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Tax Questions Answered

Can I check the status of my Federal or California State refund?

Yes you can! Simply click below to be directed to the proper site.

Check on my Federal Refund

Check on my California State Refund

I missed the deadline to file my taxes, Can you help?

So the deadline came and went for filing your taxes. Don't worry, I can help you get back on track and get you up to date with your taxes; personal, small business, or corporate. The key is to get your paperwork filed as soon as possible. Call me today and I will bring you up to date.

Was your tax return prepared illegally by a non-registered "ghost preparer"?

The IRS recently started sending letters to preparers who are not legally registered to prepare tax returns and also to taxpayers who may have unknowingly used them. The IRS also is working to identify tax return preparers who make repeated errors. This is in response to a new program the IRS has instituted that mandates more training for basic tax preparers. (Certified Public Accountants, tax attorneys and Enrolled Agents, already have extensive training and are required to take continuing education courses). Paid preparers (that are not CPA's or EA's) now have the additional requirements to pass a competency exam and suitability check, which are expected to start this fall, and complete 15 hours of continuing education credits annually, which will start in 2012. Once qualified they will receive a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The IRS advises that "Some unscrupulous preparers may attempt to elude the new oversight program by not signing returns they prepare. Taxpayers should never use tax return preparers who refuse to sign returns and enter their PTIN's. The goal of the letters is to protect taxpayers by ensuring that all paid federal tax return preparers are registered with the IRS, and sign tax returns they prepare and use an identifying number when required to do so."

How can you find out if your taxes were prepared by a qualified tax preparer and not a "Ghost Preparer"? One of the best ways is to look at the signature page of your tax return. If it was prepared by a licensed tax preparer, it will have been signed by that person and will include that persons PTIN will be entered into the proper box. Make sure that the person's signature or name is who actually prepared your tax return (and not someone else in the office that signs all the returns). If you believe your tax return has been prepared by a non-qualified tax preparer, the IRS website has a section on how to file a complaint against preparers who failed to sign returns and explains how to choose a legitimate tax preparer. You can also contact us at Fulton Accounting and we would be glad to review your previous tax return to see if it was completed both by a qualified preparer and if you received all the deductions you deserved. Call us today to set up a free consultation with no obligation. Fulton Accounting, Reliable Accounting at an affordable price.


How to Choose the right preparer for your Tax Return

IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman advises "Taxpayers should protect themselves from unscrupulous preparers. There are some simple steps people can take to choose a reputable tax preparer."

The IRS offers these tips to keep in mind when picking your tax return preparer:

1. Be wary of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than others.
2. Avoid tax preparers who base their fees on a percentage of the refund.
3. Use a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides a copy.
4. Consider whether the individual or firm will be around months or years after the return has been filed to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return.

5. Check the person's credentials. Only enrolled agents, CPAs and attorneys can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other tax return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared.

6. Find out if the return preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and other resources and holds them to a code of ethics.

At Fulton Accounting, we have over 20 years of experience. As an Enrolled Agent and QuickBooks ProAdvisor®, we participate in continuing education to keep up to date with the current tax laws and get you all of the deductions you deserve. We provide complete accounting and bookkeeping services for your business and prepare personal as well as business tax returns. Call or email us today to discuss your situation and for a free consultation.

You can get more information about choosing a tax return preparer and avoiding fraud by reading IRS Fact Sheet 2010-03, How to Choose a Tax Preparer and Avoid Tax Fraud.


I am not sure my taxes were correct in previous years, can I correct them?

So you’ve discovered an error or determined that you are entitled to a previously unclaimed credit or deduction after your tax return has been filed. Should you amend your tax return?

The IRS usually corrects math errors or requests missing forms – such as W-2s or schedules – when processing an original return. In these instances, the IRS recommends not to amend your return. However, you
should file an amended return if any of the following were reported incorrectly:

Your filing status
Your dependents
Your total income
Your deductions or credits

If you owe additional taxes for previous years, you should file an amended return and pay the tax as soon as possible to limit interest and penalty charges. Interest is charged on any tax not paid by the due date of the original return, without regard to extensions. The sooner you take care of it, the less you owe!

Generally, to claim a refund, you must file within three years from the date you filed your original return. Contact me and I would be happy to discuss your particular situation with you.


Why should an accountant prepare financial statements for my business?

Complete and accurate financial record keeping is crucial to your business success. Good record keeping provides the financial data that will help you operate more efficiently. Accurate and complete records enable you to identify all your business assets, liabilities, income and expenses. That information helps you pinpoint both the strong and weak phases of your business operations. Having an accountant prepare your financial statements also allows you to focus more time on your business to maximize profits.

Good records are essential for the preparation of current financial statements including a balance sheet and profit and loss statement. These statements are critical for maintaining good relations with your banker. Good records help you avoid underpaying or overpaying your taxes. Good records are also essential if you hope to answer questions accurately and to the satisfaction of the IRS during an audit.

To assure your success, your financial records should show how much income you are generating now and project how much income can you expect to generate in the future. They should inform you of the amount of cash tied up in accounts receivable. Records also need to indicate what you owe for merchandise, rent, utilities, and equipment, as well as such expenses as payroll, payroll taxes, advertising, equipment and facilities maintenance, and benefit plans for yourself and employees. Records will tell you how much cash is on hand and how much is tied-up in inventory. They should reveal which of your product lines, departments, or service are making a profit, as well as your gross and net profit.

What is needed for a basic record keeping system? Documentation of bills that you have paid or still owe, invoicing for amounts customers owe to you, payroll costs, cash paid expenses, and bank statements are the records needed to make accurate financial statements. Fulton Accounting can develop the entire system most suitable for your business needs and train you in maintaining these records on a regular basis. These records will form the basis of your financial statements and tax returns and help you better manage your business to maximize profits.

Still have questions? Click the box below and send them to us for an answer.
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