Thomas E. Healy
Certified Public Accountant, PC
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Tax Services Introduction (skip to Tax Services)

by Thomas E. Healy
Construction When I was a lot younger, I looked for ways to save money; one way was to build home improvements myself. For example, I built a closet, closed off some windows, and added foam insulation in the “sleeping porch” across the back of our home so our son would have a bedroom that was reasonably warm in the winter. It also included Thermax shutters on the remaining windows. That resulted in things that created problems later on.
Fast-forward to 1998. Now we were more interested in a remodel “done right” so we hired professionals to help us through the process. While we were still involved in making myriad decisions, we were free to use our time for other pursuits. I still had my office at home, and some of you will remember meeting in the midst of the construction dust. Since that only involved the main level and the garage, we chose to continue to live in the home!

 In 2008 we began a second remodel, primarily involving the second floor (see picture). This time we chose to move to a townhome during the construction — much more pleasant!
Red Line
Tax frustration So, what does that have to do with tax return preparation? When you are young, without a lot of tax issues, it may take only an hour or so to prepare a Form 1040-EZ or Form 1040A. Once you own a home, you graduate to the more complex standard tax form, the 1040, with one or more additional schedules. The time comes when you realize you are spending a lot more time getting the return done, especially if you are uncertain how an item should be treated; you  have to spend time researching the tax law. You begin to worry that you might not be handling things correctly, and fear that one day that dreaded letter from the IRS arrives.

I used a paid preparer once. I had just gotten my Ph. D. in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Colorado, and was hired by Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah to teach chemistry and other physical sciences. I thought to myself, “I know how to do the federal and Colorado tax returns, but I’m not sure about Utah.” So I had one of those come-to-your-home preparers to do our tax returns.. This was well before the days of computer processing, so the return was done on paper. Afterwards, as I looked at the returns, I realized, “I could have done that myself, too!” But it took nearly another decade before I had changed careers and began preparing tax returns for a living.
Red Line

The people who seem to have the hardest time giving up preparing their own returns are engineers and scientists (as was I before my career change!). After all, “it’s only numbers!” Would that it were so simple. Once you put the figures in the tax software, it will come up with a tax “bottom line.” But are you putting them in the best place? That’s the part of taxation that isn’t "just numbers."

When I started as a CPA over 30 years ago, tax laws changed about every two years. But now it seems that almost every bill that Congress passes has an impact on taxes. I have to keep up with all those changes, at least to the extent of knowing how to research a specific problem in light of the tax code. Many of the rules aren’t “logical.” They just “are.” If you’ve grown up with alcoholic parents, you know that you had to follow their rules whether they make sense or not; Congress is the country's alcoholic parent! Mr. Spock wouldn’t make a good tax accountant.

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Tax Day

If you are spending more than an evening, do you enjoy the time, or could you use it for a different avocation (gardening, for example), spending time with your family, or doing what you do best? Maybe it's time to think about some changes in how you do things.
Why Pick Me to be your Tax Preparer?
You have complex issues in your tax return (my minimum fee of $700 is pretty steep for a simple tax return, and there are other CPAs who can handle your return for less. That being said, I do have a number of clients who nonetheless prefer to select me);
You want someone who considers multi-year effects of decisions you make regarding your taxes;
You want someone who involves you in tax decisions (at least to the extent you understand them);
You want someone to turn to when you need to discuss other financial matters (or anything else, for that matter—for example, a client once came to me to talk about his wife's Alzheimer's disease).
You want someone who tries to keep your taxes as low as legally possible, consistent with the economic and audit risks you are willing to take on.

Tax Services

For You

For Your Small Business

For Everyone

Link to Individual tax preparation How can I help you with your individual tax return preparation?

Link to Business Tax Preparation How can I help your business with tax preparation?

Link to IRS help Have you received notices from the Internal Revenue Service or other government agencies?

Link to Tax Planning How can I help you understand the tax consequences of a proposed transaction?


Individual Tax Return Preparation

Try the Tax Notebook to send me your tax information.

Tax Notebook image
Existing clients: email me and I'll send you the login information.
New clients can go directly to the Tax Notebook site and click on the "New Tax Client" link on the right side.

Individual tax returns

(Effective December 1, 2012)

Please ask for an engagement letter tailored to your specific circumstances. The engagement letter includes:

What I will do

1. I provide the following services for all individual returns:

Preparing your federal tax return, your home state return, and others which I identify and you ask me to prepare. Other state returns will be your responsibility unless you ask me to prepare them);

Two 10-minute telephone consultations during 2013;

Creating one brief letter to a lender stating basic information about your returns Note: requires both an IRS-required Use Consent and a Disclosure Consent. Under IRS rules you're supposed to know before I begin preparing your tax returns that you want me to do this, and which lender you will be using. I know I wouldn't be so clairvoyant and I don't really expect you to be <grin>;

Estimated tax reminders for 2013 based on your 2012 tax liability;

A year-end organizer;

Retention of 5 prior years of tax returns as well as passive and capital loss records, historical costs, and depreciation of business property.;

2. Some clients will need other services, which may result in a higher price. These can include: extending your return to October; additional state returns; calculation of actual 2013 estimated tax for each quarterly payment, based on information you provide; preparing Form 5500-EZ for a retirement plan (preparing Form 5500 will be a separate engagement with your business); preparing tax returns for your minor children or retired parents (income only from social security, retirement plans, interest, dividends, and capital gains); and gift tax returns.

How you will benefit

1. Your tax return will be accurately prepared from the information you provide.

2. Your long-term tax bill (including penalties and interest) will be as low as I can make it, consistent with the audit and economic risks you are willing to accept.

3. Through the knowledge about your financial situation, which I gain through the tax return preparation process, I am more able to advise you on planning issues that you might be interested in pursuing; technically this also requires a specific Use Consent before my left brain can "know" what my right brain knows! Do you get the sense that these new Consent rules really get in the way of providing you with the best service?

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Business Tax Return Preparation

Business tax forms  

(Effective December 1, 2012)

Please ask for an engagement letter tailored to your specific circumstances. The engagement letter includes:

A. What I will do

1. I will prepare the federal form appropriate to your entity status (Form 1041, Form 1065, Form 1120, or Form 1120S) and the state income tax return for your home state from information which you will furnish me. I will not prepare any other state tax returns though I will discuss with you any that I believe you might need to file. If we agree that I should prepare additional state returns, I will ask you to sign a new engagement letter to confirm this understanding. I will process them on my own computer. The returns will be prepared in accordance with the appropriate federal and state income tax laws and regulations. I will make no audit or other verification of the data you submit, although I may ask you for clarification or elaboration of some of the information. Upon receipt of this signed agreement, I will send you questions by email or letter to guide you in gathering the necessary information for me, especially non-financial information.

2. When necessary, I will perform such bookkeeping and accounting services as are indicated to organize your records so that an accurate tax return can be prepared. If there is time before the filing deadline, I will give you the opportunity to have a bookkeeper do this work at significantly lower cost. I will give you proposed adjusting entries, or with your approval, enter them directly in your accounting package (This may preclude me from preparing reviewed financial statements, due to a lack of independence).

How you will benefit

1. Your tax return will be accurately prepared from the information you provide.

2. Your long-term tax bill will be the lowest it can be, consistent with the audit and economic risks you are willing to accept.

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Other tax services

The following services are subject to separate engagement letters or memoranda, setting forth the terms of the engagement, including the Price.

Tax planning services

I will be available to answer your inquiries on specific tax matters and to consult with you on income tax and business planning. Because of the substantial reforms in the tax law over the past decade, tax planning has become more defensive. You need to be more concerned with the adverse consequences of doing (or not doing) particular actions. Often these consequences do not show up for several years. Examples of this are: disqualifying transactions with pension plans(such as excess contributions); mis-classification of workers as non-employees; and changes in the ownership of a partnership. I suggest that you consult with me before taking a new course of action, so as to become aware of the most desirable way to structure a transaction and to avoid potential problems.

For tax planning services, I may require you to sign a Use Consent, permitting me to use your tax return information in connection with tax planning services. This is a new IRS requirement. If you want me to discuss your tax circumstances with a third party (i.e., investment advisor), I may also require you to sign a Disclosure Consent, permitting me to disclose your tax return information to the third party (this needs to be specific to the circumstance); this consent is also part of the new IRS requirements.

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Tax controversy services

The taxing authorities might audit your returns or send you other notices that require a response. You have the right to appeal anything in the audit with which you disagree.

When you receive notices from government agencies, I will respond to them on your behalf if you have provided a signed power of attorney (Form 2848 or equivalent) regarding the tax issue; otherwise I will assist you in responding appropriately.

If you are audited, I will provide one or more of the following services:

Represent you at the audit (go in your place),

Attend the audit with you; or

Assist you in your preparation.

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This page was last updated on January 10, 2013.

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