Frequently Asked Questions
- This is our business entity's first year. Is there anything special we need to provide?
- What do you need from me in order to prepare a tax return for my business entity (corporation, LLC, partnership, trust, estate)?
- Are there any discount programs to make the fees more managable?
- How much will it cost to have Lottsa prepare my tax return?
- I know that I owe IRS money and I don't have it. Should I wait to file until I have gathered the funds?
- It's getting to be the middle or end of March, and I'm just getting my personal tax information together. Can you still do my taxes?
- I am expecting a refund. How long after I return the signed form to you will it be until the funds are received?
- I understand that you use electronic filing for individual tax returns. How does that work?
- What kind of turn-around time can I expect?
- What are the steps in the tax preparation process with Lottsa?
- As a new client, what materials will you need in order to prepare my personal tax return?
- I notice that Scott and Daniel are "E.A.s". What is an E.A.?
- What if I'm merely considering Lottsa as a tax service provider?
- If I want to retain Lottsa to prepare a personal tax return (1040), what should I do?
- Are you taking on new tax clients?
In addition to the above, we'll want to receive names, addresses, and ID #s for all of the principals in the company. A copy of the letters from tax authorities granting ID #s is helpful, and for S corporations we want both the 2553 filed with the IRS and their letter to you granting the S status to the corporation.
We will want to see your Certificate of Organization, and to receive a copy of your Organizing Documents and Operating Agreements. These help us to have confidence that our recommendations are consistent with your structure.
Beyond that, you'll want to document the costs paid with personal funds while the entity was being formed and was in its start-up phase.
We'll want a copy of your most recently filed tax return along with a copy of your organizing documents. In addition, we'll want a copy of your accounting records for the tax year as an electronic data file, in print, or both. Bank and credit card statements for the entire year will provide necessary support, and we'll want copies of any payroll tax reporting that you did for the year.
We offer a 10% "Earlybird Discount" to any individual who has all of their tax materials in our office by February 10, 2016. There is a $50 new client discount when you let us know who suggested that you utilize our services.
If fees are truly a barrier to receiving the services that you need from us, then you can discuss your circumstances with Scott Beers. It is possible that we'll give you a break on the fees, but you have to ask.
We charge by the hour, not the form. Hourly Rates vary by staff person. See the "Services and Rates" section of the website for current information. Total cost will depend on the complexity of the issues involved and how well organized you are in providing it to us. We can usually give you a good ballpark figure of the cost after we've met and have reviewed your situation. Experience tells us that our fees are very fair.
No! There is a 5% per month penalty for late filing. It's easily avoided by filing the tax return itself or by filing an extension, even if you cannot pay the amount due. It's silly to incur the late filing penalty when you don't have to.
Respecting the clients ahead of you and with an eye to self-care, we'll only prepare them under extension. If you get the tax information to us by March 15, 2016, our staff will key in the figures as soon thereafter as possible. Assuming your data is complete, Sarah K, Dave, Mary, or Scott will likely have time to go through it so that you can file on time.
If the data is incomplete, we receive it after the above date, or work simply hasn't moved through as quickly as expected, then the data will be keyed in and Sarah K, Dave, Mary, or Scott will give it a cursory check so that we can prepare form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. This will give you until October 17, 2016, to file the return. However, if you owe money for the 2015 tax year, the balance is due on April 18 along with the form 4868. You are getting an extension of time to file, not to pay. If you owe $ when you file after April 18, penalties and interest will be due.
Most refunds are being received in seven to 14 days. Some take up to three weeks, and a few are received within four days. Direct Deposit speeds the refund process. If you request refund by check, add 7 days to all of the above. MN Property Tax refunds are never sent out until mid-August at the soonest and disbursement continues into September. Sometimes identity issues, very large overpayments, and various other facts conspire to delay refunds. Use the "Where's My Refund" link from our website to check on the status if it's overdue.
We will provide you with a complete printed or PDF copy of your tax return for review. Enclosed will be form 8879, IRS E-File signature authorization. It contains key identifying facts from your tax return along with a pre-assigned PIN. If you agree that the tax return we prepared for you is correct, sign the form and return it to our office. Upon receipt of your signed form, we will transmit the tax return to the IRS and to the state(s). If there are questions or concerns about the tax return, contact us right away to get those resolved.
We strive to have Sarah, Dave, Mary, or Scott work on your file within 3 weeks of receipt. Files received in late January and very early February will get quicker treatment since there's less backlog. Historically, by mid-February we're usually at 3 weeks or more lead time. The actual result depends on the number and complexity of the tax returns received ahead of yours.
It begins with receiving your tax information. New clients will meet with Sarah or Scott. Returning clients can meet with Scott or Sarah or can mail/drop off their materials. If your situation is complicated or has changed significantly since the prior tax year, a meeting is strongly recommended. One of our staff preparers may sit in on the meeting if agreeable to you. You will not be charged for both people's time.
A staff preparer will make an initial data entry run through your tax materials and will organize the file. If there are missing or unclear items, you will be contacted and asked to fill in the gaps.
Once deemed ready, Sarah K, Dave, Mary, or Scott will review the staff work on your taxes. If the file is complete and there are no needs for information, we'll get it printed and right out to you. Often there will be some additional info needed or decisions to make about some tax matter. You'll receive our inquiry on this, and we'll wrap it when we're complete. Unless you tell us differently or we're pushing up against a filing deadline, our work product will be mailed to you along with an invoice. Payment is due upon receipt.
We'll want a copy of the prior year's tax return. We'll also want your W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s -- all the things you've received that say "Important Tax Information." Additionally, you'll have to provide information on revenues and expenses from your small business and/or rental property activity if those apply to you. Filling out our tax organizer is most helpful. In fact, we now insist upon it.
Enrolled Agent (E.A.) is a designation conferred by IRS after passing a rigorous exam in taxation while satisfying various ethical standards and meeting ongoing continuing education requirements. It means that we're enrolled to practice before the IRS and to act as the representative (agent) of the taxpayer. For more information, see http://www.naea.org/taxpayers/what-enrolled-agent
Not Applicable mid-December to April. We can meet by phone or in person to discuss your needs and our ability to meet them. This is not billable time. We'll spend up to 30 minutes with you so that both parties can determine whether we're likely to have a fruitful and productive working relationship.
Not Applicable mid-December to April. Contact us as soon as possible. We will send some organizing materials to help you prepare and we'll set up an appointment for you to bring the materials in and review them with Sarah Kise or Scott Beers.
At this time we are NOT accepting new tax clients during our "busy season" December 16-April 30. We're already working at capacity in this period and choose not to strain ourselves further by adding to it. If you want to visit with us between May and mid-December, we'll be happy to establish a working relationship then that can carry forward to future years. We make an exception to this for the children and parents of existing clients.