• Our firm has over 65 years of experience in accounting, auditing, tax preparation and planning and management issues, so you can feel confident that your documents will be prepared accurately and timely, and the tax advice you receive will be based on half a century of hands-on experience.
  • We are comprised of a group of professionals who come from diverse backgrounds, giving your organization access to a vast collection of knowledge, skills, and experience which allows for greater accuracy and efficiency in our work product.
  • We pride ourselves in maintaining an edge in professional education and technology. Our expansive library and numerous other professional resources provide an avenue for addressing any unfamiliar issues.

The following is a list of the items you should bring with you when you meet with your CPA to prepare your tax return. This is by no means a complete list, but only a general list of items needed for the most common tax situations.

  •       Full names, social security numbers, and birth dates for you, your spouse, and all dependents
  •       Your current mailing, physical and e-mail addresses
  •       Your current telephone and fax numbers
  •       Copies of last year’s tax returns (federal and state)
  • All W-2’s
  • All 1099’s (including 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-G, 1009-R, 1099-MISC, 1099-K, etc)
  • Self-employment income
  • Sale of stocks, other securities, capital assets
  • Rental income
  • Schedule K-1’s from all partnerships, LLC’s, LLP’s, Trusts or S-Corporations
  • Amount of alimony received
  • Social Security benefits received
  • Refunds from last year’s state and local income taxes
  • Unemployment compensation received
  • Copies of statements from Banks and Brokerage accounts
  • All other income information
  • IRA contributions for both you and your spouse, Educational IRA contributions, Keogh or Self employed SEP contributions
  • Self employed health insurance
  • Moving expenses
  • Educational expenses paid for you, your spouse, your children or your grandchildren
  • Student Loan interest paid
  • Alimony paid and the social security number of the recipient
  • Medical expense (include medical, dental, eye care expenses plus mileage driven for medical purposes, and premiums paid for medical care and long term care insurance)
  • Real Estate taxes paid
  • Personal property taxes
  • Home mortgage interest paid and points paid
  • Investment interest paid
  • Charitable contributions made, including mileage driven for charitable purposes
  • Un-reimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees paid, investment expenses paid, safe deposit box rental paid
  • Business expenses (include automobile expenses)
  • Home offices expenses
  • Child or dependent care expenses
  • Record of estimated tax payments made
  • All other expense deduction or credit information


The following chart provides a general guideline for the retention of many records, but the specific holding periods for any record retention policy should be given careful scrutiny by management and legal advisors in light of any pending investigations, regulated industry requirements or contract covenants. In addition to these general guidelines, each business should consider any industry standards that may affect the holding period of records due to unusual legal circumstances.

Accounting Records
Auditors’ report and annual financial statementspermanently
Bank statements & deposit slips7 years
Cancelled checks: 
Fixed assetspermanently
General7 years
Payroll7 years
Taxes (payroll related)7 years
Taxes (income)permanently
Cash disbursements journalpermanently
Cash receipts journalpermanently
Chart of accountspermanently
Deeds, mortgages, bills of salepermanently
Electronic payment records7 years
Employee expense reports7 years
Fixed asset records (invoices, depreciation schedules)permanently
Freight bills & bills of lading7 years
General journalpermanently
General ledgerpermanently
Inventory listings and tags7 years
Invoices: Sales to customers credit memos7 years
Patent/Trademark & related paperspermanently
Payroll journalpermanently
Production and sales reports7 years
Purchases7 years
Purchase journalpermanently
Purchase orders7 years
Sales or work orders7 years
Subsidiary ledgers (accounts receivable, accounts payable, equipment)7 years
Time cards & daily time reports7 years
Training manualspermanently
Trial balance – year-endpermanently
Insurance Records
Accident reports & settled claims6 years after settlement
Fire inspection & safety reports7 years
Insurance policies (after expiration)7 years
Legal Documents
Articles of incorporation & bylawspermanently
Buy-sell agreementspermanently
Contracts & leases (after expiration)7 years
Employment agreements7 years
Legal correspondencepermanently
Partnership agreementspermanently
Stock certificates & ledgerspermanently
Tax Records
IRS or FTB adjustmentspermanently
Payroll tax returnspermanently
Property basis recordspermanently
Sales & use tax returnspermanently
Tax returns & cancelled checks for tax paymentspermanently
Personnel Records
Child labor certificates & notices3 years
Employment application (from date of termination)2 years
Employment eligibility verification I-9 form (from date of termination)3 years
Help wanted ads and job opening notices2 years
Personnel files (from date of termination)4 years
Records of job injuries causing loss of work5 years
Union agreements & individual employee Contracts (from date of termination)3 years
Employee Benefit Plan Records
Actuarial reportspermanently
Allocation & compliance testing6 years
Brokerage/Trustee statements supporting investments6 years
Financial statementspermanently
General ledger & journals6 years
Information returns (form 5500)6 years
Internal Revenue Service/Department of Labor correspondencepermanently
Participant communications related to distributions, terminations, beneficiaries6 years
Plan & Trust Agreementspermanently
Individual Records
Tax returns (after filing)6 years
Medical bills (after payment)6 years
Forms 1099 received (after receipt)6 years
Keogh statements (after plan termination)6 years
IRA records (deductible & nondeductible) (after account termination)6 years
Loan records (after payoff)6 years
Insurance policies (after expiration)6 years
Major purchase receipts (after purchase)6 years
Year-end brokerage statements (after securities deposit)6 years
CD statements (after maturity)6 years
Schedule K-1s from LLPs or S Corps (after disposition of interest)6 years
House records (cancelled checks for purchase, major improvements & maintenance)permanently
Birth & death certificatespermanently
Medical recordspermanently
Wills/Trust agreementspermanently
W-2 forms receivedpermanently
List of financial assets heldpermanently
Alimony, custody & prenuptial agreementspermanently
Military paperspermanently
Photos or videotape of valuablespermanently

The tax preparation fee is based primarily on how long it takes to prepare your tax return. The time incurred is directly related to the complexity of your return as well as your preparation and organization of your input data.

We have tax returns that costs as low as $350 and as high as $5,000. Typical returns range from $350 for many basic returns to approximately $600 for more complicated returns. State returns or other items may add to these amounts.

Hourly rates for our staff range from $100 – $300, depending on the level of expertise required by the tax return.

  • Submit information in a complete and timely manner.

  • Avoid providing contradicting and/or duplicate information.

  • Complete the income tax organizer that is provided.

  •  If you sell investments, please provide your cost basis and the date purchased.

Many people have simple circumstances that can be handled adequately by tax preparation services or by self-preparation software, and this checklist doesn’t cover those clients.  People with rental property, businesses, or investments that generate    K-1s; trusts, substantial investments in marketable securities or large retirement accounts and 401k balances need to engage a CPA firm, and this checklist is directed toward those clients.

  • Engaging a CPA is the start of a professional relationship that includes more than preparing a tax return.  It is acquiring a “partner” in your quest for financial security and someone that can be called with any type of financial, investment, business or employment compensation question
  • As CPAs we can offer advice to maximize tax savings opportunities
  • CPAs are required to attend substantial numbers of continuing education courses and tax seminars.  This puts us in the position of staying current, by interacting with fellow professionals, where tax savings ideas are shared and we can discuss specific client situations anonymously
  • CPAs are planning oriented, looking to the future to see how we can assist clients matters that could reduce their taxes
  • CPAs are knowledgeable in a wide range of retirement plans – deductible and non-deductible.  We offer guidance which could possibly save taxes retroactively and we can explain the benefits of establishing a pension plan for current and future years that will maximize tax savings
  • As CPAs we can help our clients in mortgage refinancing, auto lease or buy choices, life insurance policy acquisition and many other financial situations that arise
  • As CPAs we can assist clients contemplating switching jobs with employment contracts and exit agreements, option exercising and restricted stock tax alternatives
  • As CPAs we are knowledgeable in entity selection to maximize tax benefits of commercial activities, including single owner businesses and those that invest with others
  • As CPAs we can be consulted regarding financial aspects when contemplating a divorce, retirement, funding children’s college, buying a house or any change of life event
  • As CPAs we are aware of IRS “hit” lists and we advise our clients against positions that have high probability of challenge and disallowance
  • As CPAs we are aware of the myriad of forms and substantiation requirements, and regularly advise our clients about what is needed and when it must be in their possession
  • Estimated tax rules are important to follow both from compliance and cash flow standpoints and we as CPAs regularly advise on this
  • As CPAs we can explain the special tax rules that apply to businesses including inventory methods, basis of accounting, start-up costs, travel & entertainment expenses and tax credits
  • The alternative minimum tax is a “killer” for many clients; however, we can explain some ways of taking advantage of this tax and the application of AMT credits
  • As CPAs we are available to assist and handle tax audits, advise ways to minimize the cost of representation and ways to prepare returns that will not create red flags
  • As CPAs we can assist with tax agency notices and mail audits
  • As CPAs we are available, knowledgeable and helpful when clients need assistance

The following is a guide of the issues that need to be considered by someone starting a business.  No opinions are offered or should be inferred.  You should seek professional guidance and advice where necessary on some of the issues.

  1. Business name – a person’s name or names, or a fictitious name.  Names  need to be registered with the local and state agencies
  2. Type of entity (choose one of the following).  See questions that follow before making a decision.  Use an attorney where applicable:
    1. Sole proprietorship
    2. Single member LLC
    3. General partnership
    4. Limited partnership
    5. Limited Liability Company
    6. S Corporation
    7. Corporation
  3. Will property or assets be transferred from another entity
  4. Will premises be rented or owned
  5.  If business will have inventory, where will it be kept and in rented or public warehouses
  6.  If business will own real estate, consider a pass-through entity, unless it is foreign owned
  7. Obtain a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for the business.  Even if a one-person business with no employees or independent contractors this might be advisable. File IRS Form SS-4 which can be accessed at www.irs.gov
  8. Licensing with professional board, state or locality as a business if a professional practice or if required. This also applies to one person practices or businesses
  9. Join professional or business associations if applicable
  10. Determine how business will be financed
  11. Project cash flow and cash flow management methods
  12. Establish owner’s payroll or draw policy
  13. Location – office or retail space
  14. Premises – own, rent or sublet
  15. Solo or with a partner
  16. Buy-sell agreement if more than one partner or owner
  17. Determine capitalization and loan policies for initial and subsequent investments
    1. If loans, make sure there are notes with interest and due dates stated
  18. Tax elections and policies to be established
    1. Basis of accounting – cash, accrual or other
    2. Inventory method
    3. Fiscal year if applicable
    4. Retirement plans
    5. Hiring children
    6. Startup costs
    7. Expense reimbursement policy
  19. Technology hardware and technical and specialized software
  20. Obtain accounting software
    1. Establish billing and invoicing methods and payment terms
    2. Establish policies for paying vendors
    3. Determine if payroll will be done in house or with an outside service bureau
    4. Administrative software such as mailing list and customer relationship system, calendar and scheduling software
  21. Cloud, paperless strategies and document management systems
  22. Mobile strategies
  23. Personnel levels and admin support
  24. Use of permanent or part time staff, consultants or outsourcing partners
  25. If using independent contractors, fill out IRS Questionnaire Form SS-8
  26. Employment agreements if necessary for your type of business
    1. For all employees
    2. For executive and managerial employees
    3. Confidentiality agreements
    4. Employee handbook
  27. Staff scheduling, dispatching or work assignment and oversight or review methods
  28. If there is more than one owner, what functions and work each will do and be responsible for
  29. Get a Logo
  30. Get a Website
  31. Need secure portal availability
  32. Email addresses
  33. If there will be patents or other intellectual property determine who will own them  – the business or individuals
  34. Open a bank account
  35. Determine if you want a post office box, or mail to be delivered to your office
  36. Office equipment, filing, telephone, postage meter, courier accounts, stationery
  37. Communications methods
  38. Insurance – umbrella, workers’ compensation, general, product and malpractice liability, general office
  39. Medical insurance
  40. Life insurance on owners
  41. Disability income insurance on owners
  42. Disability buy-out insurance if more than one owner
  43. Pension or retirement plan contribution policy
  44. Owners’ meetings frequency, location and length
  45. Owners’ retreat
  46. Document all important decisions with memos or minutes of meeting
  47. Owners’ compensation and profit division policy
  48. Owner benefits policy such as vacations and time off
  49. Publicity, marketing, advertising and sales promotional activities
  50. Social media strategies, and establishing accounts
  51. Networking methods
  52. Referral sources
  53. Mailing list – establishing and maintenance
  54. Announcements of new firm or business
  55. Practice or business continuation agreement if a single owner
  56. Exit strategy

The following is a brief checklist of what should be considered to be in the corporate or organization minutes.

o  Were all the owners or board members notified of the meeting and is there current contact information for each person

o  The prior meeting’s minutes should be accepted

o  Officers should be elected

o  The chief executive officer, executive director or managing member should present a summary of the previous year’s results

o  Salaries, bonuses and other compensation paid to officers or other high level personnel should be included in the minutes and ratified

o  Accruals of salaries, bonuses and other compensation should be ratified

o  Health insurance and medical reimbursement plan (if any) payments should be ratified

o  Payments and accruals of pension, retirement or deferred compensation plan contributions and inclusion of participants in such plans should be ratified

o  Benefits paid to or on behalf of officers or high level personal should be ratified

o  Expenses paid on behalf of an officer or high level person, or paid as a reimbursement to them, should be ratified

o  The amounts and basis for owner or executive salaries for the current year should be explained and ratified

o  Employee benefit plans in effect or to be adopted should be ratified including expense accountable plans, adoption assistance plans, cafeteria plans, educational assistance plans, and nonqualified retirement plans

o  Any waived or underpayment employee compensation amounts should be stated in the minutes

o  Leases between the organization and an owner, manager or director should be reviewed as to appropriateness of usage, terms and payment amounts

o  There should be a ratification or appropriate use if the organization provides a vehicle to an employee with verification noted that there is proper insurance coverage on the vehicle that protects the organization

o  Ratification of dividends paid

o  If the corporation has not paid dividends this year, then reasons for retaining the income should be expressed

o  All loans or advances to OR from employees more than $10,000 [or an amount deemed appropriate] should be memorialized with notes with payment terms, a due date and interest rate

o  Organization loans guaranteed by individuals should be recognized at the meeting and included in the minutes

o  There should be an affirmation that the organization made no political contributions during the year

o  If the organization has more than one owner, there should be a current buy-sell agreement and the values in it should be certified to as being the appropriate values

o  If there is no buy-sell agreement it should be so stated and the owners should take immediate actions to procure one

o  If the business has a single owner, the contingency plan in the event of an untimely death or disability of the owner, should be reviewed.  If there is no such plan, immediate steps should be taken to prepare one

o  All loan agreements and covenants should be reviewed to see if there are any danger points or impending unpleasant trigger points and so noted in the minutes

o  All leases and contractual obligations extending beyond one year should be reviewed for termination date and current appropriateness

o  The entity tax status should be reviewed and potential changes should be reviewed

o  Description of any lawsuits against the organization should appear in the minutes

o  Purchases of equipment or for any other purpose or contracts more than $10,000  should be approved in the minutes

o  Terminating contracts should be approved in the minutes

o  Disposing of corporate assets in excess of $20,000 should be approved in the minutes