Tax question for guides


Not an outfitter, but, I would give this advice to any business owner. I would do both. Software so you understand the advantages of being self employed and exploit them.
CPA for the simple reasons that if you are ever audited they will represent you. If there is a question asked they can say, I dont know and you can then huddle up and make sure you answer the question correctly. Also, they should look out for your best interest and inevitably there will be questions you need to ask of a professional. When I say CPA, I dont mean the once a year tax processor. I mean a confidant that will take your calls year round. A good accountant will be the best money you spend.


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I have my own business and guide a bit too. I always have used an accountant. The costs are minimal and totally worth it IMO. I think I pay approx $450 a year to have my state and federal business returns completed by my CPA.
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Assuming you are reporting income correctly I second the opinion that you need a CPA. Many of the expenses you have to produce income are deductible. Can you depreciate a $3,000 pair of binos or spotting scope. Maybe. Vehicle expenses, most likely. ATV, maybe. Hunting clothes, probably not. A CPA can help you with these things.

You need to have your expense's detailed before you go see the CPA. When he asks you for your mileage logs and you say you don't have any isn't a good answer.

If you have a company and contract your guiding services to the outfitter can can you deduct your health insurance your company paid for you. probably.

If you do get audited and you have done something a little shady don't take a CPA with you. Take a tax attorney . There isn't any "client privilege " with a CPA. They have to divulge everything you have told them, an attorney doesn't.


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Yes and no, I am just trying to figure out which way is best to pay the least amount . To hire an accountant or use software.


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Both. An accountant will not be able to do anything if you don't have a detailed record of income and expenses. I guess you could skip the software and have an old school ledger, but that would end up increasing cpa costs as you would use more of their time explaining what and where.

The question of whether or not to use a tax pro can be looked at like this: I am in construction so I'll start there. Can the average homeowner remodel their own bathroom and save some money? Sure, but I can do it better and quicker. For you as a guide: Can the average hunter kill an elk on their own? Sure, but hiring a pro will help them up their odds of killing and/or getting a better elk. The downside is cost. Same goes for your taxes. If you want to pay the least and stay legal (very important), the likelihood of you doing it as well on your own and without a cpa is very very slim.


Very Active Member
Unfortunately our tax code is so complicated and always changing that unless you are a CPA or invest significant time into learning it, you will either overpay or flag yourself for an audit. Unless you have very simple taxes, you will likely save money by paying a CPA.


Very Active Member
Disclaimer: I am a CPA, just not that kind.

But I am going to go a little against the general grain here and say the correct answer to your question is: it depends.

If you are a regular nine-to-fiver that has just done a little guiding on the side, then I think any of the available software packages would be plenty adequate for your needs (and much less expensive). This, of course, assumes you honestly answer the software's questions... ;)

If your situation is any more complex than that, you would probably reap a good return over what you would pay for a CPA's services.


Very Active Member
I got audited when I was guiding 25 years ago, I had a crappy accountant and it ended up costing me 12000.00 and the IRS agent tore me apart and did not like hunters. Like said above keep good records and a log. Some things I was able to write off but a lot of things I wasn’t.Being audited was not a great experience


Very Active Member
I'm a CPA and I recommend it in more ways than one. If you're just looking for a tax return, a CPA is not what you need. If you need business advice and would truly value the CPA services, that's the route to take. Like I tell all my clients; I may not save you money year 1, year 2, or year 3. But as I get to know you better, one of these years, something is going to change or happen and having this history and relationship, I'm going to step in and save you big.


Active Member
I have already had a very negative interaction with a bigoted to hunting bureaucrat. And the way things are going--it's going to get worse!
As my CPA said "If you are audited, it's my fight!"

How much liability do you want to take on by yourself when your family and assets are in a bureaucrats crosshairs?

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