Whether this is your first time working with a CPA firm or you have always utilized a CPA, you might have a few questions about working with us. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to assist you.
What is a CPA?
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant. It is a professional designation used for accountants. In order to become a "CPA" you must pass a comprehensive exam, meet experience and degree requirements AND pass and adhere to a code of ethics. There are many fields that CPAs can go into, but many specialize in tax, accounting and consulting due to their background and experience.
Who needs a CPA?
In our opinion, EVERYONE should have a CPA. There is no other professional that is better versed in areas of personal and business finances. Finances have become more complicated than ever and a bigger part of our daily lives than ever. It is important for young people to start off their financial lives right, learning about saving, spending and credit. It's important for mid-career people to understand if they are saving enough, making good choices with their investments, and planning ideas. It is important for those reaching retirement to understand their options coming up regarding annuities, social security, and retirement plans. We are especially important to business owners, who need reliable information about their business for reporting purposes and for their own use.
If I'm starting a business, when should I find a CPA?
There's never a wrong time to find a CPA, but if you are starting a business, the best time to engage a CPA firm is BEFORE you start. We can help guide you in the start up process as well as start tracking your start up purchases. You will be starting your business better organized from day 1. Plus, it is easier and cheaper to start with us from the beginning, instead of playing catch up months or even years down the road.
Do you offer a free initial consultation?
Yes, we do offer a free initial consultation. It allows both of us a chance to determine if our services are a good fit to your situation.
How do you keep up with the latest tax laws?
Tax laws are always changing. We stay up to date by reading journals, newsletters and by taking continuing education as required by our firm.
Are you a member of any professional tax or accounting organizations?
Yes, our principal is a member of the AICPA (the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) as well as a member of the NM Society of CPAs. In additional, many of our employees belong to various accountant and/or civic groups.
What are your professional credentials?
CPA firms are required to be owned by a licensed Certified Public Accountant. This means that the owner is a licensed CPA. We also have other employees in the firm that are licensed CPAs and accountants with college degrees. Visit our Firm Profile page to see which creditials our staff have.
How do you determine your fee to prepare my return(s)? Is it a fixed fee or an hourly rate?
We use a price sheet to set pricing for many common items of our accounting and tax services. Projects can also be arranged at a set price. However, some projects and work is difficult to assess and will be billed based on a time and billable hours. We outline the important terms of our work in a document called an engagement letter which we send to you which outlines the work to be completed as well as the fee arrangement.
When do you require payment?
Payment is required when invoiced. Some work may be billed on a retainer type arrangement (down payment) but the remainder is either progress billed or billed upon completion. Any other terms regarding payment will need to be requested in advance.
When can I expect to receive my completed tax returns back from you?
We process returns on a First In First Out basis. Due to the complexity of returns, some tax returns can be completed in a day or two and others could take a week or more. If you have a deadline or time frame in mind, let us know and we will work to get your return completed on your time schedule.
How long have you been in business?
Rio Grande CPA launched July 2016 as part of a successorship arrangement from a previously long standing firm, Marcus Whitson LLC. Although RGCPA has only been around for a short period of time, the firm's employees have decades of experience.
Do you outsource any of your services?
No, we do not outsource any of our tax preparation services. All of our tax return and accounting work is completed by firm employees.
What happens if I get a notification about my return?
It is very common to recieve notifications in the mail from the IRS requesting information or notifying you of changes. It is important to address the notices timely. When you recieve a notification, please contact the office or send us a copy of your notice immediately. We can provide you guidance and help you decide if you would like to address the notice or have us to address the notice. Any time spent addressing notifications on your behalf will be billed at our normal billing rate.
NOTE: The IRS or other tax authority will send a letter to you if there is a problem or question about your tax return. NEVER give your information over the phone or internet. There have been many ongoing scams where someone will pose as the IRS and make threatning allegations of claims or liens. If you get these calls, hang up and report it to your local authorities.
Are you registered with the IRS?
Yes, our firm is a registered electronic return originator and is authorized to sign returns. All firms that complete more than 10 returns are also required to submit all of their returns electronically.
Will you store my tax information? How will it be stored and for how long?
We store a copy of your your tax return and the working papers to prepare the return electronically for seven years. We recommend that you keep your copy of your return and original documents for the same time period.
Can I contact you after tax season if needed regarding my return?
Of course! A CPA firm is a wealth of information and we hope to establish an ongoing relationship with you and your family. Whether you have tax related questions or other financial related questions, don't hesitate to ask. If we don't know, we can refer to to the appropriate professional who will.
Who will prepare my return? Will it be you or someone else in your office?
Our firm operates on a tiered team based approach. The person you interact with will likely be part of team that will be working on your return. We operate in a way to be efficient and cost effective to deliver you an accurate tax return and/or accounting services.