FAQs

What do I need to bring when I am having my taxes prepared?

Following is a list of the more common items you should bring if you have them.

And any other items that you think may be necessary for your taxes.

How long do I keep my records and tax returns?

You should keep your records and tax returns for at least 3 years from the date the return was filed or the date the return was required to be filed, whichever is later. It is recommended that you keep these records longer if possible.

What are the consequences of early withdrawals from my retirement plans?


If you withdraw money from a 401(k) or an IRA before age 59 ½, the distribution is taxable and there is a 10% penalty on the taxable amount. The main exceptions that let you withdraw money early without penalty are as follows:

Qualified distributions to reservists while serving on active duty for at least 180 days.

What college expenses may I deduct?

There are several ways you can claim deductions for college expenses on your tax return. They are the tuition deduction, the HOPE credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit. If we are preparing your return we will determine which ones you qualify for and which one gives you the greatest tax benefit.

What medical expenses are deductible?

A deduction is allowed only for expenses paid for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness. Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or treatment affecting any structure or function of the body. Except for insulin, only prescription drugs are deductible. The cost of health insurance is deductible. You may also deduct the cost of traveling to and from the care provider. You can deduct only the part of your medical and dental expenses that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

What do I need to keep for my charitable contributions?

I haven’t been filing my tax returns what should I do?

First, you must determine if you were required to file in the years you did not file. There are many different items that could figure into this—such as your filing status, your sources of income, whether you had any tax withheld, etc. This is a link to the IRS instructions for filing requirements for 2007: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html. If you determine you should have filed, contact us and we can handle all of your prior year filings. It is very important that you do not just continue to not file. If you owe money the penalties for not filing are high. If you are owed a refund you will lose your claim to it 3 years after the due date of the return.

When can I make contributions to my IRA?

Generally for any tax year, you can make a contribution to your IRA up until the original due date of the return (usually April 15). Thus for tax year 2007, you can make contributions from January 1, 2007 through April 15, 2008.

What are the tax consequences of selling a home?

If I buy a new home, can I deduct my moving expenses?

You can claim this deduction even if you expect to work but haven’t started working at the time you file your return.

Expenses you can deduct are transportation and storage of household goods and personal items and travel including lodging from your old home to your new home. Expenses of trips for house hunting are not deductible.

If your employer reimburses you for these expenses, your deduction may be limited. If you spent less than the reimbursement you will have to report a portion for income. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions about these rules.

I owe the IRS money. What are my options?


If you can afford to pay the amount you owe, it should be paid. But many times that is not the case. If you cannot afford to pay, you have several options. Ignoring the IRS should not be one of them!

What do I do if I receive a notice from the IRS about my taxes?

Don’t panic! the first thing to do is carefully read the notice—to determine why it was sent, what the IRS is requesting, and what they want you to do. It may be nothing of importance; it may even be a notice in your favor. After reading it you should bring it to our attention. 

How should I keep records for my business driving?

Keep a log in your vehicle and record the purpose and mileage of each trip. You also need to record the odometer readings at the beginning and end of each year, as the IRS will ask you for total miles driven during the year. Keep your repair bills as these normally record odometer readings when the car is serviced.

Can I deduct expenses for a business run out of my home?

If you use a portion of your home for business purposes, you may be able to take a home office deduction whether you are self-employed or an employee. Expenses you may be able to deduct for business use of your home may include the business portion of real estate taxes, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, insurance, depreciation, painting, and repairs.

You can claim this deduction only if you use a part of your home regularly and exclusively:

What is depreciation?

For tax purposes, depreciation is the expensing of the cost of an item over its estimated useful life. If property you acquire to use in your business is expected to last more than one year, you generally cannot deduct the entire cost as a business expense in the year you acquire it. You must spread the cost over more than one tax year and deduct part of it each year. This method of deducting the cost of business property is called depreciation. There are many different methods of depreciation and other rules that allow you to claim the expense in one year.