Dear valued client,
I hope this letter finds you in time to wish you the Merriest of Christmases, good health, and many blessings to come in the new year. We sent out a survey a few weeks ago and it has prompted me to make some procedural changes. If you’ve taken the survey, thank you. If you received it and were skeptical, yes, it is from us, and your input is valuable. I will send it out again so if you receive it or find it in your spam, please take a few minutes to respond. It only takes about 6 minutes.
I know my letters are too long so I’ve organized this so you can skim over parts that may not pertain to or interest you. Please Everyone read carefully the first sections: office procedural changes, appointment times, scheduling, and document submission. This information is important to help us both prepare for the upcoming tax season.
Procedural Changes: In order to provide the best and most efficient services to our clients and respect your time also, I would like to propose a slightly new approach. Instead of the traditional “hour long start to finish face to face appointment” I would like to encourage everyone who can to provide us with your documents ahead of time and then schedule a 15 to 30 minute follow up via phone, virtual meeting or in person. This allows us to spend our time double checking accuracy, analyzing unique tax situations and consulting during your appointment rather than data entry. I feel like this is a better use of time for both of us and reduces opportunity for errors.
Scheduling and appointment times: My suggestion would be to schedule your appointment for a date when you are fairly certain you will have your documents then get them to us a few days before your upcoming appointment. Allow more lead time the more info you have and later in the season as we get busier.
For the first week of season from Feb 1st through the 7th we will still offer the traditional full start to end appointments for simpler return in 30-minute slots. If you have all your documents and think we can finish in 30 minutes, go ahead and schedule yourself a half hour slot and we will do our best to finish in that time or follow up as quickly as possible to get you e-filed fast.
If scheduling after Feb 7th you can choose 15 minute or 30-minute appointments depending on your need. I want to make sure you have time to ask any questions that you may have. Depending on complexity and amount of data to be entered, please provide us with your documents for data entry 3-5 days ahead of your scheduled appointment. (5 for Angie if possible). If you really wish to schedule a full hour with no prior data entry, you may still do that. Just schedule two 30-minute back-to-back slots and there will be an additional fee of $50 for the full hour.
If you want us to deduct your fee from your refund, please schedule yourself an additional 15 minutes. There is no additional fee for the longer appointment because there is already a fee of $61 for this service.
On line self-scheduling: The online self-schedular seemed to work well last year so you again have the option to make your appointment (either in person/virtual/or phone) online by going to our schedular on our website at www.apssiouxland.com and click “schedule an appointment”. This feature should be up and running by January 3rd. First choose your preparer of choice if you have a preference. (There is more about our staff later in the letter) Then choose your appointment time. If you do not have a preparer preference, you can check availability of preparers based on your time preference. Of course, you can still call our office and Ashly will be happy to assist you.
Document Submission: You can submit your either by drop off, mail or upload to Secure File Pro, our secure integrated information sharing portal. Please do not send us sensitive information over plain text or unsecure email. For your safety, for electronic submission please use our secure portal. Additionally, in order to save time and ensure accuracy for any changes you may have had since last year we ask that you complete the attached intake sheet and send it back to us with your tax documents. You can also find it on our website where you can find additional information to help you prepare and gather you information for your appointment. If we have a current email address for you, you will automatically receive a tax organizer and an invite to set up a portal account. This is optional to use for your convenience. If you wish to have a hard copy organizer mailed to you, we will gladly do that for an additional $5 mailing fee.
For a complete list of documents to bring to your appointment please visit www.apssiouxland.com and at the top, click on Tax Information, then Tax Tips.
To use the secure Portal: You can download the App from the Google Play Store or Apple Store. IMPORTANT!!!! There are many portal apps available, so to make sure you download the correct app, search for SecureFilePro. Make sure you type it in as all one word with no spaces. The icon will be a dark blue file surrounded by a light blue cloud and have the description Drake Software – business. Using this app requires an account. If you had one last year, we will send you a re-activation email in January. If you would like an account or do not get an activation, email you can reach out to us after January 16th. If you only have one or two docs to send you can do it without a portal account through our guest exchange which can be accessed through our website www.apssiouxland.com. Either way, if you do it from a phone you can just take a picture, you do not need a scanner. We do ask that you make your best effort to wait to upload your documents until you are fairly sure you have all your needed documents and send them at one time.
Changes in our staff:
Branden Henneous will continue as part of our team with a few minor changes. Branden and his family moved to Colorado. He also has passed his fist round of tests to earn him his Enrolled Agent Status. I fully encourage any existing clients that wish to stay with Branden to continue to collaborate with him remotely. With our Drake Portal App, and the ability to do virtual or phone appointments, I think you will enjoy the convenience of continuing to work with Branden, “the tax guy.”
Congratulations to John Huigens on his retirement… again. We are happy to have the opportunity to continue to serve his clients. We would like to welcome Sue Betsworth of Le Mars. After 40 years owning her own business, Susan G Betsworth CPA, PC, and a short 3-year attempted retirement will be joining us due to popular demand from her former client base and from the shrinking number of tax professionals in the Le Mars area. Additionally, we are excited to welcome back Kim Rose who left a few years back to gain some experience working for a CPA firm. She is back has also passed her first round of tests for her Enrolled Agent Status and loves bookkeeping, payroll, and business taxes.
Legislative Tax Changes: As usual, we are AGAIN facing an extensive list of tax changes for 2022 tax year. The biggest and most talked about is the increase in IRS budget to hire new agents. Audits WILL go up. If you so wish, we are offering optional audit protection for an additional $75. We will not be pushing this, so if you are interested, please let us know when you send us your information. Then there is the new $600 income limit to receive a 1099-K from Venmo, PayPal or other third-party merchants. If you use these formats and receive a 1099-K, please learn more, and check back to this page later for more information to help yourself prepare. Just because you receive the form does not necessarily mean the income is taxable, but it will be reportable, so it is imperative to bring us this form.
Child tax credit reverts to the old rules of up to $2000 per child UNDER age 17 at year end. Additionally, the Child Care Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit also returns to their old rules.
Fees: I want to be upfront. As with everything else our fees will increase. Ten weeks of tax season is a REAL push and time is such a limiting factor. Each year we have additional costs and demands. As usual, congress enacts unrealistic demands with massive tax changing legislation, the IRS is still completely backlogged making any correspondence nearly impossible AND time consuming. The IRS threatens preparer penalties over EIC, HOH and Tuition credit tax credit due diligence requirements. While recent technology of portals, e-signatures, and electronic payment options are amazing, they are not cheap. Overhead and energy expenses have also increased. Lastly, as our world becomes significantly more digitized, we must be very diligent and proactive when it comes to keeping your information confidential and safe. Cyber security practices and insurance is crucial and expensive. In conclusion, our preparation fees will increase to reflect our dedication and time spent ensuring the tax return process is as simple, efficient, accurate and safe for our clients as possible.
Our typical family return will increase around $25 to $50. With that being said, the minimum charge for a basic 1040 will be $125 to $150 (plus fees for additional forms as usual). Considering IRS preparer penalties, liability, knowledge, and complexity, we will charge extra $50 each for EIC, HOH or College Tuition credit. Based on average fees charged by local competition and industry averages, the following business-type returns will also have new minimums. Small business Schedule C and F (farm) – $75 to $150 depending on complexity and depreciation. Rental Schedule E – $50 per property. Partnership – $475, S-Corp – $650 and Trusts and Estates – $450. Rules for these type returns are complex and ever-changing.
We will also be charging a minimum fee of $100 for preparing the returns of client’s dependent children as well as for those with appointments if we discover that you are not required to file during your appointment. There is an option to file for $25 online through a link on our website www.apssiouxland.com and at the bottom of the page click 1040.com. This link is associated with Anderson Professional Services, and we would take questions and help if necessary if you choose this method for an inexpensive option to file an EZ for a dependent.
We hope you understand and respect our decision to increase our fees. We understand that this might be hard, and we may lose some clients to self-preparation software or other cheaper firms, however the tax preparation industry is not regulated and any continuing ed by other non-accredited preparers is completely voluntary. Industry surveys indicate that around 50% of tax preparers are not properly prepared from year to year with the tax law changes and cybersecurity standards. Many self-prepared returns end up coming to our office for corrections due to self-prepare errors resulting in IRS correspondence and risk of denied credits and refunds.
These fee increases will be greater for John’s clients as he did not raise his fees over the years as Anderson Professional Services did.
If you have concerns about the fee increase, The IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) offer free basic tax return preparation for individuals who qualify based on income for their services.
Payment Options: Our preferred payment method is still by check or cash at the time of your appointment as it comes with no additional fees to us. Our highest fee for electronic processing is around $10 so for simplicity we added that into our fee so we will give a cash discount of $10 for paying by check or cash.
Audit Protection: Based on our survey results, we decided to not offer audit protection across the board, but it is available for $75. Please let us know during your appointment if you are interested.
I will update this page in early January with more detail on the on the 2022 legislative tax changes. If you have specific questions that need addressed before year end, please call the office at 712-224-2942. Otherwise we will be back in the office getting ready for tax season after January 9th.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Angie Anderson, Branden Henneous, Ashly Ross, Kim Rose, and Sue Betsworth
Sioux City: 712-224-2942 Cherokee: 712-225-9027