Diane Q. Vaughn, CPA, LLCSpecializing in Small Businesses
Here are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions that we receive.
Do you work with start-up businesses?
Yes! Many of our clients have been with us since they started. We can lead you through the necessary governmental forms. In fact, we have a “Creating a Business Entity Checklist” that walks you through all of the steps to do in order to get your business up and running. And, through our network of professionals (lawyers, financial planners, etc.), we can assist in obtaining the other services that you may need to get your business off to a good start.
Is it necessary to use a lawyer or an accountant to get started?
Depending on what type of entity you choose for your business, a lawyer may be used to get the paperwork together and to prepare contracts to get you started. But, the first step is to determine what type of entity (C Corporation, S Corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship) your business should be as there are liability and tax issues to consider. Lawyers may not know all of the different tax laws that can apply to the different entities. A CPA can walk you through all of the choices and, working with a lawyer, can help you decide what type of business you should set up based on your unique situation.
What is an “engagement letter?”
Most CPAs require engagement letters to be signed to:
- Define the services the CPA is being engaged to perform;
- Identify engagement responsibilities of both the CPA and the client;
- Explain fees, billing, and payment terms; and
- Assure the client that additional services will not be initiated without advance approval.
Before we start preparing your tax return(s) or perform other services, we will either e-mail you or snail mail you an engagement letter for your review and signature. We will not begin work until we receive the signed engagement letter.
Am I required to fill out your 1040 Tax Organizer?
No, but the more organized you are, the more efficient we are and the lower your invoice from us will be. If you prefer to use a different approach in organizing your tax information, feel free to do so, but please complete the questions in the front of the Tax Organizer, and sign and return the Tax Organizer.
Do you offer free initial consultations?
Yes, we offer a free one-hour initial consultation. The consultation is a get-to-know-you meeting to gather information about you and/or your business while you find out more about us. Our services may not be a good fit for your situation and it is unfair for me to charge you.
How do you charge for your services?
Our fees for all services are computed based upon the complexity of the job and the amount of time required at our standard hourly rates, plus out-of-pocket expenses and travel time. When providing our services, if we can help you reduce our time, we will tell you how. For example, our “Tax Organizer” for individual tax returns is designed to assist you in organizing your tax information.
Do you offer e-filing? If so, how does it work?
Yes, we offer e-filing and most likely, you will be required to e-file. Our firm does NOT charge extra, as other firms do. Starting January 1, 2011, preparers who anticipate filing 100 or more (11 or more starting January 1, 2012) individual and trust tax returns are required to e-file the federal returns. We e-file most all tax returns that we prepare. E-file refunds are much faster than those sent through the mail. It’s not unusual to get your refunds directly deposited into your bank account in a week to 10 days (the IRS says 14 days but that’s usually the maximum).
If we e-file your tax returns, we will provide you with a copy (via our secure file exchange server or a paper copy) of the income tax returns for your review prior to electronic transmission. After you have reviewed the returns, you must provide us with signed authorizations (for both federal and state) indicating that you have reviewed the returns and that, to the best of your knowledge, they are correct. We cannot transmit the returns to the taxing authorities until we have the signed authorizations.