Frequently Asked Questions
How is your fee determined for individual tax preparation determined?
I have a base or minimum fee which includes an hourly rate and other direct costs, such as the professional tax software I use. With that price certain forms and schedules are included as part of the base cost of tax preparation. Other forms (such as for a sole proprietorship or rental real estate) are additional charges. There are other services included as part of the base such as a review of your prior 3 tax returns, a basic financial plan, and financial and tax suggestions for 2019 and beyond.
Why should I allow you to review my past 3 returns?
Other than giving me a basis to provide for suggestions for 2019 and beyond I find that 1 in 3 prospective clients have overpaid their federal and/or state income taxes in one of the years I review and the over payment is significant enough that it makes sense to file an amended return.
What do you mean by significant enough?
Without knowing a specific situation I would say a refund of $250 and up is probably large enough. The last two clients (as of 1/31/2019) for which I did amended returns had total income tax refunds of approximately $13,000 and $2,000.
How long does it take to have my tax return prepared?
Generally, I like to have a return completed with 24-48 hours after I have all of the necessary data. If you are asking about a new client it may take a little longer because I have found that it takes a little longer to get all of the data I need (including answers to questions) than for a client for whom I had previously prepared returns. Also, I like to review the past returns before doing the current year returns.
What do you mean by a basic financial plan?
You will provide information to me regarding your monthly expenses, assets, liabilities and other pertinent data. We will discuss your concerns and goals for the future and I will discuss the general strategies to move forward towards achieving your goals. If you want to move forward then we can begin to formalize the steps we will take. My expertise is in the area of tax planning so I do not try and be a “jack of all trades.” I work with skilled and experienced professionals in the insurance and investment fields.
I have a small business and report my income on a Schedule C. Is this the best option for me?
I cannot give you an informed answer based upon this limited information. However, I can say that it is highly likely that choosing a different structure for your business is something you should definitely consider. While different situations call for different options there are two basic reasons you select a business entity type from a range of options. The first is money. Which option leaves you, the owner, with the most money in their pocket. The second is for legal protection. As a sole proprietor all of your personal assets are at risk. That isn’t the case with other types of business structures. Only the assets of the business are at risk. If you are interested in discussing the best entity selection for you we will, together, review different scenarios as to why one structure might be better than another. In our analysis I will discuss with you the additional annual costs of the alternatives (such as tax preparation, accounting and payroll needs, and legal requirements.
Is there one area or issue that the average taxpayer overlooks?
Yes. I would say that the one area where taxpayers lose out is in not taking advantage of their employee benefit plans. More specifically utilizing a flexible spending plan to pay for medical and child care costs on a pretax basis (including the avoidance of Social Security taxes.)