Individual Tax Return Preparation

individual Tax Preparation - Image of Woman working on taxesWe make the tax return planning and preparation process painless. Our clients rely on us to determine the minimum legally available income tax liability, through a creative and coordinated approach to the preparation of returns. 

In many cases, there are a number of alternative filing choices available, a choice that is complicated by the plethora of income tax laws in the United States, Canada, and abroad. In order to provide our clients with the best available alternative, many returns are prepared many times, using a set of alternative filing strategies. Our commitment to you is that we will research and recommend the optimal filing strategy in your specific situation. 

We prepare returns for all 50 states and 10 provinces from our offices in Toronto and Chicago. All returns are prepared, and returned to our clients for final approval, signature and mailing or electronic filing as appropriate.   You will receive your returns by Federal Express fully assembled with complete instructions and filing envelopes attached, usually within a few days of submitting information to us. We remain in constant touch through fax, e-mail and our toll free telephone numbers.

Fees

Many potential clients ask us what the return preparation process will cost. Our fees are based on time and complexity of the situation, and therefore will vary from case to case. In general, our average fees for a consultant working in the U.S. on a TN visa are in the following range:

Canadian Individual Returns:

Average fees: $CDN 550 to 750 per year filed:

  • Federal T1 return
  • Filing for one province or territory
  • Return may include investment income and capital transactions, on a full or part year residence basis

Returns with additional complexity, business statements or higher volume investment activity are billed at our standard hourly rates.

United States Individual Returns:

Average fees: $US 650 – 750 per year filed:

  • Federal 1040 or 1040 NR return
  • One state return
  • FinCEN Form 114 Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts
  • Dual status vs. elected resident optimization
  • Return may include investment income and capital transactions, on a full year or part year residence basis.

Average fees for additional U.S. filing requirements per year filed:

Form Title fees - $US
 5471  Information Return of U.S People with certain Foreign Controlled Corporations  $450-850 per corporation
3520A & 3520 Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust (i.e. TFSA & RESP accounts) $275-375 per account
8621 Information Return by a Shareholder of a Passive Foreign Investment CO. (PFIC) (i.e. CDN. mutual fund holdings) $95-175 per fund/account
8938 Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets $225-450
8959 Additional Medicare Tax  $225-295
8960 Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) $225-295
W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification number $295 per
SS-4 Application for Employer Identification Number  $295 per

Returns with additional complexity or services not specified are billed at our standard hourly rates. 

Satisfaction Guaranteed:

In addition to the preparation and planning of your income tax returns, our service extends to complimentary routine follow-up with the Internal Revenue Service or Revenue Canada in the event of a query of any return which we have prepared.  See below for our new prepaid audit assurance service. We are licensed practitioners authorized to represent you in both Canada and the United States, including all states and provinces.

Prepaid Audit Assurance Program: (New)

Canada Revenue Agency has publicly stated that it will increase the frequency of audits of returns which include self employment, employment expenses, rental losses, and other areas which they deem to be subject to abuse.  In addition, CRA has ititiated an international funds transfer reporting requirement for banks and financial intermediaries.  Under this new initiative any inbound or outbound transfers over $10,000 must be reported to CRA to assist in the identification of aggressive tax evasion.

Internal Revenue Service has increased its vigilance of returns, and in addition to increased electronic scrutiny of returns has instituted additional review procedures to prevent fraudulent returns.  These measures include slowing down the refund process pending review, additional identity verification, the use of a personal PIN and an increase in the number of IRS agents assigned to audits.

Due to the increasing complexity of returns our firm prepares in Canada and the United States, there is an increased likelihood that your return may not be properly understood by government auditors when initially processed.  In most cases, after appropriate communication the issue is successfully resolved.

We therefore believe that additional time will be required to address audits and reviews of tax returns which are flagged for additional scrutiny.  In many cases, these are "correspondence audits" where we are required to assemble the supporting data, analyze the law affecting a claim, and submit our response by mail within a prescribed time frame.  Our current terms of engagement indicate that we will provide these services as required, at an additional cost based on the incremental time required, at our normal billing rates.

Consequently, we are now offering a "Prepaid Audit Assurance Program" ("Program"), under which we will represent a qualifying client for whom we have prepared a return before government agencies, without further charge in the event of an audit.  We believe that given the greater likelihood of some type of government audit in Canada or the United States, participation in the Program can result in considerable savings since we will be able to concentrate our efforts on situations which require further representation.

Here are the key points for this new program:

  1. This additional program is entirely elective.  You can choose to participate at the time your return is completed for a particular year by agreeing to an additional charge equal to 15% of that year's billed services.
  2. If you have chosen to participate, 15% of current fees for the year will be added to your invoice (before any applicable taxes).  If you elect not to participate, no additional fee will currently be charged.

Notwithstanding whether you choose to participate or not, any issues resulting directly from any fault of our software or preparation of the return will be covered without additional charge.

Your participation in the Program will be governed by the following terms and conditions:

Terms and Conditions for Participation in our Prepaid Audit Assurance Program:
  1. If you wish to participate, you must do so at the time your initial timely prepared return for the year is completed, by initialling in the appropriate area on your letter of engagement.
  2. This program is only available in cases where our firm has prepared the return for that year.
  3. Covered representation services include responses to government agencies, attendance at audits, response to audit enquiries, appeals, and all other action required to support information being audited.
  4. We do not guarantee the success of any audit, appeal, or reviewed area, although we will do our best to represent you in the most effective way.  You remain fully responsible for the accuracy and completeness of any return which we prepare for you, based on information you provide.
  5. It remains your responsibility to provide us with information or support which may be required to support your claim or return, on a timely basis.  In many cases, failure to respond within a given time frame will result in the loss of your right to appeal.
  6. In order for us to represent you, you agree to sign any power of attorney or consent required.
  7. To continue representing you, we wish to ensure that contradictory information is not provided to government agencies.  Accordingly, you agree to provide us with any notice of audit as soon as it is available, and you agree not to contact the government agency independently.  (If you do, we will cease to represent you.)
  8. Our audit representation services include all professional time required up to a maximum of $5,000 per year under review.  (In our experience, exceeding this amount of time is rare.)
  9. We will represent you through the initial audit, and will file an appeal if required.  We will not, however, take your matter to Tax Court after appeal, and if Tax Court action is required you will be required to engage an attorney to represent you (at additional cost to you).
  10. This Program is only available for personal returns and related filings, including foreign grantor trusts, but not for corporate entities.
  11. This Program is not available in situations where we prepare multiple year's returns which are in arrears.
  12. We reserve the right to decline any application for coverage under this Program, at our sole discretion.
  13. To be eligible for audit assurance services, your account with our firm, including the 15% additional cost of this program must be paid in full in accordance with our terms of engagement.
  14. All other terms and conditions of our standard letter of engagement will continue to apply, and you agree to sign a letter of engagement in connection with any services we provide.

Please contact us for a specific quotation on all services involving the preparation of personal tax returns in the U.S. and Canada.