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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so it's after April 15 and I'm sure everyone would rather forget about this subject, but I'm trying to figure out how I can go cruising before retirement age and have a specific question for the folks on this board.

Being a US citizen I know I have to file taxes every year whether I'm in the states or not, and I assume most if not all other US cruisers actually do it. My question is how do you do it?

The reason for my question is I am a CPA and have thought about this as a potential income source while cruising. I'd be able to offer tax services such as preparation, filing and some planning to cruisers in-situ so you don't have to worry about your CPA at home getting them done, and I would have a better eye on what issues would effect cruisers. I'd probably do it cheaper than most as well since I wouldn't have to have things like an office, secretary staff, etc. Would that even interest anyone in the cruising community, or am I going down a futile path here?

Thanks for any input you may have, if this is possible, it may make my dream a reality sooner.

- Matt
 

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everyone who's taxes are complicated probably have someone in the states taking care of it for them, and those who's taxes aren't so complicated are probably using turbotax. I think turbotax would be your competition.
 

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Can a CPA practice in any state once becoming a CPA? Is it unlike law where you pass a state bar to be able to practice in that state?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Can a CPA practice in any state once becoming a CPA? Is it unlike law where you pass a state bar to be able to practice in that state?
It is state specific, but most have reciprocity and you just have to liscense your self in each. There are services which do this for you actually to keep you current. The nice thing is that you only have to be liscensed in the state in which you practice, not the state in which your clients are filing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
everyone who's taxes are complicated probably have someone in the states taking care of it for them, and those who's taxes aren't so complicated are probably using turbotax. I think turbotax would be your competition.
Yeah, turbo tax gets most of them, but you would be surprised how many folks with pretty easy 1040 itemized filings hire people to do it, or miss deductions and such. I'd probably be targeting the middle range of people, folks who have taxes that are just complicated enough to get tricky, but not complicated enough to pay a full fledged firm.
 

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OK. Just curious. In my head I was working out how few clients you may have based on the personalities of the cruisers I know.

But it wouldn't hurt to try.
 

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Matt, in this day and age it doesn't matter where you are unless you've really got a huge shoebox full of receipts.

If you are a bit more in control of things, you should be able to give your tax prep person (CPA or EA or whatever) a summary sheet with your 1099s and major deductions and whatever listed on it. You can mail that, fax that, probably fly home to drop it off and take the ticket cost as a tax preparation deductible too. (G)

Doesn't matter if your accountant is down the block or 12,000 miles away, you still hand off the paperwork and have them send any balance from your checking account, your signature is not needed.

Or, you can go online, from anywhere in the world. Interactive with a freebie, or using your own software. Being on a boat, or being away from home, should have no bearing on how you file tax forms.

Even if your tax liability is zero and you are not required to file, I'd still suggest filing. It keeps the anal compulsive types happier, and then they can't raise any question about "Why didn't you file..." later on. One less worry to have.

As to state licensing...assuming you have kept up any state residency, I'd stick to someone who lives and works in that same state. Not because of licensing, but simply because they will be more familiar with the rules--and any tax filings needed--in that state. And if there is any issue with that state, again, they're already there and familiar with it. They may very well job out the keystroking to India, but that's a separate concern in any case.
 

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Thanks for any input you may have, if this is possible, it may make my dream a reality sooner.

- Matt
...or you could simply build up a successful land-based CPA business in a sailing area, or nearby, buy a boat, and sail when you want to. You could certainly try to specialize in the issues related to boat ownership, but you don't have to live aboard to do that. If you are really successful and have employees and lots of cashflow, you could even take a month or two off each year to sail where you want to.

There are many of us on Sailnet who do not want to live aboard, who enjoy living in a home on land, and like to sail occasionally, or more often.

Many new posters here profess a dream of living aboard, with no real experience on which to base that dream, or understanding of what that entails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, thanks for the replies, pretty much what I expected even if it is not what I'd like to hear. I already have a great job in accounting (they do exist I swear) so I probably won't change to start running a different job just to do what I can now, which is sail on weekends and long vacations. Liveaboard may have to wait till retirement, or a more feasible alternative.
 
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