Sure, taxes in New York — or anywhere really — can be quite confusing and more than a little bit daunting. There’s plenty of little tricks and quirky rules that seem to throw many people off their game, turning them away from the idea that they could ever possess even a general understanding of how everything works. For example: did you know that, in New York City,uncut bagels are tax exempt. If they’re sliced, an 8.875% sales tax applies because it then is moved to the category of being prepared food. Although a bit interesting, do not let little rules such as these keep you from gathering a larger understanding of the taxation process as a whole. It is a vital part of life, and things go much smoother and are less intimidating once you have a better idea of what is going on.
Do not worry though, there is a learning curve for everyone, and the best place to start is by talking to an accountant. Accounting is the process of maintaining one’s financial accounts, and if you feel fairly clueless when it comes to the franchise tax, corporate tax, or even just bookkeeping services in general, it is always best to go in and speak with a professional. If you go in and hire someone for their accounting services, you still may want to know a bit of the terminology that is keeping your business healthy and legally sound. There is nothing wrong with asking the professional accountant, but some questions may become repetitive for them and it is always best to have a good handle of knowledge both on your personal and business accounts to avoid spending both time and money on questioned better answered for yourself.
Firstly, you probably want to know how your tax dollars are being spent. In NYC, tax dollars break down in the following ways: 31% to Uniform Agencies (police, fire, etc.), 29% to Education, 19% to Health and Welfare, and 21% to Other Agencies (parks, transportation, and so forth). One of the second most asked about things in accounting is when do you have to file tax on transactions and when is one exempt. Sadly, typically the answer is almost always, you need to file your taxes. If you think you might you likely do and asking an accountant about this will likely just frustrate them in the long run.
Overall, it is best to try and just avoid asking questions you yourself can find the answer to. There is no real penalty to asking them, so if you need to it is better to get it out of the way, it just could save you valuable time and meetings in the long run. After all, filing taxes properly is all about trying to save money, so why waste it by being ill prepared.