Good accountant for a small LLC in the Chicago area?
January 18, 2009 8:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to start an LLC in the near future (as I'd like to start doing web development as a part-time business beyond my day job); considering that my taxes are about to get a bit more complicated, I'd like to find a decent small-business accountant in the Chicago area. Any suggestions?

For my personal taxes, I've continued to make use of the same accountant(s) for the past few years; they're back in New York, though, and I haven't lived in NY for a few years now. Besides the matter of the LLC, it's probably about time anyway to find a local replacement to use after I file for 2008.

I have indeed seen this post from 2005, but it only received one reply. Might 2009 bring any more tips? :-) FWIW, I'm trying to do this on a shoestring (since web development doesn't really have much in the way of "startup" costs); just seeing the Illinois $500 LLC registration fee made me wince! (Sadly, it's the most expensive state for creating an LLC in the nation.) I'm trying to go as far as I can on my own with the Nolo books, but an accountant's advice just seems prudent at this point.
posted by korpios to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I agree that an accountant is a good idea, but I also wonder if this might be less complicated than you suspect.

Will this LLC include other people or be just you? Because if it's just you, the LLC won't make your taxes more complicated. One-person LLCs aren't treated as corporations. I'm a one-person LLC and the IRS treats me as if I were a sole proprietor. I file the same returns I filed before I incorporated.

However, if you haven't had your own business before, then yes, your taxes will get more complicated. They won't be as complicated as the taxes filed by more complex LLCs and other corporations but they'll be more complicated than your taxes as an employee.

Um, having said all that, no, I don't know of an accountant in the Chicago area. Sorry.
posted by PatoPata at 10:12 PM on January 18, 2009


My wife is a CPA/Attorney specializing in just that sort of thing. Her office is on Cumberland, just south of the Kennedy. Mail me if you want me to put you two together.
posted by timsteil at 4:49 AM on January 19, 2009

Response by poster: PatoPata: That's exactly it — I haven't had my own business before. (I did a dot-com startup with a few other people back during the boom, but I didn't handle the business aspects.) Considering how little (if any) "assets" this business stands to hold, and that I'd be deciding on appropriate expenses as I went along, the whole concept of "capital contribution" in my case confuses me; e.g., do I need to make a big deal of it (since it's a new "capital contribution") every time I pay for a business expense out-of-pocket? Perhaps one of the other Nolo books (the generic small-business one?) might be appropriate at this point.

timsteil: Mayhaps; I'll mail you with a couple of questions.
posted by korpios at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2009

I don't think a one-owner LLC uses capital contributions. They're treated like sole proprietorships, so I think your start-up expenses are just that--expenses.

I recommend the Nolo book Deduct It. It will help you understand business expenses as well as tell you about deductions that you might not have thought of.

Here's how Deduct It describes one-owner LLCs: "LLCs with only one member are treated like a sole proprietorship for tax purposes. The member reports profits, losses, and deductions on schedule C—just like a sole proprietor."
posted by PatoPata at 2:34 PM on January 19, 2009

I've been looking in Chicago for the same although I wasn't sure if I was going to go LLC or stay a sole prop. I have done my taxes in the past but now have a home office and have decided that the stress of doing my taxes (I am not a numbers person) was too much.

I interviewed a few different accountants based on recommendations of friends with small businesses. Many were way overkill and I'm going with one that is small but was straight forward about costs and didn't try to sell me investing advice. I would suggest talking to a few different ones just to see who is a good fit and offers what you want. The person I went with is around Irving Park & Milwaukee, mefi mail me if you want the contact info. This will be my first year using an accountant and I've only just decided to go with them after talking to 3-4 different offices so I can't vouch for them directly. My good friend, her family and friends have used them for a number of years and are very happy though.
posted by Bunglegirl at 10:31 AM on January 21, 2009

Response by poster: PatoPata: I have a bunch more Nolo books on their way from Amazon, including Deduct It. I started reading one that came early last night, Tax Savvy for Small Business; it's odd, but I'm actually finding business and financial law to be interesting(!). (As a kid, I used to read dozens of Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks because I liked learning the rules, not because I really wanted to play; maybe that weird tendency is about to come in handy!)

Bunglegirl: I'm trying to contact as many accountants as I can via recommendations, so I'll gladly mefi-mail you for that info.
posted by korpios at 8:41 AM on January 22, 2009

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