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CPA advice: reduce tax preparation fees on IRS Form 1040

Gary Bode, Wilmington NC CPA and tax accountant

Gary Bode, CPA: If you become uncomfortable while preparing your own tax returns, please consider calling us for a free consult at 399-2705

For a Simple Form 1040

Hand written returns are rare these days. I think it is still possible to self prepare an accurate Form 1040 without software.  If the return is simple enough IE just a few W-2s.

The IRS also affiliates with FreeFile which provides a basic free software if your Income is less than $57,000.  Here’s the limitation for self tax preparers of FreeFile, direct from the IRS website. 

Online Self Tax Preparation for IRS Form 1040

Taking your taxes into a chain  like Jackson-Hewitt, Liberty Tax Service or H&R Block is more expensive, generally speaking, than CPA firm fees.  And sometimes your own tax expertise is better than the chain preparers. But their tax software is all excellent, and you probably get the same software online as their retail outlet tax preparers do.  If you must file Schedule C tax IE as a sole propriortor or SMLLC, you should look for an online interview feature.  Check to see if the tax software, from TurboTax, Jackson-Hewett, Liberty Tax Service or H&R Block allows you to try it free.  Generally you pay if and when you file.  If your confidence fades as tax preparation proceeds, please consider calling us at 399-2705. 

QuickBooks Bookkeeping: Business Tax Return Preparation

Well organized QuickBooks bookkeeping reduces tax fees.  While we’re expert with Peachtree, Master Builder etc., few CPAs have enough of these clients to be as proficient as they are with Intuit QuickBooks.  QuickBooks helps lower your tax preparation fees.  However, we’ve seen plenty of QuickBooks bookkeeping that is less than adequate for IRS documentation.  But because QuickBooks is prevalent we’ve got the experience to quickly find and correct problems.

Shoebox Clients: poor documentation can increase tax preparation fees

Even though we’re a full service Wilmington NC CPA firm, we encourage good bookkeeping.  Solid accounting data is vital for good management.  But we’re happy to work shoe box cases.  It starts out with one of our QuickBooks bookkeepers doing a basic sort.  Followed by a CPA overview.  The receipts are then organized into QuickBooks bookkeeping, if we expect to do the tax preparation in future years, or, the client is ready to move up a notch organizationally. QuickBooks bookkeeping has the added advantage of importing accounting data into the tax program, if it is setup properly.

IRS Form 1120

Generally your local Wilmington NC CPA tax preparer will do this. But you can try the TurboTax version for IRS Form 1120 and NC CD405, and then call us at 399-2705 if you become uncomfortable. C Corporations are complex enough to warrant real expertise.  Tax positioning in the future is a main concern, at least for us. For example, 2010 is the last year favorable taxation on dividends exists.  A good CPA tax preparer balanced factors including E&P, AET (which is expected to increase 5%), dividends and shareholder-employee compensation, to help minimize Form 1120 liability in 2011 and beyond. 

IRS Form 1120S

Again, generally, your local Wilmington NC CPA prepares your company’s S Corporation return.  But TurboTax has a Form 1120S version if you want to try it.   You buy another TurboTax module for NC CD401S.  Please consider calling us if you get uncomfortable at 399-2705.  These returns are as complex as Form 1120 and require CPA expertise.  We don’t reccommend retail tax chains on site tax preparation: Jackson-Hewitt, Liberty Tax Service, H&R Block, Zip-Zap etc because they only specialize in IRS Form 1040.

Remember with tax preparation of Form 1120, Form 1120S and Form 1065, it’s not just the current year you’re paying for.  Tax positioning for following tax years is part of our service. 

LLC Tax Preparation

Please see IRS Form 1120S (NC CD401S) or IRS Form 1065 (NC CD403): LLCs are generally taxed as S Corporations or partnerships.  Single member LLCs (SMLLC) can file as a Schedule C company.  So the LLC is more of a legal distinction since tax preparation follows these other forms.  Tax planning varies as each of these taxation methods is so different. Choice of entity warrant a proactive consult with local Wilmington NC CPA firm or attorney. 

Form 1065 Partnership Tax Preparation

IRS Form 1065 and NC D403 for Partnerships require ongoing tax education and probably should be prepared by your CPA Wilmington NC. 

As a Wilmington NC CPA tax prepation firm, we understand many folks can prepare their own IRS Form 1040 using Turbotax.  If you become uncomfortable during that process, please consider calling us at (910) 399-2705.