Frequently Asked Questions

1) How does remote tax preparation work? Can I still have my taxes prepared in person?

You are always welcome to visit us in person! For our remote customers, contact us through the website, email, or by phone. We will answer all your questions and set up a convenient appointment time for you to have your taxes done remotely. Communication is done via video chat (Zoom) or phone conference. After your taxes are completed, you will be given the opportunity to review them before you pay and sign your return. Your return will then be electronically filed.


2) Are my taxes outsourced?

No. Your tax return is prepared in house by us. Your tax return information is never outsourced. We take your privacy seriously.


3) Is remote tax preparation safe? How do you safeguard against identity theft?

Yes! We use internet security and antivirus software, and your documents are stored electronically. We also use ShareFile for secure document transfer.

Additionally, we do not sell or share your information with anyone unless you give specific permission. We hate spam email and junk mail too.


4) Why should I opt for virtual (or traditional) tax preparation through First Response Tax Service versus doing it myself?

When you choose First Response Tax Service, you can be confident that a trained professional is preparing your taxes. You don’t have to pay for and rely on software that may not catch all your deductions for you. You don’t have to worry about math or content errors. You don’t have to stress about miscalculating your estimated tax – a mistake that can prove very costly for you. You don’t have to spend hours of your own time hoping you get it right.

Check out this article, courtesy of CPA Practice Advisor, for the top ten reasons to hire a pro.


5) Do you offer a free consultation?

Yes! We provide free one hour consultations.


6) How do your prices stack up to the prices of other tax preparation solutions?

According to this article from the CPA Practice Advisor, the most recent study from the National Society of Accountants indicated that the average tax preparation fee for a 2015 itemized tax return (Schedule A) with state tax preparation was 273 dollars. Our fees for the same service are considerably less. Click here to visit our pricing page.


7) How are you able to keep prices so low?

Low overhead and good conscience. Low overhead + fair prices = repeat customers. We like repeat customers, and we love it when you tell your friends about us.


8) After my consultation, what if I decide that I want my taxes done elsewhere?

Satisfaction is guaranteed, and you are under no obligation to purchase. Your return will not be filed through our firm, and any information you provided will be returned to you.


9) How do I send you my documents? What forms do you need?

We use ShareFile for document sharing. After you contact us, we will email you a link so you can log in to your own secure portal. Fill out the forms attached to your email, include it with your other required documents, and you’re good to go!

Some of the documents you may need to send are:

1) Copy of previous year’s federal and state (if applicable) tax return
2) Copy of voided check for direct deposit
3) Copy of government-issued ID for taxpayer and spouse (if applicable)
4) Any and ALL 1095 (Obamacare) forms you received
5) Social Security Cards for dependents
6) Your Social Security Cards


10) How safe is ShareFile?

Very. Check out this infographic for more information.


11) Can I mail you my documents?

Yes, but please understand there will be some lag time due to snail mail. We recommend using a certified, trackable form of shipment.


12) How does the video chat work? Do I need to buy special software?

All you need is a computer! We will send you a link to our personal Zoom meeting room.


13) What if I can’t participate in a video chat session?

We will be happy to have a phone conference instead.


14) I can’t afford to pay for tax prep up front. What can I do?

We will work with you on this. We can prepare your return and file an extension request for you. We will hold off on e-filing until you are able to pay for the return. Please note, we will not be able to give you a copy of your return until payment is rendered.


15) What is the average turnaround time?

We request that you drop off your documents at least two days prior to your appointment. This allows us to complete data entry and address any tax issues you may be facing. You can drop off your documents in person, in our secure drop box at our office, or via our ShareFile link.


16) How do I sign my tax return if I’m getting it done virtually?

First Response Tax Service is an Electronic Return Originator (ERO), so we use the IRS Practitioner PIN method which allows our software to automatically to generate a PIN for you in lieu of a signature. We find that this method streamlines the process for you. We will need you to sign and return Form 8879 – IRS e-file Signature Authorization before we can submit your return to the IRS, however. Form 8879 does not need an original signature, so you can simply send us a scanned copy.


17) Will my taxes be electronically filed?

Yes, we will e-file all taxes except for amended returns and returns involving special situations. We have to mail paper copies for amended returns because the IRS says so. If you are expecting money when you amend your return, the IRS will mail a paper check instead of direct deposit.


18) What is an IRS audit? What happens if I get audited?

According to the IRS, an audit is a review/examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts and financial information to ensure information is being reported correctly, according to the tax laws, to verify the amount of tax reported is accurate.

First Response Tax Service offers free Audit Guidance with every paid tax return that we prepare. If you are audited, we will:

  • Review the audit documents and explain what they mean
  • Provide guidance on how to gather records for your tax audit
  • Assess the tax audit findings and explain them
  • Provide guidance on the appeal process and other options available to you, if applicable

Representation Services can be provided for a separate fee.


19) Do you offer any guarantees on your services?

Yes! We guarantee that if you incur penalties or interest on a tax return due to a mistake we made, we will pay the applicable penalties and interest. Please see our guarantee page for further information.


20) Do you provide audit representation?

This service is offered on a case-by-case basis and a retainer will be required.


21) Do you prepare amended returns?

Yes!


22) Do you prepare back taxes?

In many cases, yes. Please contact us for a consultation, as the fees may be different from what is reported on the fees page, and a retainer may be required.


23) Do you charge extra to add up receipts for itemized deductions, etc?

It depends. If you hand us a few receipts and bills, we have no problem doing the legwork for you. However, if you have a stack of receipts/expenses to be calculated, we will charge an hourly rate of $75 per hour to calculate these receipts.

If you want to avoid this fee, please completely fill out the organizers we send you. There are several forms available for you to add up and enter your expenses depending on your individual tax situation.


24) Do you prepare extensions?

Yes! We do charge for extensions, but this charge will be deducted from your fees when you pay to file your return with us.


25) How do I remit payment?

We accept most major credit/debit cards and cash in our office. To protect against identity theft, we request that the cardholder be a party to any credit/debit card transactions.

We do accept checks, however, we will not e-file the return until your check clears.

Fees must be paid before we will file your return.


26) What are your hours of operation?

It depends. When do you need us? We normally accept clients from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Saturday, but we can be flexible. Contact us, and we will do our best to work with you!

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