Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to working with a Tax Accountant, we know that you have many questions that need answers. Feel free to browse through our questions and don’t hesitate to contact our office if you need additional support.
How much do you charge?
It is impossible to answer this question accurately without knowing all that is required for your specific return. We charge based on the complexity of your return. We have evaluated the complexity, knowledge, liability and preparation time involved with each possible form on a tax return, have assigned each form a value, and the sum of the forms required to accurately prepare your return is the basis for your fee. Until we have done your return, we cannot possibly guess what the fee will be. However, we can say that our rates are very competitive with similar firms offering similar depth of service, education and support. Our prices are not the cheapest (unlicensed preparers practicing out of their homes are usually less expensive), but they are far from the highest.
How long does it take to get my taxes finished?
Generally, returns are completed during your initial appointment of about an hour. Sometimes, we find additional information is required and will send you home with homework. Depending on your homework, you may be able to drop it off for completion as our schedules allow, or you might wish to schedule a short follow-up appointment for completion. Complicated returns involving businesses or many rental properties may take longer and may require dropping off the business information before your appointment so we can prepare that portion of the return in advance.
How long does it take to get my refund?
The IRS used to publish a list of dates correlating filing dates with refunds. For a variety of reasons, this has changed. Starting in 2017, by law, the IRS cannot process refunds for people who claim the child tax credit or the earned income credit until February 15 at the earliest. This can mean the actual refunds are delayed until February 27 or later. For persons not claiming these credits, the IRS is stating that roughly 90% of filers with refunds will receive them in 21 days or less. You can track your refund once it is accepted by the IRS using the “Where’s My Refund?” tracker on the IRS website or the IRS2Go app for your smartphone.
What is the best way to communicate with my preparer?
During filing season, preparers are usually tightly scheduled with little time between appointments, therefore, in this time period, it is generally best to communicate through the administrative staff. Some preparers are busier than others (Laura Strombom tends to be the most tightly scheduled) and will have difficulty returning phone calls directly during generally accepted calling times. Email can be a very effective way to communicate or take advantage of a free 15 minute appointment. Do not be afraid to ask detailed questions of the administrative staff; if they cannot give you the answer, they will track it down, even if they have to ask the preparer while they are grabbing a quick bite to eat or walking past them. We also have an internal messaging system that allows the administrative staff to ask questions of preparers while they are in an appointment. Many questions can get a quick answer using this method. If the question is too complex to answer using this method, it is probably best for you to send an email or schedule a short, free appointment.
Do you offer “rapid refunds?”
NO. We do not believe in the Refund Anticipation Loan products. Why? Because the equivalent interest rates on these loans are in the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of percent’s. How is that if they only cost $100? Because you can have your refund in your account if you efile and use direct deposit in as little as seven days! If you pay $100 to receive a $1,000 refund in 1 day instead of 7, you have paid a 608.33% annualized interest rate! Most often the people who want these loans are the ones who can afford to lose that extra hundred dollars the least. We believe it is wrong to take your money in this manner. Few companies can offer loans secured by your tax refunds now as the Congress changed the way refunds are processed. Some are issuing small loans in advance as a marketing gimmick to get you to use their company. These do not charge interest, they say, but they do have some fees associated that are still pretty costly. Beware of what you are getting.
Can I get an electronic copy of my tax return?
How long should I keep my tax records?
The Internal Revenue Service can audit back three years, and the State of MA Franchise Tax Board can audit back four years. Both agencies can go back additional years, should they desire, if they find errors on the returns they audit and wish to inspect prior years for the same issues. In the case of fraud or suspicion of fraud, both agencies can go back an unlimited number of years. For these reasons, we suggest you keep all records required to support your tax returns for at least four years past the date of filing. Because certain items have an impact on tax returns far beyond this time span, any items being depreciated, as well as records supporting assets, such as your house, should be kept until at least four years beyond the filing date for the year in which you dispose of the item. If you have any carry forward net operating losses or credits, you should keep all returns and records supporting these figures for at least four years past the filing date of the last return to claim any of these figures.
Can I just drop off or mail in my tax information?
Yes! However, in order to accurately prepare your taxes, we will still ask that you complete our annual questionnaire (to make sure we do not miss anything and to honor our due diligence requirements with the IRS), and we will ask that you sign our engagement letter. Why? Because the engagement letter spells out our mutual expectations of one another.
Can you help me file back taxes?
Do you efile?
YES! We strongly believe in the benefits of electronic filing. Electronic filing is the fastest, safest way to file your return. According to statistics previously provided by the IRS, there is nearly a 20% error rate on mailed in returns keyed into the system by the IRS, while electronically filed returns have less than a 1% error rate.
When is my return filed?
We transmit your return when we have all required documentation and the return is completed. Your return is not considered completed until payment is received or other arrangement is made, such as a Refund Advantage product to pay your fees from your refund. The required documentation that must be signed and returned to us includes: the engagement letter, our due diligence forms, and the “Authorization to Electronically File” Form 8879. We will also require any supporting documents needed to claim a refundable credit, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or the American Opportunity Credit.
Can I get a copy of my return later?
We will provide you with a paper copy of your return at the time of preparation. We can also upload an electronic copy to our portal. If additional copies are required a later date, we will be happy to provide them for you, but we will charge a service fee of $35 per year, regardless of the method of delivery. Why? This is to cover the time associated with processing your request, verifying your identity, and, in the event the return is to go to a third party, obtaining your signature authorization in accordance with Internal Revenue Code 7216.
What should I do if I receive a notice from the IRS or FTB?
Get the letter or notice to us as soon as possible. We will review the notice for accuracy, give you detailed instructions on how to respond, and advise you of our fee to respond on your behalf, if you so desire. These notices are not always correct. Common notices, such as the CP2000 notice, suggest changes to your return, and if not addressed, become bills with penalties and interest applied. Generally, there is a 30 day response time. In the event that you wish to have us handle the matter for you, we will need signed Power of Attorney documents. These Power of Attorney documents are limited in scope to matters dealing solely with your taxe, and are limited to just the forms and time periods specified on the documents. Generally, these documents do not allow us to sign anything on your behalf. In fact, if you wish to have us sign certain IRS documents, and we are willing to take on this responsibility for you, a special area of the form needs to be addressed.
I filed my tax return on XX date, I still have not received my refund.
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What can we help you with today?
- Business Formation (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp)
- Business Taxes
- Personal Taxes
- Back Taxes
- IRS Audit
- Workers Compensation Audit
- General Liability Audit
- Income Verification Letter