Three Stupid Reasons Why You’re Paying Too Much in Taxes

Gene Marks

Every year you probably say that you’re paying too much in taxes. You’re probably correct. Some of this may be because of your tax bracket, your business structure or some other factor, but it may also be because of the mistakes you’re making. Here are three, big, stupid mistakes I see small business owners make all the time with their taxes.

Mistake #1: You have the wrong accountant.

A lousy accountant is one that appears to be working for the IRS – always saying no, always shaking his head, always sighing and muttering “you can’t do that.” A good accountant is working for you by making suggestions, offering options and working the law to your advantage. You want an accountant that’s smart and motivated to help you save your taxes. He should be calling you during the year and not just sitting down with you for one meeting when it’s tax time. He should be proactively thinking of ways to help you reduce what is the biggest expense in your business. If that’s not a description of your accountant then it may be time to find a new one.

Mistake #2: You don’t plan.

A smart accountant is a valuable advisor. So meet with her at least two to three times a year and not just a week before the end of the year. Things change all the time and you’ll need to keep your accountant up to date on everything that’s going on in your business and your personal life. A good accountant will be looking at your quarterly data and making adjustments to your estimated taxes, offering suggestions to reduce your current year’s tax liability and even warning you of potential liabilities that you may not see coming. She’ll be current on the latest regulations and be thinking of ways to help you keep your tax payments to a minimum. You, on the other hand, should be giving her plenty of time to think about this because you’re meeting with her well before her busy season begins.

Mistake #3: You don’t pay attention.

When it comes to boring stuff, reading about taxes is up there with C-SPAN documentaries. But think about this, you scour the web to save 5% on a new laptop.

Why not spend some time trying save on your own income?

The smartest clients I know pay attention to their taxes and have found legitimate ways to reduce taxable income. They read and even attend a seminar or two once every other year. They do this so when they meet with their accountant they have questions to ask and aren’t operating in the dark. They understand that every dollar saved is another dollar that can be put toward a family vacation, a home project or a case of premium craft brew.

It’s OK to be stupid when watching Jeopardy or making your little nephew laugh. But don’t be stupid about your taxes. Get a great overview on the best ways to save money on your taxes with this article from Small Biz Ahead.

Join writer and small business owner Gene Marks each Wednesday on the Small Biz Ahead podcast. You can also submit a question for Gene to answer on the podcast.

33 Responses to "Three Stupid Reasons Why You’re Paying Too Much in Taxes"
    • Terry Plante | January 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm

      Hi, I’m an Acupuncturist in the Boston area looking for a new accountant that fits this best version of an accountant.

    • Eric Colvard | January 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm

      The stupidest reason my taxes are too high is that the government spends money like a battleship’s crew of drunken sailors.

    • John | January 16, 2019 at 9:27 am

      We all pay too much taxes because of our Government’s tax laws.

      All you need to know is how great the real estate market is in and around Washington – it is unbelievable – just like our taxes.

      There was a time when working for the Government was a low paying job with great security and reasonable retirement – now it is one of the best ways to get wealthy.

      Legal corruption – trading stocks based on insider information – legal for Federal workers!

      You shouldn’t need to plot all year to reduce your taxes – we have lost the fight.


    • Tori | January 16, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Great article. Very true good accountant is the key. I am looking for an experienced accountant and CPA in Raleigh NC. we have small business and I use my house as home office.
      Please advise. Thanks!!

    • John | January 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm

      Three stupid reasons you pay to much:

      1 You don’t have a good accountant
      2 You don’t have a good accountant
      3 You don’t have a good accountant

      Wow, I didn’t know it was this easy.

    • barbara dummermuth | June 26, 2018 at 11:51 am

      Hi, I am in search of an account in the Boston area that specializes in acupuncturists, and healing center owners.

      Thanks so much for suggestions!

    • Gene Marks | December 23, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Another addition to this – now that tax reform is reality it is CRITICAL that you meet with your accountant sooner rather than later. Do a proforma for your 2018 tax return with 2018 rates using 2017 numbers to see what the impact will be and if any adjustments need to be made earlier in the year. Maybe you should change your entity from a C corp to an S corp – or the other way? The tax bill is a big impact – it’s worthy of your time to review with your CPA.

    • Patrice Mills | December 12, 2017 at 1:50 am

      I love The Hartford Small Biz Ahead emails. This one was perfect as usual. Everything said in the article is true. I am working late tonight because my clients know the value of tax planning. We plan throughout the year. I have very few clients that I only talk to once a year. We send our clients to a bookkeeping service that shares our office and will do payroll even though most CPAs stay away from that work. Then for sure we are talking to our clients several times a year and they have more time to work on their business because we handle the taxes and payroll and they know they will not get any big surprises at tax time. And yes, my wealthy clients all read tax articles. Some go to tax update seminars. Clients need to understand that some of the best tax planning can be done when you have a bad year! Keep those Hartford emails coming.

    • Alfredo Lozano | December 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      All Business Owners (more so those who sell less than $5m) First buy and read Profit First by Mike Michalwikz (misspelled last name), then ask Mike for a referral….eye opening book about accounting and profitability!

    • Arlene Lev | April 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      First paragraph “he”
      Second “she”
      Third “they”

      I appreciate that

    • Anne | March 21, 2017 at 3:49 am

      If the accountant was referred to as a ‘he’ would you have asked the same question?

    • David McIntire | March 20, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks you so much, we changed this year to a very nice and knowledgable lady. We understand the need as we should be trying to efficiently run our business and do not have the capacity to keep up on all aspects of tax law. It is alway good to have a second set of eyes helping us watch things.

    • John Kettles | March 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      I agree with you, Mary!

    • John Kettles | March 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      I agree with you, Mary. More than half the accountants I know are women, so the need to comment is bizarre. C’mon GUYS, the anti-Political Correct theme is getting tiresome!

    • paul | March 17, 2017 at 4:48 am

      i think they should just abolish the IRS and that would save us all a lot of time and money

    • Ann Matika | March 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      If you are in the dental profession and are looking for an excellent CPA, call David Brotman @ 757-422-4445. He knows taxes and specializes in the dental profession.

    • Ann Matika | March 16, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      This message is for Peter Koblan: David Brotman, of Jacobson Brotman CPA, is an excellent CPA who specializes in the dental field. In 23 years of owning 3 dental staffing companies, my husband and I marvel at the genius of David. You will not be disappointed as he really knows taxes and your business. Give him a call @ 757-422-4445

    • C. Lane | March 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I am offended that you feel those of us that choose to do our taxes ourselves are stupid. I have tried using accounting services in the past (been in business 25 years) all it did was cost me money. A lot of money, and wound up costing more in taxes to boot because tax line assignments and account classification were completely wrong, 4 times, 4 different cpas.

    • Mi | March 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      How to I find and accountant to my profession? business owner – stylist

    • Mary | March 15, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Will – why would the accountant always be presumed to be a man? And why did you feel the need to comment on that part of the article. A little equality for a change. Love it!

    • Yvonne May | March 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      I own a financial management company and 90% of my clients do not pay attention either. This makes me work harder for them but my work is specific to each one’s need. So they get the best service and pay minimal taxes regardless. Connect to me on LinkedIn.

    • Yvonne May | March 15, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      This is great info. I own a financial management company and I provide specialized services to my clients. It is very true that most of them do not pay attention and this makes me work very hard to minimize their tax liability (legally). I get favorable results always! Check out my LinkedIn profile.

    • Carol Fidler Kayes, CPA | March 15, 2017 at 4:31 am

      Great advice. I wish more of our clients paid attention to their taxes and followed up on what we recommend for them. We are able to save some significant tax dollars for clients that do as you suggest.

    • Brian C DiBella | March 14, 2017 at 7:33 pm


      Great article!! I am an accountant and everything you said is true. The problem is that I have many small business clients who I would like to meet with several times per year to review their situation and help lower their taxes. The problem is 1. They are too busy or 2. They are too cheap and they don’t to pay my extra fees for this extra service. Not realizing that some of the items we discuss and some of the ideas I have could save them hundreds if not thousands of dollars in income taxes every year. And its very hard to do tax planning now during the crazy and busy tax season.
      These clients are penny wise and pound foolish!!


    • John Keenan | March 14, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Thank you. Reinforces what I believe, know.

    • Cheryl Gill | March 14, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Good morning Gene, I have a CHA but am looking for one who would search out more for my company.

      Any suggestions?

    • Elizabeth | March 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you

    • Elizabeth | March 14, 2017 at 12:57 pm


    • Paul Bennett | March 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Need to learn more about taxes.

    • Peter Koblan | March 14, 2017 at 4:00 am

      How do I find a good accountant for an Orthodontist? Thank you for your help.

    • Rob Lee | March 14, 2017 at 3:40 am

      this is a great reminder… i have gotten very lazy in this area… and havent met with my cpa in years except to review my personal file once a year… and i know i am loosing money by not meeting 4x a year just for my business! this reminder stings but much needed.. thanks

    • Will | March 14, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Why is the accountant assumed to be a ‘she’ in this document?

    • Caryn | March 14, 2017 at 2:17 am

      Does anyone have any suggestion on Tax workshop?

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