Smart consumers have found they can save thousands of dollars at tax time by working with a professional accountant to plan ahead throughout the entire year, well before April. In fact, the right CPA can help you get larger returns when you finally file your taxes, and make smarter financial decisions all year long, especially when they're also able to provide you with financial planning, retirement planning, and give you recommendations to certain investment brokers tailored to your specific needs like the CPA we learned of, Peter B Diaz & Associates in San Mateo County.
A Proactive Approach to Saving You Money
Did you know that discount tax preparers or software programs can actually cost more than hiring a CPA? Peter B. Diaz, a CPA based in Redwood City CA, says they can—and the proof is in the savings. "Since not all tax return services offer the same result, what looks like a cheaper option can end up being a lot more expensive," he says. "Tax law isn't black and white, and there might be different options for the same set of facts. You can't judge the value of tax return services on their upfront cost. Instead, you should consider the tax savings."
Experience counts for a lot in the tax return business. But many employees at those tax chain outlets have only done a few seasons of tax filing, or less. Even at large accounting firms, tax preparation is often done by only junior accountants. That means you could be missing out on major deductions because junior accountants haven't learned yet all the ways to save clients money. And if you're doing your taxes at home with one-size-fits-all tax software, you could be losing even more money.
When you work with Peter Diaz, you benefit from his professional know-how. "I have 24 years of experience doing taxes, and I handle every return for every one of my clients from start to finish," he says.
A San Mateo County client named Alan said Peter Diaz was skilled enough to prepare complicated tax returns. "And best of all, he knows how to save you lots of money," says Alan. "And that is what I want, someone who knows how to get me the biggest tax savings."
Your Own Financial Adviser
What is the biggest perk of working with a CPA? "My clients get the benefit of a relationship. When they work with me, they get their own financial adviser," says Peter Diaz. "And that's something you'll never get from a tax software program or a tax filing-only company. Those services are enough for some people, but other clients expect more. That's why I focus on consulting, planning and that client-professional relationship."
Peter helps clients with retirement planning, and financial planning for those looking to save for college or a home as examples. Unlike other companies that get a commission by selling investment products to clients, creating a potential conflict of interest in giving advice, Peter Diaz instead can recommend a specific investment broker tailored to each client's needs and risk tolerance for investing, and make that introduction for them.
Peter Diaz in Redwood City CA has been Renate's personal and business accountant for more than 15 years. During a research phone call, Renate said she continues to work with Peter because of his business skills and reliable year-round consulting help. "Peter is thoroughly experienced and remembers everything. It's extraordinary. He is exact and straightforward. We always know what we can expect from him."
Tax filing centers are only open for a few weeks around tax time, leaving you without an advocate for most of the year. The same holds true for do-it-yourself software. If there is a problem with your numbers, there is no one to call for help.
And it's not uncommon for tax filers to get letters from the IRS. Peter Diaz says that can send some people into panic mode. "That is when most people realize they need an educated professional who can tell them what that notice means and how to respond to it," he says.
Even if you never need to respond to an IRS notice, chances are you'll have financial questions throughout the year. "My clients often use me as a sounding board for financial consulting matters," says Peter. "And with my background in business, I am able to help them with a lot of questions that don't have to do with taxes."
Peter says this open line of communication helps his clients make financial decisions that save them money all year long. "I encourage my clients to communicate with me," he says. "Any time they have a financial question, I want them to call and run it by me. By making smart financial decisions throughout the year, most clients can save a couple of thousand dollars even before they factor in tax savings."
Peter Diaz grew up in the Bay Area. His wife, Lana Diaz, is a financial analyst for a local biotech company. The couple and their four-year-old Golden Retriever, Harley, live in Redwood City CA, just three miles from both his parents and her mother. Peter says living close to their parents helps them keep a strong emphasis on family.
The Diazes say they're fortunate to live in San Mateo County because of all of the outdoor activities the Bay Area has to offer. They are both certified sailors and members of a local sailing club. On weekends they take their sail boats, which are up to 49-feet long, out on the San Francisco Bay. The couple also enjoys kayaking and riding motorcycles. "In fact, Lana is taking a class so she can get her motorcycle license," says Peter. "She wants to ride her own motorcycle, instead of always being on the back of my bike."
Walking in His Clients' Shoes
Peter Diaz first worked as a CPA for 10 years and then became tax director for two large publicly traded companies before starting his own business. "During my 10 years as a tax director, I worked with CPA firms who served me as their client," says Peter. "So I have been in my clients' shoes. I know what I liked about the firms that served me, and I know what I didn't like. I've incorporated those experiences into my services, and I know how to show clients they are important."
Peter's clients get one-on-one attention from him every time they call or visit. "I work with my clients over the long term," he says. "So I establish good working relationships with strong back-and-forth communication. That is the big reward for me—interacting with my clients and being a source of knowledge for them."
Peter Diaz's clients say they like the personal attention he gives them. During a research phone call, a client named Susan said Peter has handled her family's taxes for years. "He is incredible. He does his job thoroughly, and he is timely and easy to work with."
Customers who work with Peter Diaz feel comfortable talking about the details of their finances. "When clients know me and trust me, they feel safe sharing information that helps me save them money," says Peter Diaz. "If a client holds back financial details, it can cut into their tax savings, so feeling comfortable makes all the difference."
Money-savvy consumers know that hiring a personal accountant well before the tax season saves them money on their taxes when it comes time to file. So don't wait until tax time to find an accountant. Instead, choose a tax specialist like CPA Peter B. Diaz in Redwood City who has the experience and the know-how to deliver savings during tax time and throughout the year.