Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to simple tax questions that can
help prepare you for your tax consultation.

“What documents do I need if I have a mortgage?”

Your mortgage company should send you Form 1098 which reports the mortgage interest you paid.

“What documents should I receive from my employer?”

The forms to prove employment may vary depending on individual situations. For most, an employer will provide a W-2 form.
The self-employed (i.e. independent contractors, product sales representatives such as Mary Kay, etc.) should receive a 1099-MISC from the company.

“What documents do I need if I am unemployed?”

If you received unemployment benefits from your state over the past year, you must claim that as income and, therefore, pay taxes on those benefits. The unemployment agency should provide you with a 1099-G form, which explains the amount of benefits you drew during the past year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) receives a copy as well and will tax you at the appropriate rate in your tax bracket. Not everyone owes. If you worked a portion of the past year, chances are you paid payroll taxes and may earn a refund if those deductions were overpaid.

“What documents do I need if I am self-employed?”

You are required to bring our tax preparers a profit and loss worksheet. In the event a profit and loss worksheet is not present our preparers will ask you series of questions to obtain your estimated annual salary and expenses. In some events a preparer can request to see a copy of your bank statements.

“When is the earliest that I can file my taxes?”

When you get your W-2, you can have your taxes prepared right away, but the IRS will not accept them before a pre-defined date.

“Is there a penalty for filing my taxes after the deadline?”

Yes, you can opt to pay your tax liability through an installment plan. In addition to paying taxes through an installment payment plan, there may be other options such as the Offer in Compromise (OIC). Under an OIC agreement, the IRS may agree to settle the taxpayer’s liability for less than the full amount of taxes owed. The IRS is not likely to approve an OIC if there’s evidence that the taxpayer could pay the full amount through an installment payment plan or another method. A taxpayer can request consideration for an OIC by filling out Form 656.

“Can I deduct expenses paid for repairing my home?”

Typically, general home repairs cannot be deducted from your taxes. Home repairs are meant to keep your home in good condition, but do not increase the value of your home. However, if you live in a “federally declared disaster area” and your home is affected, then you can claim the cost to repair the damages. If you use part of your home as a principal place of business, some repairs can be deducted, but you must itemize your deductions on Schedule A.

“Can I claim charitable donations without a receipt?”

Yes, you can as long as you keep good records in case you are ever audited by the IRS. Be sure to record the name of the organization, the date and location, as well as a detailed description of what you donated. Keep notes on the amount you claimed as a deduction and how you figured the fair market value on the items you donated. In the case of a monetary donation, as long as it’s less than $250, a canceled check or even a payroll deduction can suffice for proof of the donation.

“What paperwork should I bring to my tax interview?”

Below is a list of documents to bring with you to your tax interview. A copy of this list, along with what to expect during your interview.

PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR EACH FAMILY MEMBER:
* Name
* Date of Birth
* Social Security Card /ITIN/ATIN
* Last Year’s Tax Return
* Valid Driver’s License
INCOME AND TAX INFORMATION:
*  W-2’s
* Interest (1099-INT or substitute)
* Dividend Slips (1099-DIV or substitute)
* Stock Sales (1099-B or Broker Statement)
* Self-Employment Income and Expenses
* Sale of a Personal Residence
* Rental Income and Expenses
* Sale of any Business Assets
* Gambling or Lottery Winnings (W-2G for some winnings)
* State Income Tax Refund (1099-G)
* Pension Income (1099-R)
* Estimated Taxes Paid
* Social Security or Railroad Retirement (SSA-1099 or RRB-1099)
* IRA or 401(k) Distribution (1099-R)
* Unemployment Compensation (1099-G)
* Miscellaneous Income (1099-MISC)

DEDUCTIONS/ADJUSTMENTS:
* Medical Expenses
* Real Estate or Personal Property Taxes
* Mortgage Interest
* Charitable Contributions (cash and non-cash)
* Employee Business Expenses
* Gambling Losses
* Moving Expenses
* Traditional IRA Contributions
* Higher Education Expenses
* Educator Expenses
* Student Loan Interest
TAX CREDITS:
* Child Care Provider/Address and Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN)
* Adoption Expenses
* Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

“Do I have to pay taxes on money that was gifted to me?”

No. The federal tax laws do not consider gifted money to be earned income therefore it is not taxable to you. No state has a tax law on gifted money either.

“Why should I file my taxes electronically?”

The main reason for filing taxes electronically (e-filing) is to get your refund faster. Twenty-four hours after sending your tax return.

“How can I check the status of my refund?”

The ‘Where’s My Refund‘ tool on the IRS website provides the most up-to-date information regarding the status of your refund. This tool is updated every 24 hours.

“How much do you charge?”

Our rates compare with those of the name-brand tax companies.  Our service and attention to detail is what sets us apart from the Franchise tax preparers.

“Are there deadlines for filing my tax returns?”

Remembering important tax deadlines can be key to avoiding costly mistakes down the road. If a deadline falls on a weekend, the deadline will automatically be extended to the following Monday. In addition, if you are unable to meet a deadline, you may be able to petition for a 6-month extension or a 5-month extension for LLC returns.

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