I am seeking a CPA for tax planning, advice and preparation. We started investing in late 2015 and currently have one SFH under our LLC. We invest in the Saint Louis area and our LLC is formed in Delaware. We live in Australia. Would it be advisable to seek a CPA in Delaware or Saint Louis, does it matter? Also, what is the average hourly rate of a CPA? Just a ball park figure would be great. If anyone can recommend a CPA that is investor friendly, that would be great.
Thank you all in advance!
@Jacinta Boys it doesn't matter where your CPA is located. We can practice anywhere as long as we aren't performing attest engagements (audits). It comes down to personal preference as to whether you want someone local or not, but just remember you want that tailored, expert advice which may not come from the local guy.
Hourly rates will vary greatly. You can expect to pay between $150 and $400. But some CPAs, like myself, avoid billing by the hour when possible. We prefer to utilize value billing which places the emphasis on the client and the value they are receiving rather than my personal costs which is what hourly billing is focused on.
I'm rather new to this myself...so please take this answer with a grain of salt and consider other's responses with equal or greater weight.
It is not uncommon for companies in the US to form their LLC's in Delaware for asset protection. It will be far more likely that you will be able to find a CPA in the Saint Louis area who knows the tax laws of Delaware, than it is that you will find a CPA in Delaware who knows Missouri tax law. You don't necessarily need a CPA in Saint Louis...and assuming your property is on the Missouri side and not the Illinois side you could just go with any CPA in the stat of Missouri, a CPA that is not in the "big city" will be less expensive for you. However if you plan to own real estate in both Missouri and Illinois than having someone in Saint Louis may be better, as they're more likely to have knowledge of both states' tax laws.
Unfortunately I can't really help with a ballpark for pricing. Most CPAs that I've come across have different rates depending on what you're doing. If you want tax planning and strategy the hour rate will be higher than simply preparing and filing the mandatory annual tax forms. Also the CPA I spoke with I wasn't pleased with their knowledge for the rate I was being billed...so I'm shopping for a new CPA myself.
Here the main tax issue is usually federal, most states I believe don't have much in the way of additional tax laws, BUT I'M NOT AN ACCOUNTANT. So it usually doesn't matter.
@Brandon Hall has given a lot of useful advice on here. I can also recommend my own accountant if you'd like.
BUT, having only one property thus far I'd suggest you pick up Every Landlord's Tax Deduction Guide by Nolo. It is a bit expensive, $28 US, but it has paid for itself many times over for me.
BTW, I'm a huge ST Louis Cardinals (baseball) fan, and I'd love nothing better than justify seeing a game by going up there to view property, but I don't personally feel it is the best place to be investing.
Thanks so much for all your advice, really appreciate it.