Avoid bank products like rapid or “instant” refunds. These are very costly and the cost is somewhat hidden. They are costly because you aren’t really getting your refund, but a short term loan. These loans must go through a bank or other intermediary, and they charge a substantial fee. They have risk, because your refund may not be issued. If you owe back taxes, child support, or student loans, your refund will be taken to pay those debts. Or, your refund may be held up unexpectedly due to things beyond your control (e.g., identity theft, someone else claimed your dependent, etc). So the bank fees are substantial. They are somewhat hidden, buried in your payment, and you might not realize it. If your refund was supposed to be $5300, and their fees are $300, you will only receive $5000. You may think a $5000 is great, and want it right now! But you just paid $300 for your tax return preparation.
Be careful with “zero up front cost” products. Also called a refund transfer, this product does not give you money right away, but gets your tax return prepared with no up-front cost to you The tax preparation fee is deducted from your refund before you receive it. While there are situations where this may be a good fit, often it is overused. The additional fees approach $100, and most refunds are issued by the IRS in 2-3 weeks.
Have supplemental information summarized and ready for us to enter on the tax return. We are happy to total your receipts for you or research cost basis on a stock sale; however, keep in mind there is an additional charge for these time consuming services. Please open your envelopes.
Talk to us before making certain business decisions. Forming an LLC, for example, can have a significant impact on your tax prep fee if you create a multi-member LLC rather than a single member LLC.