Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I drop off my information and come back later to sign?
- Yes. We can receive your documents and set up an appointment for a later time for you to review and sign the tax return before you receive your copies. We will call you if we need additional information before then.
- Can I send my information by email or on storage media like a flash drive?
- Yes, although we recommend not to use email to send sensitive information.
- How long will it take for my refund to come in?
- Under ideal circumstances, Federal will usually issue a refund 28-28 days after your return is accepted, and Alabama will in 6-12 weeks.
- How do I get my income tax refund if I don't have a bank account?
- The default method is to receive a check by mail. We partner with the company EPS Financial that lets us print checks in our office that you may take to Walmart or another check cashing place. Optionally, if you have a prepaid debit card that will accept income tax refunds, you can contact them for the routing and account number associated with your prepaid card and have your refund direct deposited onto it.
- If I made $ and I have people living with me, how much am I getting back?
- A tax return is more complicated than household size and gross income. We will also need to see your income, expenses, any relevant financial documents such as interest and mortgage statements, and withheld taxes before we can know how much you will receive and/or owe. For returns filed for 2015 through 2018, we will also need to know who on your tax return did and did not have health insurance, for how long, and any income they have even if they are your dependent. You can use the online calculator at 1040.com for a ballpark figure.
- When is my boss going to send my W2 or 1099-MISC to me? When is my college going to send my 1098-T to me? When is my bank or broker going to send my 1099-DIV dividend and interest statement or my 1098 mortgage statement?
- W2s, 1099s, and 1098s are required by law to be sent out by January 31st. Depending on your postal service, it could be mid-February before you receive your documents. You will likely not receive a 1099-DIV on your stock or interest if you have received less than $10.
- What kind of records do I need to keep?
- Income and Investments:
- Form(s) W-2, Form(s) 1099, Form(s) 2439, Form(s) K-1, bank statements, brokerage statements, mutual funds statements, etc.
- If you accept payments as part of a hobby or business, it would be wise to keep a ledger detailing the amounts you are paid, the method of payment (cash, check, debit, electronic), and the date you are paid.
- Invoices, receipts, cancelled checks, proof of payment, charity statements and contribution statements, education expenses, alimony, child support, medical expenses, business and work-related expenses, etc.
- Any documents involving the purchase, sale, improvements, or repair of houses, vehicles, land, and other property.
- If you are using part of your home for business, or you have a separate building for business use, you need to keep track of utility bills, property taxes, and other such expenses associated with that property, including damage reports such as from fire, flood, or vandalism.
- Stolen property will need to have a record of what was stolen, when you noticed it was stolen, and a statement proving you are the owner such as a reciept.
- How long should I keep a copy of my tax return?
- We recommend to keep a copy of your tax return for a minimum of five years. Optimally, you should keep them indefinitely. Below is a table of the period of limitations for a tax return to be amended or audited:
If you... The period is... Do not report income that is more than 25% of the gross income shown on your tax return. 6 years. File a fraudulent return. No limit. Do not file a return. No limit. Owe additional tax and the above situations do not apply to you. 3 years. Amend a return to claim a credit or refund. 2-3 years after the taxes were paid. File a claim for a loss from worthless securities. 7 years.
For tax returns involving property — rental property, depreciation, etc. — keep your records until they are no longer needed to compute gains or losses on the property or its replacements.
As for non-tax purposes, check with your insurance company or creditors. They sometimes require much older records than the IRS would.