Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: My neighbor always pays less in taxes than I do. Should I switch accountants?
- A: Everybody's tax return is unique. It is impossible to compare what you pay in taxes to what your neighbor pays. To ensure that you are getting a fair shake, come to your tax appointment armed with all your tax documents. During the tax interview ask your accountant for tax planning ideas. Lastly, find an accountant that is willing to spend the time necessary to get all the tax deductions and credits you deserve.
- Q: What documents do I need to bring to my tax appointment?
- A: Click here to see a list.
- Q: What documents do I need to bring to my tax appointment if I have a business?
- A: Click here to see a list.
- Q: How much will it cost to have my taxes professionally prepared?
- A: Each individual or company has a unique tax situation and varying ways they keep tax records. Equally unique is the way accountants and tax preparers charge for their services. Nobody likes surprises so we encourage our clients to ask for an approximate price range for their tax return preparation.
- Q: My 17 year old son wants to file his own tax return and get back the taxes that were withheld on his W-2. Is there any harm in letting him prepare his own return?
- A: Our experience has been that when dependent children file their own tax returns they also claim a tax exemption for themselves. When the parents try to file their return the IRS will not allow a 2nd exemption for that dependent. To correct the problem an amended return has to be filled for the dependent child and the parents are delayed in filing their return. To combat this problem we prepare simple children's tax returns for free.
- Q: Should I itemize my deductions?
- A: We encourage all of our clients to bring in their itemized deductions. It only takes a moment for us to enter the information. We have found that client's itemized deduction information often help us with providing tax savings ideas.
- Q: What documentation do I need for charitable contributions?
- A: For cash contributions the IRS requires a bank record (such as a canceled check or account statement) or a written communication from the charity. For property donations the IRS wants to know how the market value was calculated, the cost basis, and any conditions attached to the donation. If you are considering a large property donation call our office for more information.
- Q: I am considering starting my own business. Do I need an accountant?
- A: There are many decisions that need to be made in the initial start up phase of any business. Some of these decisions will impact the business's success for years to come. For this reason we offer free initial consultations to new business owners.
- Q: Should I incorporate my business?
- A: As your business grows and changes the entity form you are currently using may also need to change. The things you should consider are liability protection, ownership division, and taxes. Before you do anything sit down and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating with your accountant.
- Q: Is it really necessary to keep a mileage log?
- A: In the eyes of the IRS no mileage record equals no vehicle deductions. This is true whether you take actual vehicle deductions or use the standard mileage rate. If your mileage does not vary from month to month, the IRS will allow a sample three month record. Our advice is to keep a contemporaneous mileage log and sleep well at night.
- Q: Should I do my own payroll or should I hire someone to do it for me?
- A: Many small business owners outsource their payroll processing because they don't have the time or expertise to do it themselves. Our CPAs and payroll processors are highly trained and up-to-date regarding wage and hour regulations, payroll tax payment deadlines, wage garnishments, and payroll processing related issues. Most often small business owners will realize significant cost savings by outsourcing their payroll functions. Outsourcing payroll allows business owners to focus their energies on competencies that drive their business such as sales and customers.
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