FAQ3

BSS General

What are your hours of operation?

Typically our hours of operation are 8am – 5pm CST Monday – Friday. During the summer, we have been known to close a few hours early on Friday to help give our employees an extra rest after tax season. Any early closures are posted on the office door. During peak tax season, we are also open Saturday 8am-12pm. Peak tax season varies but usually starts the third week of January and ends by April 15th.

How much will it cost to prepare my return?

Because each client’s financial situation is different, the cost to prepare tax returns widely varies. The cost is based on a variety of factors, but mostly on the complexity of the return. Itemized deductions, self-employment income, rental property activity, and stock and investment activity are examples of items that make a return more complex. Other cost factors include the experience level of the preparer, the organization of the tax documents/materials provided to us, last minute changes or amendments to the return, preparing multiple state returns, and the timliness in which tax materials are submitted for preparation.

Do I have to make an appointment to have my tax return prepared?

For established clients, an appointment is not required to have your tax return prepared. Your tax documents and materials may be dropped off at your convenience at the front desk inside our office or in the secure dropbox outside the front door of our office. They may also be mailed to us.

If this is your first time filing here or if there have been considerable changes from the previous year, questions, or concerns, our receptionist would be happy to make an appointment for you. Changes might include a considerable increase or decrease in income, a new marriage, a divorce, the buying or selling of a house, or retirement.

What is an organizer? Do I have to fill it out?

An organizer is a packet provided to our clients each year, to assist them in collecting the information we need to file their tax return. While it is not required that you fill out the organizer, it is strongly encouraged. Using the organizer will help you avoid overlooking important information and contribute to efficient preparation of your returns. That helps keep the cost of our services as low as possible, and we can pass the savings on to you.

What different types of information and documents do you need to prepare my return?

The items required vary greatly by client.  However, some common information and documents are:

  • W-2s
  • 1099s
  • 1098s
  • 1095-A
  • Income/interest statements
  • Name, social security number, birthdates for you and all dependents
  • Childcare expenses
  • Business expenses
  • College expenses
  • Educator expenses
  • Business use of vehile information (miles driven, parking/tolls paid)
  • Charitable donations
  • Rent expenses
  • Mortgage interest statement, real estate taxes paid, statement of property tax paid
  • Retirement/IRA amounts contributed

How long will it take to prepare my return?

The earlier we receive your tax materials, the shorter the turn around time will be. In February, the average amount of time to complete a return is 2 weeks. Tax materials submitted to us in March could
take up to 3 weeks to prepare. Missing or incomplete information may increase preparation time.

What is the latest date I can bring my tax information to you and still have my return done by the deadline?

We must receive all information to prepare your return by March 31 to ensure that your return will be completed by the deadline. Information received after March 31 may be subject to a fee if the return is expected to be completed by the deadline.

Tax return preparation process from start to finish

1 – Tax materials are submitted to Brown, Smith & Settle.
2 – Materials are signed in our tracking system
3 – The materials are assigned to a skilled tax professional for preparation
4 –After all questions are answered and the return is complete, the return is forwarded to a senior tax preparer or CPA for review of accuracy
5 – The return is provided to the partner-in-charge for final review
6 – When the partner signs off on the return, it is given to our experienced administrative professionals for printing and assembly of the physical copy of the return. All forms and tax documents are bound in high-quality, professional grade folders that are designed for organization and attractive presentation.
7 – In the next step, original tax documents and preparer notes are scanned and securely stored in our electronic files to comply with strict record keeping and document management guidelines.
8- Finally, the return is complete, and the client is notified that the return is ready for pickup. Upon pickup, necessary documents will be signed and further instructions will be given regarding refunds or payments due.

Does my spouse need to be present when I pick up my completed return?

No. Most tax returns are electronically filed; however, authorization documents do need to be signed by both parties (if filing a joint return). You are welcome to take these documents with you for your spouse to sign. We do not need the original documents so they can be returned in a variety of ways, fax, email, mail or drop off.

You’ve set me up on an estimated tax payment schedule. Am I required to make those payments? What will happen if I don’t?

The IRS requires annual payments of 90% of the tax shown on the current year return or 100% of the tax shown on the prior year return (the percentage is increased to 110% for taxpayer’s with an Adjusted Gross Income of over $150,000). We typically setup estimates based on the prior year return as those figures are readily available.
Estimated tax payments are setup when it is apparent that your current withholdings are not sufficient enough to meet your annual payment obligation. If the estimated tax payments are made timely, you are protected from additional penalties when filing your return. If you choose not to make these payments or are late with the payments, you may be subject to an underpayment tax penalty and an underpayment of estimates penalty.

What forms of payment does BSS accept?

We accept all major credit cards, checks, and cash. If paying with cash, please have exact amount, as change is not available.

How long should I keep my tax records?

Seven years is a safe and acceptable amount of time to keep your tax records.

Income Tax Returns

How can I check the status of my IRS refund?

Typically the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days after an electronically filed tax return is received. Paper returns are usually processed in 4 weeks. To check the status of your refund, please visit the IRS Where’s my Refund website located at https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp. You can also go to irs.gov and search “Where’s My Refund?” In order to use the service, you will need your SSN, filing status and exact refund amount. These items can be found on the first two pages of your Federal tax return (1040).

How can I check the status of my amended Federal return?

The IRS can take up to 16 weeks to process an amended return. To check the status of your amended return, please visit the IRS Where’s my Amended Return website located at http://www.irs.gov/Filing/Individuals/Amended-Returns-(Form-1040-X)/Wheres-My-Amended-Return-1. You can also go to irs.gov and search “Where’s My Amended Return?” In order to use the service, you will need your SSN, date of birth and zip code.

How can I check the status of my state refund?

Indiana
To check the status of your Indiana refund, please visit the Indiana Refund Status website located at http://www.in.gov/dor/4339.htm. In order to use the online service, you will need your SSN and the exact refund amount. These items can be found on the first two pages of your Indiana tax return.

Kentucky
To check the status of your Kentucky refund, please visit the Kentucky Where’s My Refund? website located at http://www.revenue.ky.gov/refund.htm. In order to use the online service, you will need your SSN and the exact refund amount. These items can be found on the first two pages of your Kentucky tax return.

Illinois
To check the status of your Illinois refund, please visit the Illinois Find Your IL Tax Refund website located at https://myrefund.illinoiscomptroller.com/. In order to use the online service, you will need your SSN and name.

What should I do if I find a mistake or receive a new or corrected document after my return has been filed?

If there error is a simple, mathematical error, most of those will be caught and corrected by the IRS at the time of processing the return. They will notify you of any changes made.
If you need to correct a filing status or change income, deductions or credits, you should file an amended return using Form 1040X.
Please contact us if you believe your return was filed incorrectly. We can help you determine and execute the steps required to resolve the issue expeditiously.

What is the tax return filing deadline?

Individual Returns
Individual tax returns are due by April 15th of each year. If April 15th falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the return will be due the next business day following April 15th.

Partnership Returns
Partnership returns are due the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the tax year. For example, if the tax year ends December 31st, the return will be due April 15th of the following year. For tax years beginning 2016, the filing requirement has changed to the 15th day of the third month following the close of the tax year. For a partnership with a tax year of December 31st, the 2016 tax return will be due March 15, 2017

Corporation Returns (S-Corps & C-Corps)
Corporate returns are due the 15th day of the third month following the close of the tax year. For example, if the tax year ends December 31st, the return will be due March 15th of the following year.

Estates and Trusts (Form 1041)
Estates and Trusts filing Form 1041 are due the 15th day of the fourth month following the close of the tax year. For example, if the tax year ends December 31st, the return will be due April 15th of the following year.

Estates (Form 706)
Estates filing Form 706 are due nine months after date of decedent’s death.

Gift Tax (Form 709)
Gift tax returns are due April 15th following the close of the tax year of gift.

Form 990 (Exempt Organizations)
Exempt organization returns are due on the 15th day of the fifth month following the close of the tax year. For example, if the tax year ends December 31st, the return will be due May 15th of the following year.

What do I do if I cannot file my return on time?

If you cannot file your return before the deadline, you can request an extension of time to file. It is important to note that this is NOT an extension of time to pay. If you believe you will owe tax, you should make a payment with your extension to avoid or lessen interest and penalties for underpayment.

An extension of time must be filed before the original due date of the return.

The amount of time for the extension is dependent on the type of return.

Tax return Extension
Individual Form 4868 extends deadline six months
Partnership Form 7004 extends deadline five months
Corporation Form 7004 extends deadline six months
Estate and Trusts (1041) Form 7004 extends deadline five months
Estates (706) Form 4768 extends deadline six months
Gift Tax Form 4868 or 8892 extends deadline six months
Exempt Organizations Form 8868 extends deadline three months.  A second Form 8868 extends three additional months.

Will my returns be filed electronically?

The vast majority of tax returns are now filed electronically. We are required to file all returns electronically except in limited specialized circumstances.

How long will it take to get my refund?

The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days. State refunds are typically received on a similar timeframe. If the refund is direct deposited into a bank account, the turnaround time can be quicker.

If I owe taxes, how do I pay them?

If you owe taxes, your return will include “vouchers” and pre-addressed envelopes that should be used to mail payments to the appropriate tax authority.

Personal Property Tax Returns

What is a personal property tax?

Personal property taxes are levied against equipment used in the production of income (tangible property – equipment, computers, furniture, etc). The taxes are paid to the local assessor’s office.

When is the due date of the personal property tax return?

To be considered timely filed, the return must be postmarked on or before May 15th. Many counties do not have personal property tax extensions! Failure to file will result in a $25 penalty. In addition, if you fail to file a return within 30 days after such return is due, a penalty equal to 20% of the tax bill determined will be imposed.

Is there a minimum assessment?

Beginning in 2016, business with total business personal property costing less than $20,000 are exempt and may be assessed a “service fee” (the fee is determined county but may not exceed $50). You still need to file page 1 of the 103-L, sign it, and mail to the township assessor.

Do I need to send in a payment with the return?

No, tax rates will be calculated at a later date and tax bills will be mailed in time to be paid by May 10 and November 10 of the following year. The taxes for the assessment date of January 1, 2017 will be payable in 2018.

Why am I filing this when I already received my bill?

The property tax returns are for the personal property held as of assessment date January 1, 2017. The tax will not be payable until May and November 2018 for the return currently being filed. The bill you received this spring due May 10, 2017 and November 10, 2017 is for the return filed last year for assessment period 1/1/15-12/31/15.

Usually I receive communication regarding my asset acquisitions and disposals for January and February of the current year but I didn’t receive any this year?

Beginning in 2016, the assessment date was changed from 3/1/16 to 1/1/16 so if your income tax return is completed, we have all the information we need for the property tax return.

I closed my business this year, do I still have a filing requirement?

Yes, there is still a filing requirement and we will mark the return as final.

I timely filed by business personal property return and later determined it was incorrect, can I fix it?

You may amend your personal property tax return one time. We would file another return and show “amended” at the top with the correct figures. The amended return must be filed within 12 months of the due date of the original return.

I have several business locations, do I just file one personal property tax return?

No, an assessment must be made for each taxing district within each township (a return must be filed for each location even if they are in the same township or even the same county).