"Then give to the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you."
– Madeline Bridges

Before I get to what I wrote this week, I wanted you to know that there are a few important "announcements", following my Note, which affect your tax situation for 2010 (i.e. the taxes we’re helping you prepare NOW), or for this year.

I’m always fascinated by the "behind the scenes" of what happens in different businesses. For instance, I wonder what the board meetings are really like for professional sports teams, for tv stations. Some people think about the teams, the shows … I find myself thinking a lot about the business behind them. That’s just how I’m wired.

Well, one of the "behind the scenes" aspects of OUR work is our interaction with other tax professionals. We go to conferences (put on by the IRS, etc.), we share strategy with one another (unless we’re in fierce local competition — but even then, I make it a point to be giving), and we often get to see each other’s work (reviewing returns).

But one of the problems with many tax professionals are the "terms" by which they operate, and a  lack of communication about what happens when … well, read on.

Alan K. Newcomb’s
"Real World" Personal Strategy

When The Tax Return is Wrong

Do you have a tax accountant who guarantees their work…in writing?

Sure, some guys might say: "We’ll make it right if we screw up", but then the stuff hits the fan and they fight you every step of the way. 

I’ve heard too many horror stories about taxpayers getting a letter from the IRS, then they take it to their accountant, and then the letter sits on a desk gathering dust. 

Or stories about the CPA who makes some calls on your behalf, but then you get charged an arm and a leg in the process.  Or sadly, a taxpayer doesn’t get any help from the person who prepared their taxes for them so they "go it alone", call the IRS themselves and have to try to figure out what to do and not to do during this normally ugly IRS correspondence … THIS can be a nightmare!  
     
Don’t let that happen to you. You need to have a written understanding with your tax professional that you won’t be left in the lurch. Oh, and also-does this guarantee actually do something you want it to?

I’ve seen some accountants guarantee they will file your taxes for you by April 15th or they will file an extension for you.  Well…great!  That sure makes you feel good in the morning, doesn’t it?   Other weak guarantees I’ve seen in the tax industry are, "We guarantee we will begin preparing your tax return the same day we meet with you." 

That means nothing to me.  I don’t care when you start preparing my taxes.  I want to know how long it is going to take you to finish it and do so without leaving out silly errors you know you should have caught. 
 
So remember:  the guarantees should be in areas you care about, like:

Tax Return Accuracy … Speed of Service … Most Money Legally Yours … Ongoing IRS Protection For Years After Filing …

These are the things YOU care about!  Make sure the tax professional you choose stands behind these critical areas of tax filing so you get the most out of your tax filing experience.

Now for those announcements:

1) There are (literally) BILLIONS of dollars in unclaimed refund money available from the IRS from 2007 returns. Here’s the catch: You must claim it by April 18th, 2011. How do you do that? Have us take a look at your return, and file an amendment if we find something which needs changing, updating, etc. There are all kinds of reasons why this might be — suffice to say that nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Or, alternatively, there are people who simply didn’t FILE a return, but just trusted that the taxes withheld from paychecks was correct. Oops — that’s where the IRS gets the billions figure, because there are unclaimed refunds due to unfiled returns.

Either way, we can help (and routinely do). Call us: (618) 532-7223

2) About that deadline: We have three extra days to work on your information this year, but this does NOT mean that you should procrastinate!

The three extra days have been added because of Emancipation Day, which is a little-known Washington, DC holiday that celebrates the freeing of slaves in the district. The holiday actually falls on Saturday, April 16 this year, but will officially be observed on Friday, April 15. As a result, the IRS pushed the filing deadline to Monday, April 18 – since the tax code states that filing deadlines can’t fall on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.

Despite this short extension, the federal filing deadline is approaching quickly. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your paper work in order.

With gratitude for your trust!