Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps in the tax preparation process with Lottsa?
The process begins with receiving your tax information. New clients will meet with a staff member, probably by Zoom. Returning clients can schedule a meeting or can provide their materials by mail, drop off, or secure file-sharing service. If your situation is complicated or has changed significantly since the prior tax year, a meeting is strongly recommended. One of our staff preparers may sit in on the meeting if agreeable to you. You will not be charged for both people’s time.
A staff preparer will make an initial data entry run through your tax materials. If there are missing or unclear items, you will be contacted and asked to fill in the gaps.
Once deemed ready, an experienced employee will review your return. If the file is complete and no additional information is needed, we’ll get it printed and right out to you. Often there will be some additional questions or decisions to make about some tax matter. You’ll receive our inquiry on this, and we’ll wrap it when we’re complete. We’ll provide the tax return to client in format they select, with special handling if we’re pushing up against any deadlines. An invoice will follow – payment is due upon receipt.
If I want to retain Lottsa to prepare a personal tax return (1040), what should I do?
Contact us as soon as possible. We’ll provide you with some organizing materials to help you prepare and we’ll set up an appointment to review the materials together.
As a new client, what materials will you need to prepare my personal tax return?
We’ll need a copy of the prior year’s tax return and your (and, if applicable, your spouse’s) driver’s license or identification card. We’ll also want your W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s — all the things you’ve received that say “Important Tax Information.” Additionally, you’ll have to provide revenues and expenses from your small business and/or rental property activity if those apply to you. Filling out our tax organizer is also required.
This is our business entity's first year. Is there anything special we need to provide?
In addition to the above, we’ll want to receive names, addresses, and ID #s for all the principals in the company. A copy of the letters from tax authorities granting ID #s is helpful, and for S corporations we want both the 2553 filed with the IRS and their letter to you granting the S status to the corporation.
We will need copies of your Certificate of Organization, Organizing Documents, and Operating Agreements. These help us to have confidence that our recommendations are consistent with your structure.
Beyond that, you will want to document the costs paid with personal funds while the entity was being formed and was in its start-up phase.
What if I'm merely considering Lottsa as a tax service provider?
Not Applicable mid-December to April 30. We can meet by phone, Zoom, or in person to discuss your needs and our ability to meet them. This is not billable time. We’ll spend up to 30 minutes with you so that both parties can determine whether we’re likely to have a fruitful and productive working relationship.
What kind of turn-around time can I expect?
We strive to work on your file within three weeks of receipt. Files received in late January and very early February will get quicker treatment since there is less backlog. Historically, by mid-February we’re usually at three weeks or more lead time. The actual result depends on the number and complexity of the tax returns received ahead of yours.
What do you need from me to prepare a tax return for my business entity (corporation, LLC, partnership, trust, estate)?
We will want a copy of your most recently filed tax return along with a copy of your organizing documents. In addition, we will want a copy of your accounting records for the tax year as an electronic data file, in print, or both. Bank and credit card statements for the entire year will provide necessary support, and we will want copies of any payroll tax reporting and 1099 forms issued for the year.
It's getting to be the middle or end of March, and I'm just getting my personal tax information together. Can you still do my taxes?
Respecting the clients ahead of you and with an eye to self-care, we’ll only prepare them under extension. If you get the tax information to us by March 15, 2021, our staff will likely have time to complete your return so that you can file on time.
If the data is incomplete, we receive it after the above date, or work simply hasn’t moved through as quickly as expected, we will prepare Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File. This will give you until October 15, 2021, to file the return. However, if you owe money for the 2020 tax year, the balance is due on April 15, 2021 along with the form 4868. You are getting an extension of time to file, not to pay. If you have a balance due when you file after April 15, penalties and interest will be due.
Are there any discount programs to make the fees more manageable?
We offer a 10% “Earlybird Discount” to any individual who has all their tax materials in our office by February 10, 2021. There is a $75 new client discount when you let us know who suggested that you utilize our services.
If fees are truly a barrier to receiving the services that you need from us, then you can discuss your circumstances with us. It is possible that we’ll give you a break on the fees, but you have to ask.
I know that I owe IRS money and I don't have it. Should I wait to file until I have gathered the funds?
No! There is a 5% per month penalty for late filing, which is easily avoided by filing the tax return itself or by filing an extension, even if you cannot pay the amount due.
I am expecting a refund. How long after I return the signed e-file form to you will it be until the funds are received?
Most refunds are being received in seven to 14 days via direct deposit. If you request refund by check, add seven days to all the above. MN Property Tax refunds are never sent out until mid-August at the soonest and disbursement continues into September. Sometimes identity issues, very large over-payments, and various other facts conspire to delay refunds.
I understand that you use electronic filing for individual tax returns. How does that work?
We will provide you with a complete printed or PDF copy of your tax return for review. Enclosed will be form 8879, IRS E-File signature authorization. If you agree that the tax return we prepared for you is correct, sign the form and return it to our office. Upon receipt of your signed form, we will transmit the tax return to the IRS and to the state(s). If there are questions or concerns about the tax return, contact us right away to get those resolved.
I notice that Scott and Daniel are "E.A.s". What is an E.A.?
Enrolled Agent (E.A.) is a designation conferred by IRS after passing a rigorous exam in taxation while satisfying various ethical standards and meeting continuing education requirements. It means that we’re enrolled to practice before the IRS and to act as the representative (agent) of the taxpayer.