There are a whole lot of web sites out there that are available for accountants, bookkeepers and tax professionals. Most of us pay for tax research of some sort. These websites offer a lot of editorial advice and additional features. However, there are many sites out there on the World Wide Web that you can use for yourself and your clients.
Many times, a search in google will yield results, and if you stick to .gov or .edu sites, the results are usually well cited and reliable. Sometimes, this also yields well-researched articles on other CPA’s websites.
Over the years, I have bookmarked the ones I use more often. Here, in no particular order, is a list of those:
The most comprehensive site I have come across is http://taxsites.com. It breaks out its research by topic, and links you to information you may want.
The IRS website will tell you everything you want to know about all things federal (tax). The site has publications, tax rules and calculators that will help you calculate relevant tax amounts. I also use the site as a resource for obscure forms that I need. Here are a few of the links on that site:
The tax policy center, like Bankrate, has some great calculators. The two I especially like are the net income estimator and the marriage bonus calculator. This site also gives some great history about tax legislation.
Like IRS.gov, ssa.gov will tell you everything you want to know about Social Security.
EFTPS is where you or your client goes to pay taxes online. This site will also be your link to other electronic services available from the IRS. Your state is going to have a similar site. In California, it’s called myftb.
I also use the FTB site to check what people have paid for income taxes, and to verify payments they say they have made. I find this service invaluable.
On a local level, we always check DMV payments with the DMV and property tax with the local county tax assessor. These are public records and easily accessible.
For businesses, the Secretary of state is a great resource to verify the status of a business or non-profit. This site will have a state business search. In California, the site is http://www.sos.ca.gov/.
Other sites I frequent are listed below:
- http://www.payroll-taxes.com/: This is a great site for all things related to employer federal and state tax questions, with links to cognizant agencies.
- http://www.401khelpcenter.com/: This site has some great simple information about retirement accounts, and can be a nice resource for you or your clients if either of you are looking for advice and perspective about retirement plans.
- http://www.smbiz.com/: This is a great resource for small business owners, with links to federal calendars, editorial information, and references with links. It is very low key and not flashy at all … just the facts!!
- https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/all-articles-and-videos/: A great location for you and your clients to get basic tax tips and information. The TurboTax user forum is also a great place for wacky tax questions because the TurboTax population is so big that if it’s been asked, its probably been asked and answered on this website.
- http://www.taxes.ca.gov/: A great start to look for all tax information related to California. It covers all the different taxes you may have to pay in California.
- https://www.ftb.ca.gov/index.shtml: Like the site above, but specifically for income tax.
For those of you who have read through all the information above, I will give you one more link. This is the best-kept secret on the web for CPAs and EAs. There is a group in Yahoo Groups called “Tax Talk,” where peers help each other with complicated tax issues. It is a group forum, so you are expected to participate. You must be invited to this group.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on www.firmofthefuture.com.