Frequently Asked Questions
Once we have provided our documents to you how long does it take to get back a completed tax return?
We are not a walk-in/walk-out establishment. We give every return our focused attention to prepare the most accurate return which takes time. Every tax return is different so it's difficult to say how long it will take. Typically during tax season it can take from 4-5 weeks. If you provide the information in February it's more likely to be completed sooner than if you provide the information in March. The sooner the better. If you've extended your return it may be shorter or longer as the summer provides a bit of a relief to a time constraint.
How will I receive my completed tax return?
You will receive your return electronically as a pdf file through your online account. You can login to your account at anytime, not just during tax season. Payment is due upon receipt and must be paid before the tax returns will be e-filed. If we are unable to file the return electronically for you, payment will be required before the tax return is released to you. We accept check, cash, Visa, and MasterCard. We do not accept Discover, American Express, or Diner's Club.
How much will my tax return cost?
We bill by the time and not by the form so it's not possible for us to provide a quote for your return. Each return has it's own complexities and each tax year may bring differences that can add to the bill. Our rates are very competitive and we feel that our billing method is more fair rather than those that bill by the form. For example you could be billed $50-$100 per form that may only have one or two numbers but if it only took a couple of minutes it may work out to only being a few dollars for our bill.
How long should I keep my tax documents?
If you refer to the engagement letter 6 years is required by us as our clients since the IRS can audit within 3 years for a regular audit, 6 years if negligence is suspected, and there is no statute of limitation for fraud. Arizona Department of Revenue can audit within 4 years. We are requiring all clients to keep their tax records for 6 years and we keep our work papers for 6 years. After that time they are destroyed so it's up to you to maintain any records that may be required longer than 6 years such as capital asset basis information.
Do I have to keep all of this paper or can I scan documents?
The IRS has stated that scanned documents are acceptable substantiation so if you're thinking of going paperless just make sure you have a digital backup system in place because it's not IF your computer crashes, it's WHEN.
Does my spouse have to also sign the engagement letter and organizer or can it just be me?
BOTH spouses MUST sign each document. The tax preparation process will be delayed if both signatures are not provide. Each of you are personally responsible for what is reported on your tax return so when the tax documents are given to us we need proof both of you have read and answered all the questions.
What are the deductions most people forget?
For the basic individual tax return the items that I usually have to follow up with are receipts for auto registration, day care expenses, and documents for school credits for the Arizona tax return. Of course everyone is different. For businesses the most common are mileage details and any changes to owner's information like change in address or ownership percentages.
Is it a "red flag" to the IRS to extend or have a home office?
Neither is a red flag. I cannot provide substantiation, but statistically you are less likely to be audited if you have extended because the statute of limitations expire sooner. All of those people ahead of you who filed by April 15th get pushed to the front of the line. And as far as home office deductions, they are much more popular now than they were 20 years ago. It's actually filing a Sch C or making more than $100,000 that increases your chances of an audit over a home office deduction.