-Farmers and ranchers have some unique challenges when it comes to preparing and filing taxes. Working in synch with the seasons and the cycles of nature means there are not always the same opportunities to for business bookkeeping as other kinds of business. The Atascadero tax accountant from North County Tax & Accounting has released some important tips to help make bookkeeping and payroll tasks easier for farmers and ranchers.
Setting aside a few (or more) hours a week for record keeping isn’t always a possibility when its time to plant or harvest or livestock needs attention. The weather, unexpected injury to the prize bull or other animal, unplanned veterinary visits, crop loss, regional natural disasters, expensive farm equipment breaking down, a barn roof needing repair and unexpected reduction in crop prices are only a few of the events that take up time and impact income. Add in keeping on top of the tax laws for agricultural businesses and getting payroll out, and bookkeeping becomes one more task that no one wants to do when the 18-hour day ends at midnight in the middle of a storm.
- The first step for simplifying bookkeeping and accounting is to set up separate bank accounts for business expenses and personal expenses. Draw your own pay on a regular basis from the farm account and deposit it in the personal account. Get advice from an experienced accountant such as the Atascadero taxes expert about the best way to pay yourself. It’s important to keep business and personal expenses separate.
- Using a payroll service to pay employees can be one of the most cost-effective decisions a farmer makes. Everyone gets paid on time, and hours spent recording payroll records can be better used in other areas.
- Hire a professional accounting service. The chances are that most farmers or ranchers are already using an enrolled Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to complete and file the business taxes anyway. Talk to the accountant about the best way to keep track of income and expenses. It may be as simple as jotting a note on a receipt before turning it over to the accountant to record.
- Be organized. Easy to access, clearly labeled file folders for filing receipts and bills is one of the best ways to be organized. To reduce overwhelming clutter, include a file folder labeled “TO FILE” for those times the day has been too long to get to the paperwork.
- Use accounting software such as QuickBooks®. The Atascadero tax accountants offer QuickBooks services, cloud accounting and payroll management making the bookkeeping tasks easier and accurate.
California and federal tax laws offer benefits unique to agricultural businesses. It’s important to get knowledgeable tax advice and accounting services from someone who understands the special circumstances of running a farm or ranch. Even though local farm Bureaus and agricultural organizations keep their membership informed of changes to tax laws, who has time thoroughly read and understand the implications of those changes? Relying a trustworthy expert is one more step to some peace of mind and success.
Robert S. Borish, the principal CPA at Atascadero Tax & Accounting, has over 30 years of accounting and tax experience and has been operating his own accounting firm for more than 20 years. Atascadero Tax & Accounting assists clients with banking and financing relationships, tax planning, payroll and tax preparation. Financial services include tax planning, estate planning, retirement planning, investments, life insurance and more.
“Our clients are our most important asset,” said Borish. “We work to understand every client’s financial situation. Our specialized staff provides the highest quality information and services. We make sure every client is served by the expertise of the whole firm.”