|Frequently Asked Questions|
Refund Anticipation Loans | Learn more
You will need a valid, unexpired picture ID and preferably your Social Security card. You could also use a major credit card, union membership, or check cashing card in lieu of the Social Security card requirement.
No. A RAL is a loan made from a participating lender “in anticipation” of your actual tax refund. It is a cash advance on your refund.
No! The IRS has no involvement in any phase of the RAL program. A RAL is a loan agreement made between you and the lender.
Yes. Participating lenders charge interest on making RALs available to clients who request them.
No, you can only include your federal refund in your RAL amount.
The preferred method is via a paper Cashier’s check printed from our office. You could also have your RAL proceeds Direct Deposited into your pre-existing checking or savings account.
Tax-Pro, Inc. has a long-standing check cashing arrangement with all Skowhegan Savings Bank branches throughout Central Maine. Existing Skowhegan Savings customers can, with proper ID, cash or deposit their RAL Cashier’s Check on the spot. Non Skowhegan Savings Bank customers can also cash their RAL check at any location for a small fee. Please have proper ID when you visit their location.
We’ve been asking this ourselves for years! Most logical explanation is a lack of understanding of how RALs work. The bottom line is THERE IS NO VALID REASON YOUR BANK PUTS A HOLD ON A RAL CHECK! All industry issued RAL checks are Cashier’s Checks drawn on large national or regional banks. The funds have been received by the check issuing institution and issued to the client via Cashier’s check. RAL checks contain a toll-free number for local banks to call to verify the funds are available and “good.” Again, see the preceding FAQ to avoid any problems cashing your check and please inform us of any banks who still insist on holding your check. We’ll work to educate them.
No. We offer RALs as a convenience to our clients who, usually due to economic conditions, cannot wait the standard 8-15 days for their refund. RALs not only put money in our clients hands fast, but fees for our professional and quality tax preparation service can be deducted with no out-of-pocket costs to the client. Clients are always free to choose a non-RAL option, such as Direct Deposit or Refund Check for purposes of receiving their refund.
Since before we officially became Tax-Pro, Inc. 20 years ago. We know the RAL process, the procedures, and the requirements and are committed to partnering with industry leaders in this area.
The RAL lender does. The IRS is not involved in any way. The RAL lender will evaluate the information contained on your tax return and determine if you are approved. In our experience, the vast majority of clients who apply are approved by the lender.
No. Several eligibility hurdles must be passed. This list is NOT exhaustive. See your Tax-Pro, Inc. service rep for other criteria. Clients must be 18 years old. Clients tax return address must be within the U.S., one of it’s possessions, or from a U.S. Military Post Office. The client has not filed, nor anticipates filing bankruptcy. The client has provided written consent to Tax-Pro, Inc. to share tax return data with our banking partner. The client is not an active member of the Armed Forces or the spouse, child, or dependent of an active member of the Armed Forces.
If your RAL is denied, it isn’t the end of the world and doesn’t imply that there is necessarily anything wrong with your tax return or refund. Because each RAL applicant is simultaneously opening a temporary account at the RAL bank provider, any refund that is subsequently deposited into your account at the RAL bank will be disbursed to you, typically within 8-15 of your RAL being denied. You won’t be charged a RAL finance charge. Of course, if your refund is being delayed by IRS for any reason, your refund will take longer than the 8-15 days mentioned here.
When the IRS issues your refund, it will issue it to Refund Advantage per your instructions. As long as the amount paid by the IRS to the bank equals or exceeds the amount loaned to you via the RAL, you loan is repaid in full. If, for some reason, IRS issues an amount that is less than your original loan, you are obviously responsible to repay this amount per the terms of the RAL agreement.
Well, we presume the good news is that your government debt is lower or now paid off. Bad news is you won’t likely be getting a tax refund this year and you now owe Tax-Pro, Inc. for our fees in performing the services you asked us to perform. Remember, you shouldn’t be applying for a RAL or bank product if you have outstanding obligations to government entities in the first place. Second, since we only get paid if you get your refund, you must settle up with us for your outstanding bill for filing your tax return.
Yes! Though this is becoming less and less common, we can e-file your self-prepared or prepared return for you for purposes of facilitating a RAL.
No. Our RAL program allows flexibility. Thus, if your tax refund is $4700, and you’d like to lower your RAL fee you could request a RAL for $2700, and get the remaining $2000 back 8-15 days later. Doing this saves you on the RAL finance charge.
No. All bank related tax products have no out-of-pocket costs to you. All fees are deducted from your RAL proceeds.
Yes. The banks that participate in the RAL program share information each year. Thus, even though you may have used the services of another last year (we wonder why you would have done that!) you can absolutely use us this year. Your chances for approval of your RAL request are similar from bank to bank.
Enrolled Agent | Learn more
An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a federally-authorized tax practitioner who has technical expertise in the field of taxation and who is empowered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the Internal Revenue Service for audits, collections, and appeals.
The principal concern of the National Association of Enrolled Agents and its members is honest, intelligent and ethical representation of the financial position of taxpayers before the governmental agencies. Members of NAEA must fulfill continuing professional education requirements that exceed the IRS’ required minimum. In addition, NAEA members adhere to a stringent Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association, as well as the Treasury Department’s Circular 230 regulations. NAEA members belong to a strong network of experienced, well-trained tax professionals who effectively represent their clients and work to make the tax code fair and reasonably enforced.
The easiest and fastest way to locate an Enrolled Agent in your area is to visit www.naea.org. The ‘Find an EA’ function located on the home page will allow you to search instantly by locality or specialty. You can also call 800-424-4339, the EA referral service. This is an unattended service, but you can request to receive your response by email, fax or mail and all calls are answered within 2 business days. You might also want to check in your local yellow pages under ‘Tax Preparation’, and look for the phrase ‘Enrolled Agent, Enrolled to Represent Taxpayers before the IRS’ or the ‘EA” credential following the professional’s name.
“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “Agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs may represent taxpayers before the IRS. The Enrolled Agent profession dates back to 1884 when, after questionable claims had been presented for Civil War losses, Congress acted to regulate persons who represented citizens in their dealings with the U.S. Treasury Department.
The license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.
Enrolled Agents advise, represent, and prepare tax returns for individuals, partnerships, corporations, estates, trusts, and any entities with tax-reporting requirements. Enrolled Agents’ expertise in the continually changing field of taxation enables them to effectively represent taxpayers audited by the IRS.
The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 allow federally authorized practitioners (those bound by the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230 regulations) a limited client privilege. This privilege allows confidentiality between the taxpayer and the Enrolled Agent under certain conditions. The privilege applies to situations in which the taxpayer is being represented in cases involving audits and collection matters. It is not applicable to the preparation and filing of a tax return. This privilege does not apply to state tax matters, although a number of states have an accountant-client privilege.
In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing professional education, reported every three years, to maintain their Enrolled Agent status. NAEA members are obligated to complete 90 hours per three year reporting period. Because of the knowledge necessary to become an Enrolled Agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing Enrolled Agents.
Only Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in matters of taxation before they may represent a taxpayer before the IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents specialize in taxation. Enrolled Agents are the only taxpayer representatives who receive their right to practice from the U.S. government (CPAs and attorneys are licensed by the states).
Enrolled Agents are required to abide by the provisions of the Department of Treasury’s Circular 230, which provides the regulations governing the practice of Enrolled Agents before the IRS. NAEA members are also bound by a Code of Ethics and Rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.
Bookkeeping | Learn more
We’ll install the software and set you up to start using it. Then, during each processing period (typically monthly)…Your office writes checks and records your company’s day-to-day accounting transactions in the software. If you have questions, attach an electronic “Note to Accountant.” When the period is complete, make your data available to us online, via email, or on diskette. Our office will then retrieve your transaction information and directly transfer it into our system to avoid errors. We’ll review your notes, answer your questions, and ensure transactions are marked for the proper accounts. Finally, our office prepares your financial statements, provides analysis, offers advice, and delivers your statements to you.
It all depends. Each client’s business is different. We base our fee on factors such as: the number of monthly transactions, number of bank accounts used by the business, and the complexity of business operations. This analysis will result in us quoting a fee that is either fixed monthly or by the hour, whichever the client prefers.
Great question! We are biased, but yes, we believe outsourcing your accounting function via our system pays for itself in several ways. First, you’ll be freeing up your time to manage your business and not let it manage you. Second, you will be less likely to have compliance issues that often result in substantial penalties and interest to taxing authorities. Third, with accurate and real-time data for us to analyze, you should almost always pay less in taxes, as we can use real numbers and not “guesstimates” when planning. Who hasn’t asked their accountant if they should purchase that piece of business equipment this year or wait to next year? When you use our bookkeeping software coupled with our analysis, we can answer that question accurately and emphatically. Fourth, if you need to move fast to purchase real estate, need a line of credit, etc. your banker can get up-to-date, accurate data. Finally, speaking of bankers, they’ll be most impressed with how organized and serious your business is, and that doesn’t hurt when you are trying to borrow money!
A common question. Quickbooks is a decent program, but it has major drawbacks. First, it isn’t a true double-entry accounting program. It allows users to do things that make us accountants downright nervous. At a recent seminar, IRS personnel stated that the NUMBER ONE area of non-compliance on business tax returns is from Quickbooks users! Why? It’s because users lack general accounting skills, they don’t properly set-up the program, they fail to properly record transactions, users make data-entry mistakes, and they don’t understand how accountants have to account for transactions on the tax return. ALL OF THIS IS AVOIDED OR REDUCED WITH OUR BOOKKEEPING SOLUTION! We spend more time fixing Quickbooks mistakes than working with our clients on tax saving strategies and business management. It should be the other way around. Our bookkeeping solution solves this dilemma.
In most cases, yes! Using our bookkeeping solution simply saves you money. The technology behind it is leading-edge, and you’ll reap financial benefits soon after implementing. Maybe your current system does work, but what if we could show you how you could improve information exchange between us faster and more efficient. This solution allows you to handle more information in less time. Your business could continue to grow without hiring additional office staff.
Yes! We believe so strongly that our bookkeeping solution will free you up to devote more time to managing your business and will result in fewer compliance issues and will reduce your tax burden that we are offering clients who begin using our system FREE BUSINESS TAX PREPARATION! We will be only offering this for a limited-time so don’t pass this opportunity up! No strings attached. Become one of our satisfied monthy or quarterly bookkeeping clients and your business tax return preparation is on us! A tremendous value-added service!
The basic module is the checkwriting software. Optional additional modules are: paycheck writer, accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial statements, and onlilne banking.
Payroll and Accounting | Learn more
Yes! Tax-Pro, Inc. is a licensed payroll processor for your peace of mind. Maine license #PRL580
No! We are not required to be bonded because unlike many of our competitors, we choose NOT to have access to YOUR payroll checkbook. In other words, we don’t impound (sweep your money into our account) for purposes of processing your payroll. The payroll horror stories we all here about are from payroll companies who have access to their clients bank accounts and then use that money to finance their own business operations instead of paying their client’s payroll taxes to the proper taxing authorities.
We believe choosing not to impound gives us a competitive advantage over our competitors who generally give you no choice. It’s your money, not ours. We don’t think it is good business to charge you for processing your payroll AND make money off of your money on the “float”, which is the interest we would earn on your money when we sweep it into our account each week for purposes of paying your payroll. The interest earned on the “float” is significant, and it is a hidden fee you incur and is pure profit for the companies that impound. You should earn that interest, not the payroll company!
Yes! Our payroll services are available to businesses in all 50 states. In fact, payroll processing is rather impersonal, in that it is usually conducted via online, fax, or phone each pay period. Thus, it lends itself well to being done from anywhere. That said, we strive to make it personal with superior service and dedicated professionals ready to serve you.
Yes! Your dedicated payroll professional makes it easy to switch to Tax-Pro, Inc. Generally speaking, we can have you up and running with our payroll service within a few days after you commit to using us.
Many small business owners underestimate the total time they devote to payroll related tasks. It takes more time than they realize, payroll compliance is hard work, they have nowhere to turn with questions, and it’s easier to add additional benefits down the road. Payroll is much more than writing checks each pay period; it is also properly calculating net pay, preparing quarterly and year-end tax forms, filing W-2s, and handling employee inquiries. Tax laws and employment regulations are increasingly complex and changing, causing small business to fall out of compliance. Payroll is not a core competency for most small business owners. By outsourcing, owners can access a team of experts to help with issues and answer questions. Outsourcing allows small business owners to add additional benefits down the road-retirement plans, direct deposit, and cafeteria plans.
It all depends. Payroll fees are generally comprised of the number of employees in each payroll run and the frequency of your payroll (weekly, bi-weekly etc). Additional fees may apply for optional services such as web employee access or online data entry. To receive your personalized quote, complete our online quote form or call (207) 858-7413 or 1-800-679-5006 and ask for a payroll quote.