Frequently Asked Questions about Working with Us
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Your Questions Answered
What types of tax returns do you prepare?
We prepare tax returns for all types of entities including individuals, partnerships, limited liability companies, estates, trusts, corporations (including S corporations), and retirement benefit plans.
We prepare income tax returns, sales tax returns, payroll tax returns, and other special tax forms.
We prepare federal tax returns and returns for all the states. We generally do not prepare tax returns for other countries.
Who will work on my tax return or financial statements?
Our staff consists primarily of certified public accountants, and all of our professional staff have college degrees and multiple years of experience. Please see About Us
for a list of our individual qualifications.
We also are fortunate to have long-standing relationships with two California certified tax preparers. These two individuals provide assistance during tax season or when we have a special project best suited to their skills.
All tax returns and other work are reviewed by one of our most experienced accounting professionals.
Can you help me with QuickBooks?
Most of our small business clients use QuickBooks, and we can help with setup and accounting on a QuickBooks system and have a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor on staff. We also can refer you to an independent bookkeeper who can come to your business and provide monthly or quarterly bookkeeping services.
Will you give me some advice on stocks and investments?
Our professionals are not licensed for investment advice. Maintaining expertise in the stock market to render investment advice is a full-time job. We can assist with investments in the following ways:
- Provide several referrals for investment professionals, so you can find one that is a good fit for your needs.
- Review investment options to provide you with the tax consequences of each investment.
- Read partnership, LLC, or other offering documents and discuss economic and tax ramifications of each one.
- Assist in all related tax and estate planning based on your portfolio.
- Answer questions about types of investments
How do you charge for your services?
Although we provide our clients with tax returns, tax projections, financial statements, or other documents, our real product is the quality of education, knowledge, and client service that make those documents possible.
Like most accountants, we base our fees on the time required to complete each project and the hourly rates assigned to the people involved in the process. Unlike many accountants, we have various billing rates for each employee, depending on the services provided. That results in lower charges for our clients when a CPA works on bookkeeping or does other tasks not requiring professional level education or experience.
What are your hourly rates?
Our current employee hourly rates range from $137 - $286. The highest rates generally apply to complex matters such as tax-deferred exchanges or corporate and other entity tax preparation, such as estate tax returns. The lowest rates are used for bookkeeping matters or other projects not requiring our highest level of experience and expertise. Learn more about us.
Do you have a minimum charge for a tax return?
Our minimum fee for a tax return is $450.
Do you charge for postage, copies or other costs?
We do not bill separately for postage, but charges may be assessed for unusual messenger services or special mailing (i.e. Federal Express) charges.
We do include an administrative charge in our invoices for each tax return, to cover our costs for computer processing, assembly, and other costs. The current administrative charge is between $81 and $173, depending on the type of return and assembly requirements.
Multiple state returns and returns with estimated tax payment forms require additional assembly procedures, as well as additional time for preparation of the forms.
We do not charge separately for electronically filing your tax returns. It is part of the administrative charge noted above.
Do you charge for telephone and email questions?
While we generally do not charge for brief (approximately 5 minutes) phone calls or email replies, we do charge if additional time is required. Since many busy clients prefer to consult with us via email and telephone we find that more and more of our time is spent answering telephone and email questions. We recognize that coming to the office is time consuming and are happy to accommodate our clients who use these alternate forms of contact. It does not eliminate our charges for those consultations, unless the discussions or email replies are short and infrequent.
Do I need to meet with you to get my tax return done?
A tax interview is optional. Since it adds to the cost of tax preparation, many of our clients simply mail or drop off their tax organizer package. We will call with any questions. When we mail our tax organizer package, we always include a sheet for your questions so that you have a chance to ask us anything you might otherwise ask in a conference.
If you do want to meet with us, please call in advance since our calendars fill up quickly in March and April. One of our experienced professionals will be happy to meet with you and answer your questions. Learn more about contacting us
As your CPAs, we collect information provided by you from your tax organizer, worksheets, documents and discussions. We also collect information that we develop as part of our work.
As your CPAs, we are required to keep all information about our engagement confidential and we will not disclose any information about you unless we have your approval or are required/permitted by law. This applies even if you are no longer a client.
As your CPAs, we are committed to safekeeping of your confidential information and we maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your information.
How do you handle e-mail, faxes, and telephone calls?
The use of phone, fax, and e-mails has increased each year. Like many of our clients, we think these methods of communication result in increased efficiency. They are important to us because they let us improve client service.
However, phone calls, faxes, and e-mails take time. Whether we respond to questions asked in the conference room, on the phone, or via e-mail, we need the same level of knowledge and expertise. Often the issues addressed in calls, faxes, or e-mail require tax research or a review of the client’s files so that we can provide an appropriate response. We often follow-up with correspondence or sending information.
Accordingly, we may charge for responses to phone calls, faxes and e-mails, based on the time required. Learn more about contacting us.
How do you handle copying and storage?
We are often asked to provide copies of prior years' tax returns or other documents. Sometimes we incur storage retrieval charges if the related files are in storage. We may request reimbursement for our costs.
How long do you keep my records?
We retain paper or computer/electronic copies of our clients' tax returns and financial statements for seven years from the due date of the tax return. Copies of bookkeeping or payroll records are retained for five years. Destruction of bookkeeping files or files from former clients may occur after five years.
How do you handle invoices, payments, and collection?
Invoices are submitted monthly and are due and payable upon receipt.
We accept Visa and MasterCard. Credit card authorization forms are enclosed with each invoice so that we can charge your account.
We are always available to discuss invoices and will accommodate payment arrangements upon request. Whenever appropriate, we use the services of an outside collection service.
Please contact Dee Dee Bridgens with questions regarding invoices. She can answer most billing inquiries and will refer any other questions to the appropriate billing partner.
What are your office hours?
Our regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. During tax season, we are at the office for many more hours and can accommodate late meetings and Saturday interviews if they are arranged in advance.
Where is your office located?
Our offices are conveniently located in San Diego’s Mission Valley area. Our contact information and a clickable picture of our building appear on our contact page
. You’ll also find contact information at the bottom of every page on this web site.
How long should I keep my tax records?
When do I have to provide my information if I don't want to go on extension?
We make every effort to complete the returns we receive throughout the filing season. However, we do prepare all returns on a first come first serve basis and we can not predict the number or complexity of returns that may arrive before yours. For that reason any returns received after March 15 may need to go on extension. Even if your information is not complete we encourage you to send it in early so you do not have to wait for us to start on it.
Many clients plan vacations around spring break for schools. Those taxpayers should be sure they bring their information into the office at least 3 weeks before they plan to leave town. Be sure and let us know if you have deadlines other than April 15.