General Questions

Q: What is a CPA?
A: A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a trusted financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals. CPAs are licensed and regulated by their state boards of accountancy.

Q: How do I become a CPA in Florida?
A: To become a CPA in Florida, you must:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree with at least 150 credit hours, including specific accounting and business courses.
  2. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  3. Gain one year (2000 hours) of relevant work experience verified by a licensed CPA.
  4. Apply for and obtain a CPA license from the Florida Board of Accountancy.

Q: What services do CPAs in Florida offer?
A: CPAs offer a wide range of services, including tax preparation and planning, auditing and assurance, financial consulting, bookkeeping, and business advisory services.

Tax-Related Questions

Q: When are Florida state taxes due?
A: Florida does not impose a state income tax on individuals. However, federal income tax returns are due on April 15th each year. For businesses, state tax obligations may vary, so consult with a CPA for specific deadlines.

Q: What are the sales tax rates in Florida?
A: The statewide sales tax rate in Florida is 6%. Local counties may impose additional sales taxes, known as discretionary sales surtaxes, which can vary by county.

Q: How can I reduce my tax liability in Florida?
A: Some strategies to reduce your tax liability include:

  • Maximizing deductions and credits.
  • Contributing to retirement accounts.
  • Taking advantage of tax-advantaged savings accounts.
  • Consulting with a CPA for personalized tax planning advice.

Q: Are there any tax incentives for businesses in Florida?
A: Yes, Florida offers several tax incentives for businesses, including:

  • The Florida Enterprise Zone Program, which provides tax credits for businesses in designated areas.
  • The Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program, which offers tax refunds to businesses that create high-wage jobs in targeted industries.
  • The Capital Investment Tax Credit, which supports capital-intensive projects in Florida.

Licensing and Regulatory Questions

Q: How do I verify a CPA’s license in Florida?
A: You can verify a CPA’s license through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s (DBPR) online license search tool. This tool allows you to check the status and validity of a CPA’s license.

Q: What are the continuing education requirements for CPAs in Florida?
A: CPAs in Florida must complete 80 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every two years, including at least 20 hours in accounting and auditing, and 4 hours in ethics.

Q: How can I file a complaint against a CPA in Florida?
A: To file a complaint against a CPA in Florida, you can submit a complaint form to the Florida Board of Accountancy. The form is available on the DBPR website, and you can also file a complaint online.

Business-Related Questions

Q: What are the requirements for starting a business in Florida?
A: To start a business in Florida, you need to:

  1. Choose a business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation).
  2. Register your business with the Florida Division of Corporations.
  3. Obtain necessary licenses and permits.
  4. Register for state taxes with the Florida Department of Revenue.
  5. Open a business bank account.

Q: How can a CPA help my small business in Florida?
A: A CPA can assist your small business in various ways, including:

  • Setting up accounting systems.
  • Preparing and filing tax returns.
  • Providing financial statements and analysis.
  • Advising on business strategy and growth.
  • Ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations.

Q: What are the benefits of incorporating in Florida?
A: Incorporating in Florida offers several benefits, such as:

  • Limited liability protection for owners.
  • Potential tax advantages.
  • Enhanced credibility with customers and suppliers.
  • Access to capital and funding opportunities.

Estate and Trust Questions

Q: How does Florida’s estate tax system work?
A: Florida does not impose a state estate tax. However, federal estate taxes may apply to estates exceeding the federal exemption amount.

Q: Can a CPA help with estate planning in Florida?
A: Yes, a CPA can provide valuable assistance with estate planning, including:

  • Developing strategies to minimize estate taxes.
  • Setting up trusts and other estate planning vehicles.
  • Advising on the financial aspects of estate distribution.
  • Coordinating with legal professionals to ensure comprehensive estate planning.

Q: What is a trust, and how can it benefit me?
A: A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee holds and manages assets for the benefit of beneficiaries. Trusts can offer benefits such as:

  • Reducing estate taxes.
  • Avoiding probate.
  • Protecting assets from creditors.
  • Providing for minor children or dependents.

By addressing these frequently asked questions, you can gain a better understanding of the role of CPAs in Florida and how they can assist with various financial, tax, and business matters. For personalized advice and specific concerns, always consult with a licensed CPA.