FRANZ CPAs, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

REMEMBER: The information found on this website is general in nature and may not apply to the reader's situation. Therefore, the reader should not rely on the information on this website alone. For specific advise, please call us at (513)489-4848. Thank you.

Q. Do I need to visit your office to have my taxes prepared?
A. It is not necessary to visit our office. Many clients utilize the mail or express services to send their information to us. For new clients, we encourage a meeting so that we can discuss your unique tax situation.

Q. Can I deduct student loan interest?
A. Since personal interest is generally non-deductible, you must meet several tests: You must be the person liable on the debt and the loan must be for education only. For 2016, your modified adjusted gross income can't exceed $160,000 on a joint return or $80,000 on a single return; married filing separately can't deduct nor can dependents filing own return. Furthermore, the deduction is limited to $2,500. 
 
Q. Can I ever save taxes by filing a separate return instead of jointly with my spouse?
A. You sometimes may benefit from filing separately instead of jointly. Consider filing separately if you meet the following criteria: One spouse has large medical expenses, miscellaneous itemized deductions, or casualty losses. The spouses' incomes are about equal. Separate filing may benefit such couples because the adjusted gross income "floors" for taking the listed deductions will be computed separately. This is a comparison we always make for every client. 
 
Q. Do we service clients outside of Ohio?
A. Yes! Our practice services clients in many states throughout the country. Our tax software is designed to prepare all state & local tax returns.

Q. How do you charge for your services and how does your cost compare to other tax preparation firms?
A. We charge by the hour. We can give you a quotation of our expected costs. When providing our services, if we can help you reduce our time, we will tell you how. Our support, such as our tax organizer, is designed to offer professional, fast, and accurate services and to minimize our charges to you. Our overhead is kept low to allow us to pass our cost savings onto our clients. Our charges are normally less than other quality firms.
 
Q. Do you work with Start-up Companies?
A. Yes! Many of our clients are just starting in business. We will lead you through the necessary governmental forms. Through our networking, we can also assist you in finding other necessary professionals for your venture business (lawyers, mortgage brokers, etc.).
 
Q. I want to start a new business. Can you tell me which type of business I should form?
A. Yes. When setting up a new business, it is crucial to set up the right type of business, such as corporation, S corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc. Our consulting services will help you form the right type of business based on your unique situation with consideration given to liability issues and tax advantages.

Q. How are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) taxed?
A. A single-owner LLC defaults to being taxed as a Sole Proprietorship. Income/loss from the LLC is reported on the owners’ personal income tax return. A multi-member LLC defaults to being taxed as a Partnership. A Partnership tax return must be filed. The profit or loss is then reported on the owner’s personal tax return. Any LLC can elect to be taxed as a corporation. To do so, one must file an election within 75 days of creating the LLC.
 
Q. Are there any non-tax records that I should keep?
A. There are other records you should keep, even though they don't appear to have any use for your tax returns. Family documents, certain medical records, insurance policies, records of major purchases, are just a few examples. These documents will be needed in the case of any emergency that may arise.
 
Q. Should I keep my old tax returns? If so, for how long?
A. Yes, generally you should retain old tax returns for at least 5 years. When a return contains information pertaining to the basis of property owned, it should be kept until that property is sold. One of the benefits of keeping your tax returns from year to year is that you can look at last year’s return while preparing this years. If you do throw out an old return you may fill out Form 4506, Request for Copy or Transcript of Tax Form, and send it to the IRS service center where you filed your return.

Q. What pieces of paper do I need to keep in order to do my taxes?
A. Keep detailed records of your income, expenses, and any other information you report on your tax return. A good set of records can help you save money when you do your taxes and will be a trusty ally in case you are audited.

Q. How do I know when certain taxes are due?
A. Please give us a call and we can assist you with your specific filing requirements.

Q. What is the FICA (Social Security & Medicare) tax wage base and rate?
A. The FICA tax rate is 7.65% for employers and most employees. The Social Security portion is taxed at 6.2% for both employers and employees of wages up to the maximum wage base of $127,200 for 2017. The Medicare portion is taxed at 1.45% for employers with no wage base ceiling. For employees, the Medicare portion is taxed at 1.45% on the first $200,000 in wages and taxed at 2.35% on all wages in excess of $200,000. Furthermore for self-employed individuals, the 2017 self-employment tax rate is 15.3% for the first $200,000 of self-employment income and taxed at 16.2% for self-employment income in excess of $200,000.
 
Q. What is the standard mileage rate for business use of vehicle?
A. For 2016, the standard mileage rate is 54.0 cents per mile. For 2017, the standard mileage rate is 53.5 cents per mile. 
 
Q. What is the taxable Estate threshold amount?
A. For estates of the decedents for 2017, the first $5,490,000 is excluded from estate taxes for a single individual and portability of $10,980,000 for a married couple.
 
Q. What is the annual gift tax exclusion?
A. The annual exclusion for 2017 is $14,000 per donee, with an annual maximum of $28,000 per donee when applicable to spouses who utilize gift splitting. Additionally, there is an unlimited exclusion for gifts of tuition and medical expenses, but only if paid directly to the institution.

Q. When should I give you my tax information?
A. You should bring all your information in as soon as you have it all together. The sooner you bring it in to us the better chance we have at making sure we've done the best possible job for you.
 
Q. What do I need to do to start a new business?
A. Typically, most people go to their lawyer first to get the business set up and then contact an accountant. We prefer that you contact us from the beginning. When forming a business, there are many different options and we can help you select the best option for the kind of company that you will be setting up. After the initial formation, we will continue to provide value-added services including payroll, tax returns, monthly accounting, & financial statements to the degree you and your new business will need.

Q. Should I use a lawyer or an accountant to incorporate my business?
A. Although lawyers can get the paperwork together to make your incorporation happen, they might not know all the different tax laws that can apply to the different kinds of incorporations. Therefore, we suggest you see an accountant first to find out exactly which kind of incorporation you should pursue. Then have either your accountant or the lawyer finish the paperwork.
 
Q. Is QuickBooks a good accounting software product?
A. Yes! QuickBooks can be very useful and of great assistance for your small business accounting, but the software cannot think for you. To get the most out of QuickBooks, the software should be properly installed and the user should have basic working knowledge. We can help! Whether your company is thinking about implementing QuickBooks or has been utilizing QuickBooks for years, we have multiple Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors on staff that can assist you and your company’s QuickBooks needs. 
 
Q. By using QuickBooks, can I reduce my fees?
A. Our experience shows that if you know something about accounting AND your computer software is set up properly from the beginning, it is possible that we don't need to spend as much time on your accounting. But in some cases, the initial set up was not done properly and we end up spending more time 'cleaning up' the errors than if we had just entered the detail from the beginning. 
 
Q. How can I pay my taxes by credit card and which credit cards are accepted?
A. Credit card payments can be made in person or by phone, all major credit cards are accepted. You will be provided a confirmation number at the end of the payment transaction and your credit card statement will provide confirmation of your electronic payment. The payment and return are reconciled based on the social security number entered and type of tax selected during the transaction.
 
Q. Is the IRS storing credit card information?
A. No. The IRS does not have access to credit card numbers or directly participate in the credit card transactions. The IRS relies on private credit card processors to verify the validity of the card and line of credit. The processors forward the appropriate tax payment information to the IRS.

Q. Where can I get additional information about IRS e-file?
A. You can visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov - or feel free to call our offices to ask us questions as well (513-489-4848). 

Q. What do I gain by using e-file?
A. Accuracy! Security! Electronic Signatures! Proof of Acceptance! Fast refunds with direct deposit! Federal/State e-file! E-file has become the required method of filing by the IRS and most states.

Q. What is an Authorized IRS e-file Provider?
A. An Authorized IRS e-file Provider is a tax professional or firm who is accepted into the IRS electronic filing program. One type of Authorized IRS e-file Provider is an Electronic Return Originator (ERO). An ERO is a person or firm that taxpayers entrust with tax information for the purpose of filing income tax returns electronically to the IRS. FRANZ CPAs, Inc. is an ERO.
 
Q. What is the Personal Identification Number (PIN)?
A. The PIN allows you to personally sign your electronic tax return using a five digit number. The PIN serves as your signature on your tax returns. Our firm will have this form all filled out for you when you come to pick up your returns or they are mailed to you. All we need you to do is sign the form for us to keep on file and then we are able to e-file your returns.
 
Q. Can I pay my balance due by phone or Internet with a credit card if I'm a 'married filing joint' filer?
A. Yes. Just be sure to enter the Social Security number of the first taxpayer listed on the return's pre-printed mailing label or postcard. This is usually the taxpayer listed on the return.
 
Q. Do I really get my refund faster from e-file?
A. Yes! With IRS e-file you get it back in half the usual time. It's even faster and safer if you have your refund deposited directly to your bank account; as few as 10 days. We will be able to provide you an estimated date of receipt of refund.


 
 
 
Office:
8370 E. Kemper Road
Cincinnati, OH 45249
Phone: (513) 489-4848
Fax: (513) 489-4856
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