About Us and Our Service (7)
Why should you select The Tax Professional to handle your taxes?
The Tax Professional is owned and operated by an individual who is enrolled to practice before the Internal Revenue Service. The Enrolled Agent designation is given to individuals who successfully demonstrate expertise in the field of taxation by sitting for and passing the enrollment examination administered by the Internal Revenue Service annually. So stringent is this examination that only one-third of those taking it can pass. There are currently less than 35,000 Enrolled Agents practicing nationally. In fact, Enrolled Agents account for less than 10% of all individuals currently practicing in the field of taxation.
What is an Enrolled Agent?
The Enrolled Agent title is the only professional credential issued in taxation at the federal level. Maintaining the Enrolled Agent designation requires 72 hours of continuing professional education every three years. This education is narrowly confined to subjects related to taxation to maximize an Enrolled Agent’s tax proficiency. The Education is closely monitored by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Enrolled Agents are actually specialists in the field of taxation, able to prepare returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, trusts, estates, and other taxable entities. Enrolled Agents are also authorized to appear before the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of taxpayers. Only Enrolled Agents, CPAs and attorneys have this license.
What is involved in by-mail preparation?
In many ways, preparing a return through the mail works exactly like an in-office appointment. Today’s communications technologies help make it possible. To begin with, you send your pertinent data to our office so that it can be reviewed and analyzed. Subsequent questions are easily resolved through a phone call, mail or fax. The best part of by-mail preparation is that the time you would usually set aside for an appointment can now be used for something else, hopefully an activity you really enjoy!
Will my name show up on a mailing list? Do you keep my information in the strictest confidence?
NO! Your business will be handled in strict confidence dictated by the professional and ethical standards of an Enrolled Agent. This firm obtains most of its clients through referrals, which means you were most likely referred by a relative, associate or friend. You can feel secure in the fact that your financial and tax information will not be shared with anyone, regardless of their relationship to you.
Won’t mail preparation slow down the completion of my return?
Some taxpayers worry that tax preparation will take longer to complete if done by mail. Not so! Our main focus is the preparation of tax returns received by mail. With the many options available in addition to regular mail (express mail, Federal Express, priority mail, etc.), there should be no difficulty getting the completed return to you expeditiously.
Won’t it be a problem if we don’t meet face to face to prepare my return?
Continuity of service and relationship is a concern to many taxpayers. However, experience has shown that by-mail returns can actually strengthen the client-preparer ties. And if a taxpayer plans to move out of state this year, several tax preparation options are available.
- The taxpayer, wanting uninterrupted service from someone who is familiar with his/her financial matters, can choose to have the preparer at the old location do the return by mail; or
- The taxpayers can locate a new tax preparer.
By choosing option (2), the taxpayer must hope to find a reliable tax professional at the new location. It can be done, but has the disadvantage of the new contact person not having access to the taxpayer’s past records and history. On the other hand, with option (1), the taxpayer can maintain former ties and access to prior year records. Most of all, the taxpayer will be able to maintain service with someone known and trusted.
Specifically which taxpayers benefit the most from preparation by mail?
No single taxpayer benefits more than another when it comes to preparation by mail. However, it gives certain taxpayers special added convenience. It is especially helpful for:
- Those who have transportation problems,
- People who are shut in because of illness,
- Individuals who will be traveling a good deal during tax season,
- Those who have a work schedule that does not permit them to get away at convenient times,
- Taxpayers who reside a considerable distance away, or
- Those who simply prefer the added convenience of having their returns done by mail.
The Organizer (7)
Where do I put my W-2 information?
List the name(s) of your employer(s) on Page 2. Follow this same procedure if you have retirement income. List the name of the payer from the 1099-R on Page 2.
What are the most important documents to include?
We must have copies of all items marked W-2 and 1099 (-R, -INT, -DIV, -MISC). Check to make sure ALL W-2s are included.
Do I have to fill out all of the information requested in the organizer?
No. However, it is vital that Page 1 (General Information) and Page 4 (Basic Taxpayer Information) be completed & checked for accuracy. Please make sure we have the correct name and SSN of your dependent children, and ORG 60 State Information (including your state of residence and home of record). It is important you complete and thoroughly check these pages of the organizer, especially for any changes that might reduce your tax liability.
I bought/sold a home this year. What info do you need?
We will need a copy of your settlement statement, also known as HUD1. (Just providing the figures will not be enough; we must have the documentation.) We will also need a copy of the 1098 Mortgage Interest Statement that your lender will send you.
I am an independent contractor/own my own business. What forms do I need to fill out?
If you are an independent contractor or own your own business, you will need to fill out ORG 19. In addition, complete ORG 18 if you have car and/or truck expenses associated with this business. If you have an office in your home, complete ORG 20.
I sold some of my stocks this year. What information do you need?
If you sold, swapped, traded, or exchanged any stocks, bonds, mutual funds or unimproved property, you will need to send the 1099B and the cost and date of your acquisition (Basis).
Where do I record information specific to my estimated payments, IRA/Pension plan contributions, education expenses, church and charitable contributions, medical expenses, dependant child care, and rental property?
The information should be recorded on the following pages:
- Estimated payments – Page 4
- IRA/pension plan contributions – Page 2
- Education expenses – Page 1
- Church & charitable donations – Page 3 (non cash contributions require a receipt)
- Medical expenses – Page 3
- Rental Property – ORG 25
- Dependent child care – Page 1, (We will need the provider’s name, address, SSN & amount paid.)
May I count the hours I am shopping or driving in my time-space percentage calculation?
No. You must be physically in your home. The time-space percentage calculation is a way of measuring how much of the home is used by your business. You may count the time playing outside in your yard.
May I use my time-space percentage to calculate my food deductions?
No. The time-space percentage has nothing to do with the consumption of food.
May I claim the food I eat while caring for the children?
No. According to Publication 587 Business Use of Your Home (1997 edition), “You can never deduct the cost of food consumed by your family.”
What should I do if I lose a receipt or forget to get one when I purchase something?
As soon as you realize you don’t have a receipt, take these steps to reconstruct your records: Save any check stubs or credit card bills, take a picture of the item, and create a receipt with all the relevant information. It is not acceptable to write out 150 “new” receipts on December 31.
With each parent, I write on Form W-10 how much they paid me for the year. Does this protect me from a parent who is thinking about claiming more on their Form 2441?
Not always. It is best to have the parent sign Form W-10 and keep a copy for your own records.