As tax season 2017/2018 draw to a close, we get a lot of questions from interested residents of San Francisco who are first-timers. By “first timers,” we mean “first timers” with us – as we like to be prepared for tax season, and we strive to be the best tax preparation service in San Francisco, for both individuals and corporations. So here is a question that comes up a lot, “Can I file for a tax extension?” Most of the time, what they mean is that they haven’t been able to meet the April 15 deadline (April 17 in 2017), and they can file for an “automatic” extension. But they still need to file, and they need to pay in full prior to that date. People get confused and think that filing for an extension might automatically mean that they can avoid paying the required tax on time. No, it does not. It’s a bit of a catch-22, though, right? You don’t know how much tax you need to pay before you file, and if you’re prepared to file, why don’t you just file? Well, the answer is that if you have a complicated return or, quite frankly, you weren’t prepared you might be able to estimate your taxes but you’re not sure whether on every detail. So you need to make your best estimate of taxes due and pay them; it’s better to overpay, of course, because the IRS and FTB have late payment penalties.
The interrelated question has to do with filing an amended tax return. We do that, too. In fact we’re known as one of the best boutique accounting firms in San Francisco and a bit of the “goto” place to file amended returns. We take on a lot of clients who are, quite frankly, in a bit of a mess. Our first goal is to straighten everything out for them, and get them in good graces with the IRS, FTB, and any other required taxes. Then our second goal is to really dive deep and evaluate their taxes paid in the recent past, and even file amended tax returns. We can often (though not always) save them some money. Then, looking forward we want to “be prepared” as we go forward in the calendar year and get their bookkeeping set up properly and their quarterly taxes paid on time, adjust their withholdings, etc. We don’t like rush. We don’t like mistakes. So we strive to file for extensions where necessary, and to file amended returns if necessary and if it is to our client’s advantage.
If you’re here in San Francisco, and are looking for a tax preparation serviced that can handle amended tax return preparation, reach out for a consultation. We’ll help you transition to “less mess, and less stress,” as we help you evaluate whether it’s an extension or an amended return that you need.