Here are the answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions our firm receives.
A. The information found on this website is general in nature and may not apply to the reader’s situation. Therefore, the reader should not rely on the information on this website alone. For specific advise, please call us at 847-304-0431. Thank you.
Q. What services do you provide?
A. We prepare all tax returns including individual, corporation, LLC and LLP, non-profit, estate and trust, partnership, payroll, sales tax, property tax, and other taxes. We also sell computers and software as well as offering training. We offer bookkeeping, financial statements, accounts payable, and accounts receivable processing–in fact, any office function, including setting up an office, as part of our services.
Q. I currently use an outside payroll service, and, frankly, have not been pleased for various reasons. What alternatives do I have?
A. We now have access to a very good payroll alternative that you can access and use right here on our webpage. This is a reasonably priced alternative, competitive with the nationally known services, and offers you the flexibility of running your own payrolls on YOUR schedule. Direct deposit, ACH tax payments and easy import to your QuickBooks or other accounting software are features of this very good software. Call us for a demonstration!
Q. I am concerned that my business is not as profitable as I would like it to be. What can you do to help me?
A. We offer an operational auditing program where a team of our professionals come into your business to assess your company’s operational strengths and weaknesses. We breakdown your business into the areas that are mission critical and offer recommendations (that we can help you to implement!) to get your business on track. Organizational efficiencies and profitability structuring are the keys to your business working FOR YOU rather than vice versa.
Q. It seems like everyone and his brother (except me!) has a retirement plan! Can you explain the various plans available?
A. A good retirement plan can be an essential weapon in your arsenal for accumulating wealth. I will go out on a limb…Every business owner with taxable income from some source (whether from the business or not) should have a retirement plan to help defer taxes and to accumulate savings tax free! We can help design the PERFECT plan for your business and your circumstances. Give us a call so that we can discuss this!
Q. What is a reasonable wage for S corporation owners? (11-12-02)
A. Ideally, the best way to set pay is to use an amount comparable to an individual being paid similar rate in your industry. Otherwise, I use a standard rule of 50\50. Basically, 50% of income available to owners should be taken as wages and the other 50% should be taken as dividends.
Q. Do I need to visit your office to have my taxes prepared?
A. It is not necessary to visit our office. Many clients utilize the mail or express services to send their information to us. For new clients, we encourage a meeting so that we can discuss your unique tax situation.
Q. Can I deduct student loan interest?
A. Since personal interest is generally non-deductible must meet several tests: You must be the person liable on the debt and the loan must be for education only. Your income can’t exceed $130,000 on a joint return or $65,000 on a single return; married couple filing separately can’t deduct. You can’t deduct if you’re claimed as a dependent.
Q. Do you work with Start-up Companies?
A. Yes! Many of our clients are just starting in business. We will lead you through the necessary governmental forms. Through our networking, we can also assist in finding you other necessary professionals to deal with (lawyers, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, etc.) throughout the state.
Q. I want to start a new business. Can you tell me which type of business I should form?
A. Yes. When setting up a new business, it is crucial to set up the right type of business, such as corporation, S corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc. Our consulting services will help you form the right type of business based on your unique situation with consideration given to liability issues and tax advantages.
Q. How are Limited Liability Companies (LLC) taxed?
A. A single-owner LLC defaults to being taxed as Sole Proprietorship. Income/loss from the LLC is reported on the owner’s personal income tax return. A multi-member LLC defaults to being taxed as a Partnership. A Partnership tax return must be filed. The profit or loss is then reported on the owner’s personal tax return. Any LLC can elect to be taxed as a corporation. To do so, one must file an election within 75 days of creating the LLC.
Q. Is there any non-tax record that I should keep?
A. There are other records you should keep, even though they don’t appear to have any use for your tax returns. Family documents, certain medical records, insurance policies, records of major purchases, are just a few examples. These documents will be needed in the case of any emergency that may arise.
Q. Should I keep my old tax returns? If so, for how long?
A. Yes, you should keep your old tax returns for at least 7 years. When a return contains information pertaining to the basis of property owned, it should be kept until that property is sold. One of the benefits of keeping your tax returns from year to year is that you can look at last years return while preparing this years. If you do throw out an old return you may fill out form 4506, Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form, and send it to the IRS service center where you filed your return.
Q. What is the standard mileage rate?
A. The standard rate is 41.5 cents/mile in the year 2005. The rate was previously 37.5 cents/mile for 2004.
Q. Should I use a lawyer or an accountant to incorporate my business?
A. Although lawyers can get the paperwork together to make your incorporation happen, they might not know all the different tax laws that can apply to the different kinds of incorporations. Therefore, we suggest you see an accountant first to find out exactly which kind of incorporation you should pursue. Then have either your accountant or the lawyer finish the paperwork.
Q. Are QuickBooks or Peachtree good products?
A. QuickBooks and Peachtree can help you with your small business accounting, but they cannot think for you. The software has to be set up properly from the beginning or you will have problems. We find that by setting it up yourself, it can cost you more in accounting fees because it takes longer for us to resolve those errors. We advise that if you are going to use one of these products you have your accountant help you set it up. We can help you with this process.
Q. By using QuickBooks Pro, can I reduce my fees?
A. Our experience shows us that if you know something about accounting AND your computer software is set up properly from the beginning, it is possible that we don’t need to spend as much time on your accounting. But in some cases, the initial set up was not done properly and we end up spending more time ‘cleaning up’ the errors than if we had just entered the detail from the beginning.
Q. Do I need a Certified Public Accountant or is an accountant okay?
A. Some people do not need the expertise of a Certified Public Accountant. The best way to find out is to call a CPA firm and ask them that question as each situation is different.