Short North CPA Educating Entrepreneurs About Taxes

“Tax” is dreaded and unwelcome word for most, but not for Doug Smith. The certified public accountant, certified internal auditor and certified fraud examiner is the one-man operation that is the Short North CPA. Smith not only wants to do your taxes, but he’s striving to share his knowledge to develop smart business owners that are tax-savvy.

The Classes

Branching out on his own after years in corporate environments, Smith started searching for resources to help him get started. He found ECDI and the S.E.E.D. entrepreneurship course.

“It’s basically like a one-stop shop for business planning, learning about the finances, marketing, building the team,” Smith says. He describes it as a great option for people that have a unique skill but don’t have a business background.

Smith found being around a group of individuals going through the same fears and growing pains of starting a business to be immensely helpful, even nicknaming the group “entrepreneurs anonymous.” He greatly credits the curriculum and the staff as well, but having a group of people with which to share ideas and the experience was one of the most helpful aspects. It also helped to build the all-important resources awareness.

“Columbus has done a great job giving a lot of tools, a lot or resources [to entrepreneurs],” Smith says.

The classes not only helped Smith develop his business plan, but he was able to make connections and find clients. Now he’s even offering his own workshop at ECDI (more on that later).

The Services

As the Short North CPA, Smith is focused on offering education and tax resources to entrepreneurs with a sweet spot for freelancers.

When Smith does a freelancer’s taxes, he doesn’t just do their taxes – he wants the individual to understand the process and what the numbers mean.

“The cool thing about a lot of Columbus entrepreneurs is they want to learn,” Smith says. For those that do want to learn, it’s a full scale attack in understanding the numbers like the expenses a business incurs, how to budget and plan ahead, and what all those taxes actually mean. If they would rather not – that’s ok too. Smith offers a suite of tax and bookkeeping services.

The Advice

Smith offers three tax-saving tips for small business owners and entrepreneurs as they wrap up the year.

Treat Yo’ Self with Section 179

a. Equipment can be deducted if purchased this year – that includes computers, photography stuff, printers, other business equipment, etc.
b. Currently you can expense up to $25,000 in FY14. In FY13 the limit was $200,000.

Don’t forget your 1099’s

a. If you earn more than $600, you should receive a 1099 misc from the payer/employer.
b. If you pay someone more than $600 for work, you must prepare and send a 1099 misc.

Review Your Expenses Now!

a. Clean up and categorize you business expenses, offers free online bookkeeping and invoicing.
b. Highlight any expense you are not sure are deductible.

12 Days of (ta)X-Mas

This Friday, Dec. 19, Smith will hold a learning workshop at ECDI that will cover small business tax basics. Who needs to pay taxes? When are the important tax dates?  What expenses can I deduct? Where can I go for tax help? Smith will answer these questions and more, and offer his own tax advice, during the hour-long workshop. Click here for more information.

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