Newsletter Archives

2014 Pension Plan Limitations

The Internal Revenue Service has announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2014.  Some pension limitations such as those governing 401(k) plans and IRAs will remain …

2014 Standard Mileage Rates

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

56 cents per mile for business miles driven
23.5 cents per mile driven for …

IRS Warns of Pervasive Telephone Scam

The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through …

Upcoming Tax Deadlines

January

Thu
2
Deposit payroll tax for payments on Dec 25-27 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

Mon
6
Deposit payroll tax for payments on Dec 28-31 if the semiweekly deposit rule applies.

Wed
8
Deposit payroll tax for payments on Jan 1-3 if …

How much do you charge?

This is the question we get asked most often and the one that is hardest to answer. We set a base price for new and returning clients each year. We love new clients, but new client onboarding requires work in addition to preparing the tax return. If you stick with us you get the returning client price because long-term clients make our jobs easier!

We charge a base price plus additional charges for additional forms and schedules. The base price includes standard or itemized deductions, the first state return, and e-filing. And we don’t nickel and dime you for each W2 or 1099 like some of the large franchises.

If you book a free discovery call we are happy to disclose our base price for the year. The IRS has rules about posting or printing prices and rather than run afoul of them we would rather just give you a quote by phone or e-mail. We may ask you at that time to complete a quote request so that we can give you a more accurate idea of what you will be paying for your return.

All that said, we will never be the least expensive option but we are usually only slightly higher than regional averages and sometimes a bit lower for regional averages with our experience and level of service.

For a complete list of what’s included with your tax return preparation click here.

For more on why professional tax services cost more than DIY solutions click here.

How long does it take?

That’s another “it depends”! We don’t do your return while you wait (for more on that click here). In general returns are processed first in, first out and the earlier in tax season you get them in, the more likely you are to get a quick turnaround time.

Sometimes we have to slow down the processing of individual 1040s to get partnership and S-corporations finished by the March 15th deadline. As soon as that deadline passes we clear any backlog quickly. Our new client management system will allow you to see where your return is in our process (being scanned, in data entry, in processing/final review) and how long it has been there when you log in although you won’t be able to see your place in line.

We do use e-mail (and starting in 2021 text messaging) to communicate when we are experiencing a backlog. Most of the time, we’ll even tell you why (entity return deadline, high return submission volume over a short period of time, family emergencies, etc.) and what we’re doing to fix it.

In general, we try to keep turnaround time to less than two weeks. Often much less. Except for 2020. I don’t want to talk about the 2020 filing season. I’m still not quite sure it’s over.

Can I come to the office?

Of course. We love seeing our clients in person! Currently you must have an appointment to drop off or pick up documents, but when all of the COVID restrictions and recommendations are lifted any time the office is open and Cat is there you can drop off or come in to pick up and sign documents. When it’s just me (Amber) in the office I will usually require an appointment to drop off or come in so that I can give clients who are in the office for a review appointment or a planning consultation my full attention.

Do I have to come to the office?

No. We are available for fully remote, contact-free service. We can communicate with you by phone, e-mail, or video chat. We have two secure client portals for securely uploading/downloading tax documents. We accept documents by mail/courier. If you are elderly (roughly 75 and up) or disabled we also make house calls for both pick up and review and signature.

Please note we do not accept documents delivered by e-mail or by text.

Do you do business returns?

Yes, but we do limit the type of businesses and entities based on our resources. If your return is so complex that it would require most of our annual resources for just your return we are going to refer you to a larger firm with more staff.

Additionally, if you are a new business client inquiring for the current season in March we will require you to be on extension in order to give your return the attention it deserves while still meeting the needs of clients whose returns are already in the office.

Do you do bookkeeping or accounting?

Not at this time but we may in the near future. In the meantime we have a couple of excellent local bookkeepers to whom we can refer you and a handful of virtual firms we know and trust.

We do, however, file New Mexico CRS (gross receipts tax) returns for certain clients. To see if we can help you with this please book a discovery call.

Do you do returns for same sex couples?

Absolutely. We do not discriminate. Period. As long as you want your taxes done right, pay our invoices, and aren’t mean to us we’re here to help!

Do you do returns for states other than New Mexico?

In general, yes. We mostly focus on the western United States, but we do returns for clients all over the country.

Do you do foreign returns?

In general, no. But I have a couple of excellent firms who specialize in international tax to which I’m happy to refer you. Depending on your situation it may be possible for me to prepare your U.S. return while a partner firm prepares your foreign return(s). The complexities of foreign tax, however, make this unlikely but I am happy to refer you to someone I know will get it right!

I can and will do returns for U.S. citizens living abroad but only if I am confident that their tax situation does not require a foreign tax specialist.

I also can and will do U.S. returns for U.S. non-residents but only after I have determined that they do not require a specialist.

Do you speak Spanish?

Like a toddler. Certainly not well enough to explain complex tax concepts to clients. I’m happy to work with Spanish speaking clients but we will have to make some extra communication arrangements.

I haven’t filed for a long time, can you help me catch up?

You bet! But returns for prior year non-filers can take some time. We will require a deposit to get started and we will require you to keep current with our invoices (pay for each year as it is done) to continue with the work. If this is your situation it’s best to book your discovery call and come onboard in the off season. We will still see you and may start working on your returns if you come in during season, but we may not be able to finish all of the work before the current year filing deadline. The order in which we process the returns depends on many factors which we will go over with you once we have fully reviewed your situation.

When can I get started?

Typically we begin accepting new clients for the following filing season in June. We stop accepting new clients in mid-March unless the client agrees to go on extension. You may not end up on extension, but you will have to agree to an extension at our discretion. By mid-March we are usually focused on ensuring all returns currently in the office get filed on time.

How do I get started?

You book a new client discovery call by clicking here. During the call I will take some basic information and enter you into our client management system. I may also have you complete a quote request. If you are coming onboard in mid- to late filing season (March or April) we require a non-refundable deposit of the base price of the return.

What documents do I need to provide?

You can find a list of documents here. For new clients we like to see at least last year’s return (or the last year filed) and would prefer to see the last three years. Providing prior year returns will also help us to provide you with a more accurate estimate of the price for your return preparation.

What then?

If you decide to use our services you simply follow the automated instructions as they are released by the client management system. It will let you know what to do next: ID check interview, follow up interview, etc. A general overview of how we process returns can be found here. It will be a bit different in 2021 and moving forward because we are automating some of the tasks we used to do manually, but in general that blog post describes how we work.

I’m being audited, can you help? OR I owe a lot of money and they want it, can you help?

Yes. But typically I will not take new audit or collections clients during return filing season because we are focused on preparing tax returns. I will, however, schedule a paid consult to go over your situation. At that time we can decide what needs to be done and determine if I can meet the required deadlines. If not, I can usually refer you to someone who can.

We can help you with IRS or NM-state audit and collections issues including NM-state gross receipts tax.

Why isn’t the consult free?

The consult is inexpensive ($95 plus tax for up to an hour), but it is not free because during tax season it takes away from return preparation time. Again, we are a small office with only two people on staff. There’s only so much we can get done during a filing season and we need to make sure that it is the work that pays the bills (and us!).

If you come in outside of filing season I will still charge you for the consult, but if you decide to retain our services I will apply the consult fee to your bill.