Over the past few weeks we’ve been sending out our first batch of Maintenance Service Proposals for the 2021 and 2022 tax years. I’m excited to get those out, and to hear what people think about them, and to start answering questions that clients have. 

One of the questions that’s popped up at least a couple times so far is along the lines of “This proposal appears to cost ‘X’ number of dollars more than what I paid for you to do my taxes last year. Why should I pay more for the same thing?” 

Well, we’re not proposing that we do the same thing that we did last year. We’re proposing that we do more

We want to be more proactive to help you look ahead into the future so that you can make decisions that will save you money on taxes and avoid some negative tax surprises. The services that are in your Maintenance Service Proposal are the bare minimum of what I think we need to give you in order to go after those goals.

The fact that this question has come up on more than one occasion made me realize that I need to do a better job of communicating what these additional services are. Just in case the bullet points in the proposal weren’t enough, I’m going to run through them real quick today:

Tax Return-We’ll prepare the income tax returns for each entity indicated in your proposal.

Estimated Tax Payments- We’ll help give you the chance to save a few (or maybe a few hundred) bucks by calculating the amount of estimated taxes you’d probably need to send in each quarter to avoid interest and penalties for not having enough tax withheld. We may be able to base them on some quick, rough projections if we know what changes to expect to your tax situation, otherwise, we’ll at least calculate the safe-harbor amounts for you. 

Tax Return Review- A face-to-face Zoom meeting to review your completed tax return with you before filing. We’ll do a quick big-picture overview of any significant changes and help you understand the main drivers of the ultimate result.

Tax-Ready Meeting- We’re going to try and hit on three things during this meeting. 1) We want to do rough projections and ballpark where we think your tax is going to end up. 2) We want to identify if there were any taxable events that happened to you and then let you know what information you’ll need to put together so we’re not all scrambling during tax season to track down information for something that happened months ago. 3) Think through any planning opportunities that need to happen before the end of the year. This is where the magic happens, and this is why we’re pulling it into Q4, so we can explore and implement tax-saving opportunities before the end of the year.

Tax Check In- We’ll schedule some time to reach out and touch base with you so we’re up-to-date on any significant changes to your tax situation or goals and priorities. The specific number of included check-ins are in your proposal.

Tax Checkup- We’ll provide a self-assessment that you can sit down and go through at your convenience to help you identify if/when it might be a good idea to let our team know about certain events or changes, or talk about whether a planning meeting would make sense.

Accounting Check In- Mainly for clients with a separate business tax return. We’ll reach out periodically to do a high-level scan for bookkeeping and accounting issues that should be addressed sooner rather than later. That way, you’ll have better financial information to make business decisions, and your business tax returns will get turned around faster and with less stress and frustration.

Those are the major components that could be included in your Maintenance Service Proposal. If you’ve still got questions about the additional services we’re proposing, let me know. Hopefully this clears up a few of them though.