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Frequently Asked Questions

How Can We Help You?

  • What should I do if I need an extension?
    Filing an extension is free. The IRS accepts the timely-filed extension AUTOMATICALLY. No signature, explanation, reason, or excuse is required. Filing an extension does not increase audit risk or trigger additional scrutiny of your return. The extension of time to file is ALWAYS for SIX (6) MONTHS until OCTOBER 15th. The extension provides the government with an interest-free loan, which will eventually be refunded to the taxpayer. The extension is NOT AN EXTENSION OF TIME TO PAY TAX OWED on April 15th. Interest and a "Late Payment Penalty" are charged for any money owed on April 15th but not paid by that date. If there is a possibility of owing money, or if the taxpayer is owed it last year, it is advisable to estimate an amount due and send it to the IRS. This can be refunded if there is an overpayment and may avoid interest penalties. The penalty may be waived due to reasonable cause. Interest may not be waived by law. Owing money and not paying it in time does not increase audit risk or trigger additional scrutiny of your return.
  • What does your office need to prepare my tax return?
    Please see the links at the bottom of the page for a list of documents to send for Personal and Corporation tax return preparation. For scheduled appointments, all documentation must be provided to our office 48 hours before your appointment at the latest. Documentation can be emailed, mailed, or faxed to our office. If sending documentation via email, please provide passwords to open files. Also, please be advised that our office does not accept files provided using Google Drive, Dropbox, USBs or other thumb drives, or any documents through file hosting services. Please send all emailed documentation as Microsoft Office files, PDFs, or JPEGs. If mailing your documentation, please limit the use of staples, post-its, tape, paper clips, binder clips, and binders. Our office has to remove/take apart these items to put through our scanners, which can be very time-consuming. Please ensure all text and numbers are legible and properly formatted, preferably in a typed document rather than handwritten. Poor quality documentation causes difficulties for our preparers and can be easily avoided with typed text and organized paperwork. Please send copies of your documents and keep your originals at home.
  • How long should I keep my records?
    I recommend to all of my clients to save their tax returns, W-2 forms, and IRA documents until three years after they die. You may need your W-2s for Social Security benefits as they may make mistakes in your records. You may need the information to support your Roth IRA withdrawals' partially or entirely tax-free status. You should keep documentation regarding the original cost and dividend reinvestments of stocks and mutual funds. You should keep documentation regarding the actual costs and improvements to your house. The actual checks, receipts, and credit/debit statements to support claimed deductions can be discarded seven years after the return is filed.
  • Are changes in my tax situation a "Red Flag?"
    Changes in your deductions and earnings will not trigger an IRS audit. You could be working a W-2 job earning $75,000 one year, then be unemployed the next, then start your own business the following year. The IRS does not keep track of these changes because everyone’s circumstances can change drastically from year to year. It would be a waste of their time to try and follow the irregular patterns of an individual’s earnings. Every person and their tax returns are unique and can vary widely, and all variations from the norm do not automatically result in an audit. However, the IRS does compare individuals to their occupational group. Teachers, nurses, chiropractors, and police all fit within distinct occupational groups and can be compared to their peers. The best approach is to be able to document all deductions claimed on the tax return.
  • What do I do if it has been a while since I've filed a tax return?
    Your first step to solving the question of what to do is contacting a qualified CPA. The system works more favorably if you come forward and voluntarily file your missing tax returns. Since nearly three of four tax returns filed are due a refund, the IRS might owe money to you. The only catch is that if you do not ask for your refund within two years, the IRS will not give you what was yours in the first place. Unfortunately, sometimes, life gets in the way of filing your tax returns. Some penalties can be reduced if there is a good reason for not filing a tax return. Generally, there are no penalties if the IRS owes you a refund. If you owe money, you can set up an installment plan.
  • Is the self-employed Home Office deduction a "Red Flag?"
    Some tax preparers claim that home office deduction is a “red flag” and can provoke an audit. I disagree with their opinion. I have had a tax-deductible home office since the early 1980s. I have taken all the tax deductions allowed by current law, as it has changed over the years, and prepared tax returns for many self-employed clients doing the same. I have not been audited during this time, nor had any clients audited on this issue. Taking all the deductions legitimately allowed by the Internal Revenue Code is proper and wise. Congress passes laws giving tax deductions to taxpayers. Taxpayers and their paid tax preparers must utilize all the deductions allowed by law to minimize their tax burden. There is no logical reason to pay more tax than necessary.
  • Are you taking on new clients and how can I make an appointment?
    Yes, we always accept new clients, provided both parties determine it to be a good fit. We currently offer Zoom and Phone meetings. You can schedule an appointment through our website by clicking the "Schedule An Appointment" button in the header.
  • What is the purpose of the tax preparation meeting?
    The Single Purpose of this one-hour meeting is to clarify the information needed to prepare your individual or business Tax Return for last year. The appropriate time for other issues is in a separate consultation appointment between May and December when we do not have the pressure of preparing a tax return (your most important annual financial document) within a 1-hour time frame.
  • Should I schedule a tax preparation meeting or consultation?
    If you would like to discuss your finances beyond what is necessary to file your taxes, please schedule a consultation call. We will only discuss your previous year's taxes during your tax preparation meeting.
  • What will it cost to have quality tax professional help?
    Our fee schedule is designed to be reasonable and fair to all parties while providing our tax expertise to you. When providing a quote for your return, we start with a base fee determined by your filing status. Supplementary fees are then added based on the forms required to be filed on your return. Payment is required in full before we begin preparing your tax return. Our office does not utilize secure portals to input payment information. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and checks. We do not accept American Express, third-party payment apps, virtual currencies, or electronic funds transfers. Please remember this is a professional and skillful team specializing in individual and corporate taxes. We are unlike other firms you may go to where they “fill in the boxes” and are staffed with non-CPA tax preparers. This can significantly impact your return regarding what you owe and what you get back. Our services are affordable, and our clients feel they have made one of the best financial decisions ever by choosing our team.
  • Who will save me more money? TurboTax vs. Tax Strategies, Inc.
    Every year, someone asks me, “I have already prepared my tax return using TurboTax. I have a $500 refund from the combined federal and state returns. Why would I pay your fee to receive a refund when I can get the same refund for free?” The answer is simple. Someone with no education in taxation or credentials prepared the return, and an inexpensive computer program cannot replace skill, knowledge, or experience. People utilizing software to self-prepare tax returns do not know when they are making mistakes, such as filing extra and/or unnecessary forms or claiming erroneous credits to which they are not entitled. This could lead to confusion, audits, significant headaches, and cost potentially large sums of money. Our expertise is available for a small cost and an immense benefit.
  • How difficult is my tax return? Simple vs. Complex
    No tax return is simple. Anybody who thinks their tax return is “simple” is probably missing the opportunity for many tax deductions and is potentially significantly overpaying their taxes. Various commonly overlooked tax deductions, alternative tax strategies, constantly changing laws and regulations, new court cases, and different interpretations and understandings exist. Nobody knows every detail of the voluminous and complex tax code. However, formal education, professional experience, and professional credentials with mandatory continuing education requirements help ensure the delivery of a quality service, which can positively and directly affect how much tax you pay and how much money you keep. This expertise and knowledge allows us to prepare the most advantageous tax returns for our clients and minimize audit risk.
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