Tips For Choosing The Right Accounting or Tax Preparation Firm

It is important to choose the right tax preparation firm. But how should one get started? With the diversity of services being offered in the market right now, this can be a daunting task. But, with a few useful tax tips in mind, one can weigh the different choices available and select the most appropriate accounting firm for his or her business needs.

The Fortham GroupTip #1: Timeliness and organization of the firm. Ask your potential tax planning expert how early they require to receive all the documents, as well as receipts, in order to file the forms without the requiring for an extension of the deadline. How do they favor to receive the documents from you?

 Tip #2: Education – Ask about their ongoing education process. Tax laws often vary and keeping up-to-date of these changes plus how they will influence your business is very important.

 Tip #3: Consider the firm’s Experience. Factor in the number of years in practice the accounting services partner firm can boast of. You need somebody with at least a few years’ experience backing their curriculum vitae up, so you know for sure they are accustomed to the tasks required of them and aren’t going to be lagging behind.

 Tip #4: Get a Referral. Talk to individuals you know and, including friends as well as business associates, to get a broader idea of the different tax/accounting office worth considering in addition to what they have to offer. Receiving referrals from individuals you know assists significantly in such a decision, by making you conscious of what others say about these professionals then make a more knowledgeable decision.

 Tip #5: Verify the tax/accounting office Credentials. Check the credentials of any tax/accounting office before considering them as your partner. Verify the tax/accounting office certifications, check their references, as well as conduct an interview. 

 Tip #6: ask about how the firm manages client audits: Do they shield the expense of an accounting audit, or passed on as an extra cost to you. If it has an additional charge, get the clear picture of such fees. Ask the firm how many audits they successfully have dealt with then what were their final results. What is the fee schedule for such a service?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. Though, by keeping these 6 simple tips in mind, your search for the suitable accounting firm partner will definitely be a lot smoother.

Debt Relief for Spouses Filing Joint Tax Returns

 

If you’re a married person or someone who needs to file your taxes jointly, but you have a partner with delinquent debt that you’re not liable for, you may have options. If your spouse has past-due federal tax, state income tax, child or spousal support, federal nontax debt or student loan, injured spouse relief allows for the “innocent” party to avoid penalty and keep their refund.

 

Here are seven facts the IRS wants you to know about claiming injured spouse relief:

1. To be considered an injured spouse, you must have made and reported tax payments, such as federal income tax withheld from wages or estimated tax payments, or claimed a refundable tax credit, such as the earned income credit or additional child tax credit on the joint return, and not be legally obligated to pay the past-due amount.

    2. If you live in a community property state, special rules apply. For more information about the factors used to determine whether you are subject to community property laws, see IRS Publication 555, Community Property.

     3. If you filed a joint return and you’re not responsible for the debt, but you are entitled to a portion of the refund you may request your portion of the refund by filing Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation.

     4. You may file form 8379 along with your original tax return or your may file it by itself after you are notified of an offset.

     5. You can file the Form 8379 electronically. If you file a paper tax return you can include Form 8379 with your return, write “INJURED SPOUSE” at the top left corner of the Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. IRS will process your allocation request before an offset occurs.

     6. If you are filing Form 8379 by itself, it must show both spouses’ social security numbers in the same order as they appeared on your income tax return. You, the “injured” spouse, must sign the form.

     7. Do not use Form 8379 if you are claiming innocent spouse relief. Instead, file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief.  This relief from a joint liability applies only in certain limited circumstances. IRS Publication 971, Innocent Spouse Relief, explains who may qualify, and how to request this relief.

 

The document will have to be reviewed separately to ensure that you will not be at risk of losing your refund in some manner. We can assist you in every step of this process, and ensure
 proper processing. 

2015 Tax Filing Season Begins

The season for filing your 2014 tax return has begun. And with the ongoing challenges facing the IRS in recent months, this year won’t be without its ups and downs.

According to IRS commissioner John Koskinen, “this tax filing season will be one of the most complicated filing seasons we’ve ever had.” He sites budget woes for the upcoming challenges, in addition to congress voting to cut the IRS budget for 2015 by $341 million. Koskinen went on to say, “Phone service could plummet to 53 percent,” which is drastically below the already disappointing 73 percent rate.

Another factor complicating this year’s tax filing season is the IRS implementation of a voluntary oversight program for tax return preparers. The program, which recognizes that the largely unregulated tax preparation sector is becoming a periah, is designed to provide ongoing education for thTax Refundose in this industry. “All we can do is try to maximize our video marketing services as well as we can; as well as we can is still going to be miserable. You really do get what you pay for…” said Koskinen.

This news further emphasizes the need to make sure you entrust your tax preparation and filing to a reputable, qualified and knowledgeable tax preparation firm. The adverse repercussion, and potential grief one could face from using a fly-by-night tax “specialist” cannot be overstated. Having your identity stolen or taxes filed improperly, or worse yet, getting audited by the IRS, is a very real possibility if you make the dreadful mistake of choosing the wrong people to do your taxes.

The Fortham Group are licensed and bonded accountants and tax professionals who are expertly trained and knowledgeable in ALL areas of tax code. Come in to our Pembroke pines location for a free consultation, or call us to discuss your tax needs.

How to Avoid an Income Tax Audit

IRS auditWith the rate of income tax fraud steadily rising, the IRS has been aggressively trying to plug the leak to one of the federal government’s largest sources of revenue. Individual income-tax accounts for more than 40 percent of the government’s federal tax revenue. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the IRS decides to probe your tax return and investigate every penny you make. But not to worry, follow these quick tips and you’ll greatly reduce the chances of Uncle Sam knocking at your door with a calculator and magnifying glass.

-       Report ALL your income! We’ve all heard of celebrities who end up doing time in federal prison because they tried to hide their income and not give the government their cut. This is an extremely bad idea, and not worth the risk involved with owing the IRS money. NEVER do this and you won’t have to worry about having a cellmate named Bubba.

 

-       Don’t claim ridiculous deductions! Your cat’s Christmas sweater is probably not going to fly as a business expense. The IRS will compare the deductions you claim to other people in your income bracket to determine whether you’re being reasonable or trying to get over on them. So don’t claim Fluffy’s clothing on your return.

 

-       Choose a professional and reputable tax/accounting firm to file your taxes with! If the IRS suspects that a tax preparer routinely fudges numbers, you could end up being one of the unlucky ones if they decide to audit all the clients of that tax office.

 

Millions of Americans look forward to tax season for a much-needed boost to their finances. Your tax refund could give you the means to put a down payment on a new car, take much-needed vacation or pay down some debt. But if you still get audited, don’t fret. The Fortham Group tax preparers and accountants can help you sort out your issues. 

3 Tips for Filing Your Taxes After April 15th

April 15 is the annual deadline for most people to file their federal income tax return and pay any taxes they owe. By law, the IRS may assess penalties to taxpayers for both failing to file a tax return and for failing to pay taxes they owe by the deadline.

Here are three things to consider if you’ve missed the deadline:

  1. Identity Theft – Be cautious when choosing a tax preparer to file your taxes. The amount of tax-refund related fraud has skyrocketed in recent years because of unscrupulous tax return agencies without proper certification. The IRS has become increasingly stringent as a result of this epidemic. Be especially aware of the ones that don’t ask for proper documentation when preparing your refund; driver license, children’s birth certificates etc.
  2. Gather All Documents – Keep all your receipts properly filed away throughout the year. However, if you haven’t, organize all your documentation; receipts for deductions, W2’s, 1099’s etc. The more complete and organized your documents are, the easier it is for your Tax Accountant to maximize your return and ensure its accuracy.
  3. Contact a Qualified Tax Accountant – After you’ve gathered all your receipts and wage documents, seek out a certified tax specialist who is qualified to prepare your tax return and give you proper guidance on what you need to do if you’ve missed the deadline to file your taxes. This is the most critical step in filing your tax return. If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: CHOOSE THE RIGHT TAX SPECIALIST!

Keep these important considerations in mind if you’ve waited a little longer than you should have to file your income tax. Choosing the wrong tax preparer could mean the difference between protracted grief, and smooth sailing.