We’re excited to work with you this tax season! Here are a few frequently asked questions we’ve heard over the years. Have a question you want to add to the list? Leave us a comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
How do I get my tax forms and other documents to Revel?
We use an online tax organizer called IntuitLink. After connecting with Revel, you will get an email directly from that system, so searching your email inbox for “IntuitLink” will pull it up. You’ll need to create a login for that portal and for security, there can only be one email associated with a given tax client. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to both answer important background questions and upload PDFs or images of important tax documents like W2s, 1099s, and previous years’ returns if you’re new. If anything about this process is inaccessible to you, just send a note to us and we’ll create an alternate solution for you.
How do you price the tax prep services?
Our individual returns are priced based on the forms and schedules involved in your return. At Revel we believe in 100% transparent pricing, so you can calculate your return fee ahead of time using the form on our website or by clicking the button below. This is the same calculator we use to price the returns when we meet.
For business returns, there’s one all-inclusive price covering all necessary states that are based on revenue range (or annual spend if you’re a start-up). The calculator is also available directly online or you can click the button below to get started.
Should I file Married Filing Separate (MFS)? Or Married Filing Jointly (MFJ)?
This is a complex question, but it’s an important one to answer and people often think they’re better off filling separately when that’s so rarely the case. Check out this article we wrote on the topic to get some more insight before getting started on your tax prep this year.
Will the returns be e-filed? Or how do I mail in my return if I need to?
Yes, generally speaking we try to e-file returns whenever possible. In some rare cases that might not be possible because the state or locality doesn’t allow for e-file of a certain return, or because there’s something unique about your return that is requiring it to be filed on paper (eg you have a spouse without a social security number). In those cases we will provide you with a PDF that you can print out, and instructions on where to sign and how to mail it in. If you’re sending the returns by mail, don’t miss this article with important tips on that process.
What do I do if I can’t pay all the taxes I owe this year?
It happens for all kinds of reasons, and you have options. We’d suggest you read this article outlining our general strategy/approach to these kinds of situations. We outline five options to explore as you developing your plan. Feeling unsure about your next steps? We’re always here to provide specific guidance as well.
How do I make payments on any balances due to the IRS or other agencies?
The IRS has a very reliable website now where you can make payments on past years, the current year, or make estimated payments toward your next tax filing. We strongly recommend the Direct Pay option, which is basically like an ACH payment or e-check. It’s debited from your bank account and has no fees associated with it.
There are 3rd parties authorized to allow credit card payments for taxes, but they often charge a significant fee on top of the actual tax owed. If you’re not going to pay it off right away, we especially recommend requesting an installment agreement with the IRS. And almost every state agency also has a method to make payments online. Search “STATENAME department of revenue” on the web to find yours.
If you’re having trouble with ANY of these sites in authenticating who you are, make sure that your name and address and other info you’re providing match EXACTLY (every space and period and comma) to what was on your most recently filed return.
What if I don’t have all my tax forms yet?
We’re likely not going to be able to get very far in preparing your return if you don’t have all the relevant forms, so do your best to reach out to those banks, investment brokerages, etc, to collect them. And if you’re really not able to get them in time, reach out to Revel and ask us to file an extension on your behalf. Filing an extension will give you up to six additional months to file the required paperwork and help you avoid failure-to-file penalties, which can add up to 25% of the tax due.
How do I get information about my business activity to Revel?
The best way to get us access to your business activity is to give us access to your cloud-based accounting system. If you’re a currently monthly client of ours, we already have access to that, so there’s nothing you need to do. But if you keep up your own books in Xero or QBO, please send us an invite as a new user so we can pull the reports we need to prepare your return.
And if you’re not using a cloud-based accounting system yet because you’re self-employed and would like a simple spreadsheet that can help you organize your transactions and bucket them into useful categories, we’ve created a free template for you to use! Click the button below for your copy.
What if I have tax-related questions during the year? Can I reach out to you?
Of course! We hope you will. Many questions can be answered with a quick email or a short phone call, and we welcome those anytime. If you have a more significant or complicated need, we might ask that you book an hour of time with a CPA to give the issue it’s proper attention. But we don’t charge for correspondence time.
What happens if my return gets selected for audit or if I get a notice in the mail?
Step one: breathe! Step two: send us a copy of whatever you received. We’ll review it and get back to you with the next steps. Just know that not every notice means something is actually owed or is actually missing–paperwork and clerical errors happen all the time with the IRS and the various states. So our first step is always to review the notice and to make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding. It’s incredibly rare, but in the event that something is owed due to our error or oversight, we will take responsibility and cover the cost of any penalties or interest resulting directly from our error. In our experience, though, most notices arise because of either a misunderstanding or because of information that wasn’t made available to us when we prepared your return.
What are the most common reasons for notices?
Calculation of interest (or underpayment of estimates penalties) on your balance: We often aren’t able to calculate with 100% accuracy the interest that might arise from you a) filing a return late, b) paying your balance due late, or c) not making estimated payments throughout the year on time. So we’ll file the return for you and have you pay the principal amount due, but there’s often a separate bill that comes for the interest related to that tax.
The IRS had a copy of a document that we didn’t get and are issuing a correction: Maybe there was a 1099 that didn’t make it to you in the mail, or you simply forgot about that student loan form. If the IRS was issued a copy of that form, they’ll often make the adjustment and correction, and then send you a bill for the resulting additional tax. Please still send us these notices, because particularly in the case of additional income, there can sometimes be additional expenses to report as well.
They’re fishing for a return that doesn’t exist: This is particularly common at the state level and is a practice we wish was outlawed. It works like this… You create your business in January of 20X1. You start filing your payroll tax forms each quarter. Then 12-18 months later, say, July of 20X2, you get a notice in the mail from the state. They say they don’t have your Q4 20X0 payroll tax return. And based on estimates from other returns you’ve filed, you owe them $XXXX plus interest. Except the thing is you weren’t even in business then. Sadly, too often clients are just worried about doing something wrong–or they just don’t remember–and they pay the notice. So as always, the moral here is: send us us the notice before paying anything!
Why do you need a copy of my return from last year?
That’s a great question! We have a handy little article (and video) about that very topic!
Will you file an extension for me?
Yes, we file extensions for clients at no charge, assuming we’re going to ultimately prepare and file the return for you. Please don’t assume extensions will be filed for you just because we’ve worked together in the past and make sure that you’re communicating with the Revel team about your needs!
What are the most common mistakes you see people make?
In all these years, it feels like we’ve seen it all. And then people will always continue to surprise you! But we’ve compiled a list of top mistakes we see folks making both in their books for the business as well as in tax filings and if it’s helpful to review before working with us the first time, you can give it a read right here.
How long will it take for my return to be prepared?
That depends on how much information there is to get entered and on how well your documents are organized. A general rule would be about a week for a personal return and about two weeks for a business return. But if there’s a significant rush, ask us if we can make it happen and we’ll do the best we can. It’ll usually take at least 48 hours at a minimum.
Can you file returns for me in every state?
Yes, we are able to and will file returns for you in any state that you are required to. As for helping you determine which states that is, that’s a question that’s best discussed with your tax preparer so you get specific guidance.
What should I do if there’s a significant change coming this year that’s going to impact my personal tax situation?
Life happens. You move, get married, get unmarried, have children, change jobs, get inheritances, you name it and it could impact your pocket. So if there are things happening that you think will have a significant impact on your personal taxes (especially if you pay estimated taxes), it’s best to book a mid-year tax planning session to talk through those details. If you’re not sure whether the change warrants planning, just send us a note with some specifics and we’ll let you know!
Where do I go to get a status on my refund?
The best place to check for the IRS is here on their website. We as the preparer don’t have any more accurate or up-to-date information than what is listed on that site. If you find yourself checking often, they also make a fairly decent mobile app that allows you to check your status. Each state department of revenue also has means of checking status, whether online or by phone. So check the state department of revenue website for those details.