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Q. What is the normal process for tax preparation?
A. We’re pretty flexible, so we’re happy to work with you however it’s convenient. Often clients will get their information together (W-2s and other tax forms, financial statements for the business, childcare and charitable contributions and other information, etc.) and send it over for us to look at first, and come back with some initial questions. We can set you up a secure portal to send documents, or set up a shared folder on google drive or dropbox, or you can mail, fax, or even drop off hard copies. Or if you’d rather bring everything and meet in person from the beginning, that also works.
And then once we look it over, we’ll get back to you with any questions. And from there we can meet to review things in person, or we can send you a pdf that we can review on the phone/zoom, or we can answer questions over email.
Q. Do you have a fee schedule for tax prep, or do you work by the hour?
A. We don’t have a fixed fee schedule that we stick to, since tax returns can vary quite a bit in the amount of time required to complete. But rather than bill at an hourly rate, we’ll give you a range based on the overall complexity. And if this helps, we’re always happy to take a look at last year’s return, or at your current year’s information, so that we can give you a much tighter range.
Generally for preparation of a personal tax return (Form 1040), we charge anywhere from $500 – $1000. Things like state returns, rental properties, messy books that need a lot of cleanup, married filing separately, stock options, etc. tend to move it more toward the higher end. And being less complicated moves it toward the lower end. Note that if you have a sole proprietorship (or a single member LLC without an election to be taxed otherwise), that goes on a Schedule C, which is included with your 1040. And similarly, rental properties usually get reported on Schedule E, which is included with your 1040.
And for preparation of partnership tax returns (Form 1065) and corporations (1120 or 1120S), we usually charge anywhere from $800 – $1200, depending on the complexity, and the amount of cleanup required. That includes preparation of the Texas franchise tax return (or one other state), and the first two K-1s.
Q. Do you offer bookkeeping services?
A. We do; we perform monthly bookkeeping services for many of our business clients. We use our own accounting software, so that you don’t need to log in to classify transactions or anything. And most banks let you set up read-only access for third parties, so that we can log in directly to get bank statements, check images, credit card activity, etc., so that you don’t need to send that to us each month.
And rather than work on an hourly basis, with each client we set up a flat monthly fee that just depends on the complexity (number of bank/credit card accounts, number of transactions, etc.). And then we generally re-assess that once a year or so, to see if things have become more (or less) complicated, and whether any adjustments are need. We’re happy to take a look at some sample statements, or your existing books (if applicable) and give you a specific number. But we have a lot of clients in the $250-$450 per month range. That includes preparing the financials, filing sales tax (if applicable), after-the-fact payroll (if applicable), quarterly tax projections (as needed), and questions/consultations throughout the month.
Q. I’m just a sole proprietor with no employees. Am I too small to work with you?
A. There are no specific limits on being too small or too big for us to work together. We work exclusively with small businesses, but that includes sole proprietors/single-member LLCs with no employees, corporations with 40 or 50 employees, and everyone in between. If you’re not sure if our services could help you, contact us and schedule a free 30 minute consultation.
Q. As a sole proprietor, when are my estimated tax payments due? Can you tell me how much to pay?
A. To avoid a penalty for underpayment of your taxes, quarterly tax estimates should be made on the 15th of April, June, September, and January. Remember that the second and third quarter estimates are due in June and September, before those quarters have even finished. And sure, give us a call if you need some help calculating how much you should be paying. Depending on your prior year liability and a couple of other factors, you may not be required to make any estimated payments.