AccountingTaxes

Income tax preparation services for 2019 returns

CPA tax preparation services completed the easy, affordable and efficient way!

This post covers:

  1. Why use a CPA
  2. Timing
  3. Pricing
  4. Communication
  5. How to Get started

Certified Public Accountants in private practice, like me, offer a high level of service for the preparation and filing of annual income tax returns. We handle a small number of returns and give them each personal attention and several layers of work process that other tax preparers may not. So how do you know if you are getting your money’s worth in tax return preparation services?

1) Why use a CPA?

Not everyone needs a CPA, of course, to prepare their taxes. In fact, most people neither need or nor want this level of credentialed professional service to file their tax returns. For those who do use a CPA for income tax return preparation, it makes sense to consider the reasons for that decision. The best and most common reasons are:

  1. Personal service
  2. Availability for other issues: accounting, planning or advisory
  3. Assurance in the event that representation may be needed later
  4. Complex tax matters

I will look for one or more of these factors to be present in order to ensure value in our work before we agree to have me prepare the tax return.

2) Timing

I’ll tell you the start date and expected completion date, that’s usually these are a few days apart. Most CPAs, to my knowledge, follow a different work plan than what is described by some other tax preparers. Most significant, we treat the tax return preparation review as a separate task than the tax return preparation. Some CPA offices have separate staff members for the preparation and review of tax returns. Each function might be by a different person with a different skill set or, in my case, I put the tax return aside overnight and review the work on a different day with a new set of eyes the next morning.  Typically I’ll try to defer non-tax financial planning issues until after tax season if that is possible. Confirmation of e-file acceptance is typically a day after your final approval, and payment of any balance due.

3) Pricing

I use a simple $100 (for simple return), $200 (average return), $300 (with manually produced schedules) pricing quote in advance. The actual pricing is based on a fee per form that are automatically calculated and I compare to what I expected. Usually it is the same. If the return is significantly different than what we expected at the start, then we need to talk about that.

It may be useful to know that the average rates charged by all levels of providers in the different regions of the country are available online. I check periodically to see that I am in line with these.

4) Communication

You choose the method of communication. I’m fine with however you choose to communicate and send information. Most clients prefer text message lately. I can work from cell phone photos but prefer if you use a scanning app. When sending documents to you I will use a private portal that is designed for maximum security and simplicity.

5) How to get started

Please call or text (856-265-0306) or email (tony@tonynovak.com) me to get started. Normally it makes sense to have a short conversation. If we agree that this service is a good match for you, then the rest of the tax return process is handled electronically. I’ll send a written engagement agreement with all the details included in black and white. There is no need to meet in person unless you want to; but I welcome that!

Podcast version:

Podcast

Instructions for 2019 individual tax return services

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