Annual client letter – 2021

Welcome to another tax season!  We hope the IRS will not be such a “hot mess” as last year!

There was a lot of confusion with the mid-season tax law changes, and many clients experienced very long delays in their refunds.  For the first time we had to stop taking new clients, since even normal returns were taking so long to complete.

We want to have a quick turn-around time to complete your tax forms.  We are trying to limit hourly face-to-face appointments to just new clients, and those who have started/closed a business.  If you have a question or want a brief discussion, we will make time for you.

We have not raised our fees for a while, and unfortunately due to rising costs we will need to raise them by an additional $10 for the 2021 tax year. Our new rate will be a flat fee of $185 which includes all federal, state, and local forms.  We charge an additional $55 for small businesses (schedule “C”) and also for landlords (schedule “E”).  Larger partnerships and corporations are priced independently.

Round 3 stimulus ($1,400 per person) – Similar to last year, we will need to know if you received a stimulus payment for round 3 and how much.  This is important, as this was one of the causes for long delays in refunds last tax season.  The stimulus is NOT taxable income, but if you did not receive it (but should have) you get an extra credit added to your tax forms. This will increase your refund or reduce the amount you owe.

Please note that we will have to assume that you did get the full stimulus unless you can show that you did not, by reviewing your March and April 2021 bank statements.  If you report that you did not receive the round 3 stimulus (but really did) the IRS will require the credit to be repaid along with penalties and interest.

Advance Child Tax Credit – Those with dependent children received an advance credit spread out in monthly payments starting last July (unless you opted out).  The IRS will be sending you a letter in January which details the payments you received, and it is important that you include this letter in your documents for us.  This was not the same as the stimulus payments, but an advance on the refund you normally get when you file your taxes in the spring.

Also know that not having the advance payments listed correctly on your tax form will most likely create a very long delay in getting your refunds issued!  You can verify your payments on the IRS website here:        www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal

Checklists – We have created some checklists on our website to help when gathering your relevant documents. Under the “resources” tab, choose “appointment checklists” and you will see three different choices for personal, business, and landlords.

In the past, the most commonly missed or forgotten documents were for those who had a Health Savings Account (HSA).  The fund will send you two documents, one for your contributions and another for withdrawals.

Also, if you are a college student, or have a dependent child in college, don’t forget the 1098-T tuition form.  Most colleges no longer mail these but require you to log into your student online account to retrieve the form.

We caution everyone not to wait until the deadline date to file.  There may be a circumstance or illness that may prevent me from working on the last few days.  Even if you believe you might owe at tax time, the payment is not due until April 15th.  If the actual filing date worries you, we can still complete your calculations and forms… but not actually file until mid-April.

 

We are suggesting that all clients get an online account with the IRS at their new website:       https://api.id.me/en/registration/new

With last year’s confusion about the unemployment changes, stimulus payments, and looooong delays for many refunds, an online account with the IRS allows us to very quickly pull your account transcripts to find out what happened.  It can also help us to immediately review estimated payments you made and help us quickly resolve multiple issues.

Another great IRS site to use is:  www.irs.gov/refunds

After we e-file, many clients ask about the status of their refund (especially last year).  At this IRS web page, you can enter some basic identifying information and they will show you how far along they are in processing your return and refund.

Tim & Chris