FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What are your office hours?
Office hours are by appointment; typical work hours are:
During tax season (Jan 15th - April 15th) - Monday - Saturday 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.
April 20th - 30th - Closed for tax season break - (except for previously agreed upon deadline urgent issues).
After tax season (May 1st - Dec 31st) - Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.
October 19th - 25th - Closed for tax extension break.
December 24th - 31st - Closed for Winter break.
While tax season usually begins around January 20th, we recommend clients seeking an early appointment call the prior week (1/15-1/20), as that is the time frame when office operations begin full-time. Clients calling after the first week of February (2/7-2/15) can reasonably expect a two-week wait period between call and appointment time. Calls later in February into March and April (2/15-4/15) should realistically expect longer wait periods.
Much of the year's work is done in a short period of time, and the above scheduling guidelines ensure quality control and maximum time per return during tax season. This is done to enhance and further assist our clients, rather than deter them. Many tax firms either knowingly or involuntarily fall into these guidelines, as the work volume rapidly and exponentially increases during tax season.
2. How much do you charge?
Fees begin at $150 for basic federal & state tax returns with one W-2 (includes electronic filing [e-file]).
Assuming no substantial calculations or forms are required, tax and business consultations are always free the first hour for new clients.
Tax preparation fees are based on time spent, complexity of the return/scenario, and the forms/schedules involved. Each case is unique, and even seemingly identical tax returns can have drastically different fees after finalization. We recommend you contact us with a message describing your tax scenario as detailed as possible so we can provide a more accurate quote.
According to a National Society of Accountants (NSA) survey, our rates are in line with both the regional and national average tax preparation fee paid by taxpayers. When circumstances permit, we allow clients to pay via post-dated check to eliminate out-of-pocket expense. We accept cash, check, money order, and all major debit/credit cards.
For tax representation (audit, collection, and/or appeals cases), business consultation, and ongoing services, fees are billable as either hourly, on contingency basis, or a combination. This is thoroughly communicated after the facts are determined and estimated cost/timetable have been established in an engagement letter.
3. What do I need to bring to my appointment?
- Client item checklist - Excellent organizer for individuals.
The following are popular generic and industry-related tax deduction organizers for taxpayers who use Schedule A:
In short, bring all tax forms and anything else you feel is relevant to your tax return.
For tax representation or other issues, please bring any correspondence received by IRS or State tax agency and all other applicable information.
The more detailed and organized information we are provided the easier our task is. Missing or delaying data often results in higher fees as more time and resources are required. Our responsibility is to prepare the return/offer advisement based upon the most complete and accurate documentation provided (industry/approximate projections used for start-up consultations). Please note we do NOT offer bookkeeping or accounting, and if substantial bookkeeping or reconstruction is required for tax preparation/representation, we will perform the necessary work and bill accordingly.
4. How long until my refund arrives?
Federal tax refunds are usually processed within 10-21 working days after the e-filed return has been accepted by the IRS. Check your federal refund status on IRS.gov.
California state refunds generally arrive within 10 working days as well, but during tax season we have seen delays up to 21 working days. Check your CA refund status from Franchise Tax Board (California state tax agency).
Larger e-filed refunds (over $10,000) take 3-8+ weeks to process for additional review. Federally amended (Form 1040X) or manually mailed-in returns take 3-12+ weeks for receipt and CA state amended (Form 540X) or paper filed returns are also processed via mailed check and can unfortunately take 6-8 months months depending on circumstance. During tax season refund delays are generally due to high volume issues (more taxpayers + lowered budget = often very long wait times).
5. I owe money. How can I pay?
You can make a federal payment via different methods on IRS.gov.
Payments to California state Franchise Tax Board can be made here.
If both federal and CA state taxes are owed it is recommended to pay Franchise Tax Board first as CA tends to more aggressive on collections.
6. How can I send you tax documents?
Upload the files to your client portal in Canopy. Alternatively, you can fax, drop off at office, or mail documents. If emailing photos from smartphone, make sure document is laid flat on a clean surface with appropriate lighting, and the necessary data is legible (we will be printing a larger copy which sometimes looks substantially different from phone version). Also be sure to send the right size photo (usually "medium" or "small") from your phone to email. Finally, if available send files in document format (.pdf/.doc) rather than image format (.jpeg) for ease of printing.
When leaving voicemail messages, clearly and slowly state your name(s), referral source, a brief message, and the best return contact information. If necessary repeat important contact information so your message is clearly understood and rapidly forwarded (during tax season unnecessary delays occur from messages which are too fast, have loud background noise, etc.). When applicable, please speak in English.
7. Do I have to be there?
No, you do not need to be physically present for your tax appointment. Nearly all tax returns are filed electronically (e-file) and appointments can be done via office, remote, or a combination of methods. Most often source documents (W-2's, etc.) and tax paperwork can easily be sent over via Canopy, fax, mail, or drop-off to expedite the filing process. We encourage every client (who is able to) to send source tax documents prior to their appointment, and especially for folks who know they have a simple return/no major changes since last year.
If done remotely, paperwork requiring signatures can either be signed later during review or emailed/mailed out to be signed and returned before e-filing.
For married clients, only one spouse needs to be present (both spouses must review their tax returns before filing and sign our authorization forms and engagement letter).
Our priority is providing the highest service in the most convenient and confidential fashion for our clients. While certain folks prefer to schedule an office appointment (which we appreciate!), we recognize many clients may not have that capacity or prefer to work remotely and we are primed to serve them as well.
-CA Dept of Tax & Fee Administration (Sales Tax)
-CalGold permit & license look-up
-GO-Biz start-up information