Policies & Procedures
Terms & Conditions
By submitting your information to us for your tax return preparation, you have engaged our services, we have established a valid contract and you are agreeing to the policy and procedures outlined here.
It is your responsibility to provide all the information required for the preparation of a complete and accurate return. You should retain all the documents, canceled checks, receipts and other data that form the basis of income and deductions for 3 years from the due date of the tax return (or better yet 6 years). These may be necessary to support items contained in the tax return in the event of an audit by a taxing authority.
We will not audit or otherwise verify the accuracy or completeness of any information you submit. Our work in connection with the preparation of your income tax returns does not include any procedures designed to discover defalcation or other irregularities, although it may be necessary to ask you for clarifications.
During the tax preparation process we try to make sure that we have everything pertinent to your situation. We do this by comparing to last year, inquiring about pieces that appear to be missing, sending periodic reminders, and other methods. However, ultimately it is up to you to make sure we have all necessary information and to follow up as needed. It is also important to note that legally you are responsible for what is on your tax return, so even though we always do a thorough, professional job, it is important to review the numbers reported on your return. You can ask us any questions regarding to your tax return.
While we are generally able to provide services in an expeditious manner, but we make no guarantees regarding the timing of communication, completion of work or making deadlines. It is your responsibility to provide all your information to allow enough time to complete the process and to follow up with us, if necessary.
Fees for preparation of a tax return are due when the final draft (subject to client review) is finished. We will inform you of this with a "Return Ready" email. Payment should be made within a week of receiving this email. Additional fees may apply under certain circumstances (see “Fee Schedule”).
If you decide to discontinue using our services before the tax return is completed, or if you elect not to use the completed return, fees for work performed will still be due.
Tax Return Preparation Process
Submission of Information
Please email, fax or another mutually agreed upon method, all relevant information to us. This includes:
Any U.S. tax documents that you received (e.g. W-2’s, 1099’s, 1098’s, K-1 etc.)
A completed questionnaire (we will email or WeChat you). This will help ensure that pertinent information is not overlooked
If you’re a new client, your prior year’s tax return
Corporate or Partnership Returns:
An income statement (Profit & Loss statement) and Balance Sheet. This could be generated by an accounting program such as QuickBooks
Formation documents, if this is the first year that we are working on the company
If you’re a new client, the prior year’s tax return
Names, addresses, social security numbers and ownership % of all owners, if not previously provided or if there has been a change
What we don’t need: we generally will not review your receipts, foreign documents, bills, bank statements, personal worksheets or any kind of backup documentation, so please keep those for your own records. These may be necessary to support items contained in the tax return in the event of an audit by a taxing authority. If you need bookkeeping service, we can also assist you at our regular billing rate.
Preparation of Tax Return
Once we have your complete tax information, a draft of your tax return is usually ready within about one week, and the whole process is finished within about two weeks. Returns are always prepared on a first come first served basis. During busy periods such as the last week of March and the first few weeks of April, extension may need to be filed and the process may take longer. Occasionally, but not often, we might misclassify the status of a client's tax return on our end. So, if you have not heard from us for more than 10 days after we have acknowledged the receipt of your information, please contact us.
Resolving Open Items
If we need additional information or clarifications, we will contact you by email or WeChat with any open items. We ask that you respond within a week and answer all questions concisely. Please note that long and unexpected delays in getting back to us could increase your fee if they cause us to have to re-review your information.
We always acknowledge email communication, generally within 24 to 48 hours (sometimes longer over weekends), so if you don’t hear back from us, please resend your email.
We will use our judgment in resolving questions where the tax law is unclear, or where there may be conflicts between the taxing authorities' interpretations of the law and other supportable positions. We will perform reasonable research to support positions taken in your income tax returns. Unless otherwise instructed by you, we will resolve such questions in your favor, whenever possible. Tax rules change constantly, and any opinion expressed in connection with a transaction at one time may not apply to the same or to a similar transaction at a later date. You should let us take a fresh look each time a transaction of a material nature is proposed.
When your tax return is complete based on the information provided, we will send you a “return ready” email which will state the expected amount of any refund or tax due, the tax preparation fee and payment options. Payment should be made within a week of receiving this email.
If you have concerns about the results (refund or tax due), rest assured there will be enough time and opportunity to address and resolve them during the review process, which will take place immediately after you have paid the fee and we have sent you the tax return draft. Always keep in mind that your return is never final until you have given your signature authorization on the e-file forms or the tax return itself, so changes can still be made if necessary.
Tax Return Review & Filing
When you receive your tax return draft, it is essential that you look it over carefully since you have the legal responsibility for its accuracy. If you discover any errors or omissions made by us, we will correct them. If you discover any errors or omissions made by you, we will correct those as well, however additional fees may apply, based on time.
The tax preparation fee includes 15 minutes of review time – either by email, WeChat or phone (by phone is not available the last week of March and first two weeks April). It is generally best if you ask your questions by email so that we have time to sufficiently review your situation.
Once you are satisfied that your tax return is accurate, it is ready to be filed. If your tax return is being filed electronically, you will sign and date the e-file authorization form(s) which will be contained in the tax return file. If your tax return is not eligible for electronic filing, we will email you instructions to print, sign and mail your tax return to a taxing authority.
Timing of Service
Meeting deadlines: We make no guarantee of having your tax return filed before the tax deadline, so the sooner we have your complete tax information, the more likely we have it ready on time. Generally, our cutoff is around April 5th for individual and C-Corporation tax returns (March 5th for Partnership and S-Corporation tax returns), although later submissions can sometimes still make the deadline.
Response to emails: Generally, we reply within 24 – 48 hours, but possibly longer after a weekend or holiday. In the slow season, late in the year, our responses may be slower. Nevertheless, we always try to get back to you as quickly as we can.
Urgent work: While we will always provide service as quickly as we can, we cannot promise instant or express work. If something is important, please give us advance notice.
Priority service is not available: We always do work on a first come first served basis. To be fair to all clients, we don't offer preferential service for an additional fee.
An extension extends the time to file your tax return, not to pay any tax due. Only one extension is available. For individual and C-Corporation tax returns, it generally extends the deadline to October 15th; and for Partnership and S-Corporation tax returns, it generally extends the deadline to September 15th. Extensions are a routine procedure and are filed by more than one-third of our clients each year (including me). There are no negative consequences for filing an extension, instead, it is beneficial to taxpayers.
If you submit your complete tax information after our cutoff date (April 5th or March 5th), we will file an extension free of charge. If you cannot provide any information before the deadline, we can still file an extension for you, on request only.
If you need us to make calculations in order to estimate your tax liability for an extension, there will be a charge for that service.
Tax Payments, Interest and Penalties
The IRS & state tax departments require that taxes be prepaid throughout the year. This is generally done in two ways: through withholding and by making estimated tax payments. For many people, the tax withheld from their salaries & wages and sometimes from other income, sufficiently covers their prepayment requirement.
If there is no withholding or if the withholding is insufficient, estimated tax payments must be made. These are due in four equal installments, usually on April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15 of the next year.
An estimated tax penalty is assessed when not enough tax is paid in during the year. For the federal tax return, the threshold for the penalty is 100% of last year’s tax or 90% of this year’s tax, unless you are considered higher income. In that case, if your adjusted gross income is over $150,000 ($75,000 if married filing separately), the threshold for the penalty is 110% of last year’s tax or 100% of this year’s tax. If you have paid at least these amounts, either through withholding or estimates made by the four due dates, or both, you will avoid the penalty. This penalty is calculated using the current IRS interest rate, which has lately been 5%.
Late Penalties & Interest
The deadline for tax payments for individual tax returns is the regular due date of the tax return, usually April 15 (unless April 15 falls on a weekend). If you file after April 15 and are due a refund, you will not be assessed interest and penalties. If you pay a tax balance after the regular due date of the tax return (April 15), the following late penalties and interest will apply to your federal tax return:
Interest: Federal short-term rate plus 3% (equals 5% lately), compounded daily.
Late Payment Penalty: 0.5% for each month, or part of a month, up to a maximum of 25% on the amount of tax that remains as unpaid from the due date of the return until paid in full. After 10 days IRS issued the final notice of intent to levy or seize, the 0.5% for each month will be 1%. For installment payment plan is 0.025% per month.
Late Filing Penalty: If you did not file your tax return by the regular due date of the tax return, generally April 15 (June 15 for U.S. expatriates, October 15 for taxpayers who filed an extension), the late filing penalty is usually 5% of the tax owed for each month, or part of a month that your return is late, up to five months. If your return is over 60 days late, there is also a minimum penalty for late filing; it is the lesser of $210 or 100 percent of the tax owed unless you had reasonable cause and acted in good faith.
Notices of Adjustment, Examination or Audit
If you receive any notices of tax adjustments, examinations or audits from a tax authority relating to a tax return that we prepared, we will review your notice free of charge. We will also provide you additional information or explanations related to the preparation of your tax return(s) should the tax authorities subsequently request it. Further assistance will be billable.
A notice of adjustment is generally issued if a possible error or omission is discovered on your tax return. This often happens due to the IRS’s matching program, where third party information (e.g. from W-2’s, 1099’s etc.) doesn’t match with what is on your tax return. Since these notices frequently contain errors on the part of the taxing authority, we don’t recommend paying a bill before first emailing it to us to review. If any error is due to our negligence, we will assist you at no charge. If an error is due to your negligence or incomplete information provided to us, we will assist you at our billing rate of $300 per hour ($75 minimum).
Your tax return may also be selected for examination by tax authorities. An examination or audit can be for all or just some of the items reported on your tax return. If this happens, we recommend that you hire a competent professional to represent you. We are not available to offer this service during the tax season. Audit representation is charge at our regular billing rate. If it is determined that you owe additional tax, interest and penalties will also be assessed by the tax authority.
Please be aware that any proposed adjustments by the examining agent are subject to certain rights of appeal.
Agreement to Policy & Procedures
If you do not accept the conditions above, we will not able to provide any tax preparation services. If you have any questions regarding anything in this agreement, you may contact us by email.
We appreciate the opportunity to work with you!