state income tax, especially one with more complex rules like California, I would prefer an in-state accountant. Though if they lived in another city and I could only communicate virtually, I don't see why that would be a problem (beyond any particular baseline aversion for virtual communication you may have).

My preference for an in-state accountant would probably be stronger on a business return than a personal one, because the rules are more complex, less-well known, and the penalties for error tend to be higher.
Last edited by fyre4ce on Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
retire2022
Posts: 2434
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:10 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by retire2022 »

I use a local CPA who resides in my state, his knowledge and experience works for me and knows what the IRS looks for.

I am math challenged and use my CPA as a check against my numbers and documents collecting.

The fee is nominal for preparation of local returns, in my earlier investing career I had a K-1 and it was necessary to use CPA services to get through tax season.

Currently my CPA use Intuit pro version where I upload documents to cloud, which had transpired during the tax year.

90% of my taxes have completed and need my w-2 and 1099.
quietseas
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:43 pm

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by quietseas »

knswamy wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 1:32 pm Oops, sorry I meant for a small business. We do not use a CPA for our personal returns. This year, we have two businesses, a working business and now a 2nd business that owns a office suite that the 1st business rents from.
I'd err on the side of someone with experience in your state (esp if its a state like California or NY), but in 2022 you will find people who are familiar with Calif or NY taxes who do not currently live in those states. Another factor is whether they are doing mostly data entry into software or in addition giving you specific advice you use to make decisions for your businesses.
Topic Author
knswamy
Posts: 80
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:18 am

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by knswamy »

quietseas wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 7:24 pm I'd err on the side of someone with experience in your state (esp if its a state like California or NY), but in 2022 you will find people who are familiar with Calif or NY taxes who do not currently live in those states. Another factor is whether they are doing mostly data entry into software or in addition giving you specific advice you use to make decisions for your businesses.
I'm in a not-complex state (North Carolina). My current accountant just does data entry into software as I understand it. Part of my thinking in looking out of state is being to find a CPA who can provide more advice, and who is savvy with ideas like the self-directed 401k.
Cruise
Posts: 1767
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by Cruise »

We use an accountant for our personal returns. Our accountant moved to another state a few years ago, and still prepares our returns. With telephone, emails, and electronic drop boxes, we have not noticed any service decrement.
carolinaman
Posts: 4909
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by carolinaman »

I prefer someone local because if you ever need to meet in person, you can. Also, I would probably choose someone recommended by friends. A local CPA will more likely strive to satisfy you because unhappy clients can hurt his business.
secondcor521
Posts: 397
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:11 pm

Re: Non-local CPA

Post by secondcor521 »

If I had small business needs, I'd be even more inclined to go with someone who was familiar with my state's business tax requirements, which would usually mean an in-state person. Also, if I ever had to deal with a complex issue, I have a personal preference for sitting around a table with physical paper and pens - although I acknowledge that kind of stuff can also be done with Zoom and virtual whiteboards and document sharing.

For small business stuff, I'm thinking of things like sales tax remittances, state income tax withholding on payroll, etc.

I'd keep asking around. I think many CPAs would be willing to do a 10-15 meet and greet so you can see if they are able to meet your needs. I was fortunate to find a CPA locally who is a partner in the CPA firm who used to do my Dad's taxes, and he does the kinds of things you're talking about (advice, tax planning) and is knowledgeable. I currently do my own taxes and just use him as a resource for strategy and complicated questions.
Post Reply