Here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions our firm receives.
Q. How does your accounting service work? A. We build an accounting system and infrastructure tailored to your business and one that will expand as your business grows. All original documentation is filed and maintained by us at our facility. Since original documentation is maintained by us, we offer the following service for handling Client, customer and vendor inquiries. We work directly with you in providing your accounting support. We help you with accounting questions from your Banks, Venture Capitalists, Vendors and Customers.
Q. Do you provide Temporary staffing? A. We provide a professional, single source accounting department that is convenient and responsive, at a lower cost than an in-house staff or third party providers. We will provide you with the personnel and accounting system you need to proactively run your business. We are NOT A TEMPORARY AGENCY. We offer a long term solution for your accounting needs. We use state of the art electronic communications and computer systems. It's as if we are located right at your office.
Q. What are the advantages of using your bookkeeping functions? A. 1. We price bookkeeping services by the hour. There are no formulas and no pricing confusion. 2. We provide you with the right service at the right time, for the right price. We'll make a positive difference in your growing business. 3. MasterType Accounting & Business Services, P.C. Bookkeeping Services grows with you. We eliminate your search for additional accounting staff, or your need to manage your accounting department.
Q. Are there are additional benefits to using your bookkeeping functions? A. Yes. If your company requires yearly public audits, we will work with a CPA of your choice, or we can refer you to an independent, qualified CPA. In additional to outsourced accounting service, we offer a comprehensive bookkeeping/write-up package for businesses that do not require a full service accounting department. We provide most types of business accounting services, (except Audits and Reviews).
Q. Does your company do special projects? A. We are a public accounting company that will provide you the accounting resources you need to run your business. We can handle some special projects, depending on the nature of the special project. All special project requests will be itemized, and a work statement will be written and signed by both an officer of of your company and MasterType Accounting & Business Services, P.C., before work proceeds. All special project work os billed at our current hourly rates.
Q. What does a bookkeeping/write-up package include? A. Our Bookkeeping package include: Data Entry of all transactions that occur during the month, including such items as A/R, A/P, bank reconciliations, Sales Tax filing (online), credit card reconciliation (if necessary), journal entries (as required), and check writing. Our Write-Up service includes the same services as the Bookkeeping package. Payroll and Income Taxes are done separately.
Q. What Management Reports do you provide? A. Financial Statements (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, monthly Cash Flow). Additional reports are available such as Operating Budgets, Long Range Forecasts, Cash Flow Projection, and External Audit Management.
Q. Do you offer Preparation of Bank Loan Packages? A. No.
Q. Do you offer Preparation of Equipment Sale/Leaseback Packages for Used Equipment currently Owned by Client? A. No.
Q. Can your firm handle the special needs of city government accounting issues? A. Yes. We can handle the special needs of city government accounting issues, such as Joint Powers Authorities, and government fund accounting, not for profit entities, etc. Whether your company is changing from a government agency to a private agency, or to a joint powers authority, we can seamlessly assist you with that transition.
Q. When are estimated tax payments due? A. Payments must be postmarked by: April 15, June 15, September 15, and January 15.
Q. I forgot to mail one of my estimated tax payments by the due date. What do I do now? A. Mail your estimate when you discover your oversight. Penalties and interest will be calculated when you file your tax return and a bill will be mailed to you for the amount due.
Q. I have filed for an extension of time to file my taxes. What is the extension deadline? A. For most states, the same rules apply as those for a Federal extension. If you owe tax, file your state 1040-V (or equivalent form) by April 15 along with your payment. If you do not owe tax, no paperwork is required. For the Federal tax return, (IRS), the first extension is until August 15. File Form 4868 and pay any tax due by April 15. If you cannot mail your tax return by August 15, you can file a request for additional time that will extend your filing due date until October 15. File Form 2688 by August 15.
Q. I do not have the money to pay my taxes. Should I just file for an extension? A. No. Your tax payment is due in full on April 15, regardless if you have an extension or not. The extension in only for the filing of the tax return, there is no extension for the payment of taxes. If you cannot pay your taxes by April 15, you should pay as much as you can, and file your return with a request for installment payments. The government (State and Federal) charges interest on any unpaid balances as of April 15.
Q. When I file my tax return how long will it take to receive my tax refund? A. When you file your tax return and are due a refund, it normally takes 4 to 6 weeks to receive your refund checks by mail. You can receive your refund faster by choosing Direct Deposit of your refund check. On Page 2 of your 1040 form, there are lines for your bank information. The IRS will use this information to electronically transfer your refund into your checking or savings account. Using Direct Deposit usually takes about 5 to 10 days to receive your refund.
Q. How long should I keep my tax returns? A. I recommend that you keep your returns forever. However, the IRS states that you should keep your tax returns for a minimum of three years from the date the return is filed. If you own property (i.e., a home or investment property), you should keep all returns that relate to the property for at least five years after the disposition (sale) of the property. If you own stock, you should keep all tax returns relating to your stock (both purchases and sale of stocks) for at least five years after the disposition of the stock (including stocks gifted to someone else or given to charities).
Q. I filed my taxes on time last year. I have not heard anything from the IRS. Does this mean that my return is correct? A. No. It only means that nothing has yet come to the attention of the IRS or State that would cause them to question your return. As a general rule, the IRS has three years from the due date of your return or the date you file, whichever is later, to audit your return or to access additional taxes.
Q. I have already filed my tax return and just received additional information in the mail that I should have included on my return. What should I do? A. If you have filed your return with a mistake or an omission, file an "Amended Tax Return." Federal Form 1040X and/or your states amended tax return.
Q. Other than for the IRS or State Revenue Department, is there any reason to keep my tax returns and other records? A. An important reason to keep your tax returns is to prove your eligibility for and the amount of future social security benefits. Although the Social Security Administration keeps a record of your income, if their records are not correct you may not receive the benefits you are entitled to unless you can prove your claim. Studies prove that about 6% of the information the SSA receives on a taxpayer's income is incorrect.
Q. I am being audited by the IRS. Does that mean my preparer made a mistake? A. No. Sometimes a return is audited because something is unclear or the government may have received some conflicting information that may be in error. Tax returns are selected at random for an audit for no specific reason.
Q. Do you stay current on the new tax laws? A. Yes. Every year I attend tax seminars and tax-related CPE classes to stay current with the new tax laws that might affect your tax situation.
Q. What is an Enrolled Agent? A. An Enrolled Agent is recognized as a tax professional with technical competency in federal and state tax matters. An Enrolled Agent is granted enrollment by the U.S. Treasury Department to represent taxpayers before the IRS in all tax related issues.
Q. I would like to have you prepare my returns. What do I do now? A. Please contact us by using the Contact Us page. We will send a complimentary organizer packet to you via return mail. This organizer will help you to gather your tax information together and prepare for your tax appointment with me. You should schedule your tax appointment as soon as possible as the schedule does fill quickly.
Q. I work during the daytime and I cannot take time off work to have my taxes prepared. What do I do? A. We have extended hours between February 1 and April 15. We prefer our clients schedule appointments with us rather than just show up. This helps us with our scheduling and also helps to ensure that everyone will be able to be seen.
Q. Is your office near public transportation? A. Our office is conveniently located near Milwaukee Ave. and Devon Ave. in Chicago. The 270 PACE bus stop (on both sides of Milwaukee Ave.) is ½ block north of our office. There is a METRA station at Jefferson Park, where you can catch the 270 bus to get to our office.
Q. My schedule is such that I do not have the time to come to the office. What do I do? A. Although I enjoy meeting all of my clients, and would love to meet with you, several clients mail their tax information to me. By completing our organizer packet, you can mail your tax packet and information to us. When your return is completed you can either come in and pick it up or mail the balance of your preparation fee to us and we will send your return to you by mail. If you prefer to pay by credit card, call us with your credit card information and we will mail your return to you.
Q. What methods of payment do you accept? A. We accept cash, personal checks, business checks, money orders and cashier checks. We also accept payment by credit card in our office. We can also email an invoice to you so that you can pay the invoice online (using your credit card).