FAQs

TAX PREPARATION

 How much do you charge to prepare tax returns?

Our rates are based upon the complexity of the tax forms and the number of schedules and forms we will need to file on your behalf. We recommend you review our price list under the Tax Organizer tab to get an estimate of the total cost.  Included in all returns is electronic filing at no additional charge. Our service, professionalism and overall attention to detail are what sets us apart from other tax return preparers.

How long will it take to prepare my tax return?

We never prepare tax returns while you wait. We believe that there is far too much complexity in the tax laws to prepare your taxes on-the-spot. Instead, we have a filing schedule located in our Tax Organizer tab so you can see all required deadlines and the time frames necessary to prepare your unique tax return.

When do I need to pay Long Law Group, LLC for the tax preparation services?

Payment for tax preparation services is due when the tax returns have been completed. We accept all major credit cards, along with checks, Money Orders and PayPal.  The return will be electronically filed for you and all paperwork returned to you upon payment to our office.

I have already filed my tax return and just received new tax statements. What do I do?

In many instances, a change of tax information reported to the IRS will result in the need to file an amended tax return. ​​An amended return is a return filed with the IRS and/or state because of an error, mistake or omission on your original return. You should file an amended return if there is a material difference between the original return and your new changes. In general, to claim a refund, your amended return must be filed within 3 years from the date of your original tax return or within 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.  Our office is available to consult with the filing of any amended tax returns.

How do I estimate my taxes with an extension?

There are many factors involved with estimating tax liabilities with respect to federal and/or state income taxes. The Long Law Group can assist you in making this calculation for purposes of estimating your tax liabilities, either to permit a quarterly tax payment or a payment with a tax extension. In order to do so, we would need to see a copy of the prior year’s tax return (if we did not prepare it), along with any income or expense items for the year in question. Please contact our office to set an appointment to discuss an extension of your tax liabilities so you can avoid any additional tax penalties for the failure to accurately estimate your current year tax liability.

How is my tax bill calculated as I need to know if I will owe or get a refund?

The calculation of taxes can often be very complex, but the basic rule is that you will need to estimate two separate items: (1) the total taxes you will owe for the year; less (2) the total payments/tax credits. Thus, depending upon how much income was earned and how much was paid to the IRS via wage withholdings and other tax payments, it is very possible for someone who paid $1,000 in taxes to get a refund while a person who paid in $50,000 could still owe more.  Each taxpayer and tax situation is unique.

I have not filed my tax returns in several years, what do I do?

If you have a filing requirement, then you should file your tax returns as soon as possible.  However, not everyone is legally required to file a tax return.  If you do not file a tax return and are required to do so, the IRS is permitted to file a tax return for you.  These returns, known as a Substitute for Return (“SFR”), are not surprisingly very unfavorable to you.  The IRS will use income information they have on your account based upon what was reported under your social security number (such as W-2 and 1099 information) and file the tax return for you. Of course, when they do this, you do not get credit for any tax credits or deductions that are applicable. Therefore, filing tax returns will result in less taxes being ultimately owed.  Please contact us and we can help you determine if you have a filing requirement.  If so, we can help to prepare the tax returns for you and help to end any IRS involvement in your life.

TAX COACHING

My business has been running for many years and it seems like I am paying a lot more in taxes now than before.  Is there anything I can do to reduce my tax burdens?

At Long Law Group, LLC we understand that proactive tax planning is the key to keeping the most of what you make. That means scouring your income and expenses for every available deduction, credit, loophole, and opportunity. And we do it without “aggressive” strategies, “gray areas” or “red flags.”

We give you a plan for beating the IRS. Legally. Call us at 720-992-1120 or info@longlg.com to schedule your Tax Analysis. We’ll find the missing opportunities that may be costing you thousands in taxes you don’t need to pay, then show you how proactive planning can rescue those dollar.

ESTATE PLANNING

I just got married and am not sure if I need an estate plan or what one really is.  Can you help?

In general, estate planning involves putting your personal and business affairs in order so as to maximize the benefits that your assets can provide to you during your life and to those you desire to benefit from them after your death. During the planning process, we need to make sure that your assets will pass at your death to those persons you designate in a manner which will give them the maximum benefits; that any estate or other taxes are reduced or eliminated; and that the costs to your beneficiaries is reduced to the absolute minimum. All persons, whether single or married, should consider an estate plan to make sure that all decisions are carried out as you decided.

I already have an estate plan.  Does it need to be reviewed?

An estate plan is not a permanent document and needs to be reviewed and periodically updated or revised. You may want to have your plan reviewed if it has been more than three years since your last review. In addition, there are many different life changes that may necessitate a specific review of your overall estate plan. These events may include any of the following:

  • Birth or death
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Disability of you or a beneficiary
  • A large increase (or decrease) in the net worth of you or a beneficiary
  • A substantial change in the type of your assets
  • The purchase or sale of a business
  • The change of residence to another state/country
  • Changes in tax laws

Do I need a trust with my estate plan?

There are many different types of trusts and most estate plans will include one or more types of trusts.  Trusts can be used for business assets, with minors, with disabled individuals or others with special needs, as a part of your will and estate plan with children, to hold life insurance and for many other reasons.  Depending upon the type of trust and the purpose for which it was drafted and used, there can be many potential benefits, including:

  • Probate avoidance
  • Asset protection
  • Capital gains tax reductions
  • Privacy of family assets and finances
  • Avoidance of conservatorship
  • Resolution of guardianship issues
  • Creditor protection for your beneficiaries
  • Control of distribution of assets during life and after death
  • Control of management of assets during life and after death
  • Estate tax avoidance or reduction

What happens If I die without a will or trust?

If you die without first establishing a will or a trust, your assets will pass according to the laws of the state which has jurisdiction over your assets. This means that the state, and not you, determines who gets what after you pass away.  Even if the state were to distribute your assets according to how you would want, there are often additional problems concerning higher estate taxes, higher legal fees and potential issues with guardians or other fiduciaries in charge of your children and/or assets.  Contact us today so you and your family will not be in this position in the future.

BUSINESS ENTITIES

I am now ready to go into business.  Should I form a corporation?

Many of our clients have their own small business, whether the business is a small, home-based business to one with one or more outside locations.  There are many factors which come into play about how the business should be structured.  For instance, the best business for you is the one that meets your specific, unique needs.  This may mean leaving your business as a sole proprietorship to begin to keep costs low. However, this structure would provide no protection from the unlimited personal liability that the owners would potentially face with respect to any business liabilities.  As such, you may wish to have some legal separation between the business and you (the owner) and consider the use of a corporation or limited liability company to operate your business venture.

What are the benefits of incorporating my business?

There have been entire books written on this subject, but in general you would want to consider a corporation primarily to limit your personal liability for business obligations and debts.  In addition, a corporation may offer additional tax planning possibilities, may make it easier to raise outside capital and may decrease your chances of an IRS tax audit.

What services does your firm provide if I want to set up a business entity?

We handle all aspects of the establishment of a business entity.  First, we provide a telephone or in-office consultation on the options available to you and your business.  Once the type of entity is determined, we will establish this entity with the Secretary of State in the state where the business is located.  We then will obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS so that you can open any bank or other financial accounts.  You will receive a corporate binder with all notes for initial meetings to get your business off the ground.  In addition, this binder will have all organizing documents and will contain your internal operating agreements/bylaws.  We also will make any tax elections with the IRS with respect to your new business entity, assist with any registered agent issues and make sure that we are available for another consultation after everything is established to make sure all questions have been properly answered.  We also provide tax preparation services for all business entities we establish at an additional cost.

What are my choices as far as entities are concerned?

Here is a chart of the most common business entity forms:

ENTITY PERSONAL LIABILITY/AUDIT RISK TAXATION CONTROL FORMALITY OF SETUP
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP Unlimited HIGH Audit risk Flows through to owner; pays self-employment taxes on net income Sole owner controls Easiest
GENERAL PARTNERSHIP Unlimited LOW Audit risk Flows through to owners; pays self-employment taxes on net income Mainly in equal shares for each partner Easy, but filing with state is usually recommended
LIMITED PARTNERSHIP Unlimited for general partner, and limited for limited partner LOW Audit risk Flows through to owners General partner controls, regardless of percentage ownership Must file with state; need complex formal partnership agreement
C CORPORATION Limited LOW Audit risk Double taxation if dividends are declared; tax planning potential with fringe benefits and corporate tax rates/group life insurance Majority of shareholders control Many specific requirements/must file with state of incorporation
S CORPORATION Limited LOW Audit risk Flows through to owner(s); may be able to lower employment taxes Majority of shareholders control Same as C Corp, plus organization must meet additional requirements to be able to elect S Corp status
LIMITED

LIABILITY

COMPANY

Limited LOW Audit risk, unless taxed as a Schedule C/ disregarded entity, then HIGH Audit risk Flows through to owner(s) unless elected otherwise; can elect type of taxation (flexible); may have self-employment tax issues Manager-members control, regardless of percentage ownership Similar to C and S corporations depending upon how LLC is structured

REAL ESTATE

CAN I JUST USE A LEASE I FOUND ONLINE?

Of course you may, but it’s not a good idea. A lease is a legally operative document that courts will interpret to decide who should win in a dispute between a landlord and a tenant. Hiring a professional to assist in drafting a customized lease will help you to protect your rights, your investment, and ensure that a court will interpret the agreement in the best possible light.

ARE THERE OTHER DOCUMENTS IN ADDITION TO A LEASE THAT I SHOULD BE GIVING MY TENANTS?

Yes, and depending on the circumstances some may be required by law. For instance, if your rental property was built before 1978 federal law requires that you give your tenant a lead-based paint disclosure. A brochure is available from the EPA’s website, or call us today and we can provide you with an example.

MY TENANT STOPPED PAYING RENT. NOW WHAT?

You should consult with an attorney. An attorney may serve as a neutral third party in attempting to collect the rent and can often assist with reaching an amicable resolution. Or, you may evict the tenant.  If you’re thinking of eviction, there are many legal formalities that must first be observed (including serving adequate notice to the tenant and filing a complaint with the court).  If these strict formalities are not met, a court could dismiss your eviction. An attorney can assist you in ensuring that your eviction proceeds as smoothly as possible.

MY LANDLORD KEPT MY SECURITY DEPOSIT FOR NO GOOD REASON, WHAT CAN I DO?

Colorado statutes concerning security deposits lean more toward the tenant, imposing very specific and strict requirements on landlords to keep a residential security deposit. If a landlord is unlawfully holding a security deposit, a tenant may institute legal proceedings to recover it (plus damages and attorney fees). As with any legal proceeding, however, strict legal formalities must be observed (including notice to the Landlord and drafting and serving a complaint). Because attorney’s fees may be awarded to the tenant, it is best to consult with an attorney before attempting any sort of resolution alone.

I DISAGREE WITH THE TAX ASSESS ON MY PROPERTY. CAN YOU HELP?

Property owners may appeal the assessor’s valuation of their property, and can even apply for a refund of property tax paid. We can assist you by double-checking the method used for the valuation, checking for errors in the existing assessment, comparing the assessment to comparable properties, and ultimately request a formal appeal to ensure that you don’t pay a single cent more than you should.

IS MY TEAM MADE UP OF EMPLOYEES OR INDEPENDET CONTRACTORS?

At common law, the courts would look to more than 20 factors to determine whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor.  While not comprehensive by any stretch, some of the most important considerations are set forth below:

  1. Who has control of the activities of the individual?  This is perhaps the most important factor. The more control an employer has over a worker, the more likely that person will be considered an employee rather than an independent contractor.
  2. Who provides the tools that the worker requires to complete the job? The fewer tools the employer provides, the more likely the worker is an independent contractor.
  3. Where must the work be done? If a worker is at your business location, it’s more likely they are an employee.
  4. Does the worker pay state licensing fees?  Do they withhold their own taxes?  Do they provide their own insurance?  If the worker is in charge of these items it is more likely they are an independent contractor.
  5. Is the worker responsible for providing their own supplies?  If the worker provides these items, they are more likely an independent contractor.
  6. Can the worker provide the same service to other individuals?  If so, they are more likely to be an independent contractor.

IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PROMISSORY NOTE OR DEED OF TRUST?

A promissory note is a promise to pay.  Sometimes promises are broken.  If you are lending money, you should reduce the agreement to writing.  If there’s ever a disagreement concerning repayment, you need to be able to point to a written agreement to prove to the Court how you should be repaid and why the borrower is in default.  If the agreement is not in writing and signed by both parties, the Court will find it difficult to decide what the agreement actually was.

If you are a borrower, you want security in knowing that you have time to repay the loan and the terms of repayment (especially the interest rate) won’t change without your prior consent.  A written agreement will ensure that these terms remain clear and constant.

A Deed of Trust provides the necessary security for a lender to feel secure that he or she will be repaid.  If a promise to pay the loan on your house is broken, you can bet the bank is ready to foreclose on your house.  The Deed of Trust can provide the exact same security for any lender. 

WHAT IS AN UNCONDITIONAL LIEN RELEASE AND SHOULD I USE ONE?

Contractors have a very potent weapon in their arsenal to ensure they get paid for work they contributed to a project: the mechanic’s lien.  An unconditional lien release will ensure that if you pay the contractor they cannot later come back and place a mechanic’s lien on a property that they worked on.  Ensuring all contractors sign this document can save you from headaches later in the event there is a disagreement over payment.

CAN IS USE A RESIDENTIAL LEASE I FOUND ONLINE FOR A COMMERCIAL BUILDING?

No.  Commercial leases should address the unique scenarios that run with leasing a commercial building, from parking, permitted uses, and modifications to signage and advertising.  Further, residential leases are typically more tenant-friendly than commercial leases and it is best practice to ensure that the lease is drafted to shift responsibility in the manner Landlord and Tenant agree upon.

AFTER THE BORROWER SIGNS MY DEED OF TRUST, AM I DONE?

No.  The Deed of Trust needs to be recorded in the Clerk & Recorder’s Office of the county where the property is located.  Without notice in the public record, subsequent lenders can jump ahead of you in line to be paid and you may not be secured in receiving repayment of the amount of money you loaned to the borrower.

IRS NOTICES

I received a notice from the IRS. What should I do?

The IRS sends tax notices for many different reasons. They may be requesting information concerning a past-due account balance or may be initiating a brand new tax audit.  We have listed some of the more common IRS notices below, but all IRS notices should be taken seriously.  No matter how minor the notice may appear to be, it should not be ignored. If you need any assistance, please contact us and we can advise you as to the proper course of action in dealing with the IRS.

I paid my tax bill late, and the IRS later sent a notice assessing large amounts of penalties and interest. Is there anything I can do about this?

If you need more time to file your tax return, then you can file Form 4868, which will extend the due date of your return for six months (individual returns only). However, the extension for filing your taxes is NOT an extension for paying your taxes. If you owe taxes, you must pay the tax due in full by the due date of the return, or the IRS will assess interest and penalties on the balance.
In certain circumstances, taxpayers can ask that a tax penalty be removed, or “abated.” This is where you ask the IRS for a waiver of the penalties based on what is called “reasonable cause.”  The IRS will waive penalties in some cases, along with the interest associated with any of the penalties they remove.  Some examples of “reasonable cause” include serious illness, death, divorce, natural disasters, war and other unexpected and traumatic events.

We have extensive experience in filing penalty abatement requests. Please contact us to see if we can assist you in getting the burdensome tax penalties removed from your account.

What will hiring your office help me with? Can’t I handle this matter myself?

As tax experts, we have the knowledge and experience to assist you with any tax problem. In many cases, not getting professional help is very costly.  Very few of our clients ever want to deal directly with the IRS, and most of our clients never meet face-to-face with the IRS.  Most people do not want to have to learn complex tax code and the intricacies of working within the IRS bureaucracy.   We also can save you the stress and headaches associated with researching the tax laws that apply to your case. While it may be possible to handle your tax case by yourself, you should consider all costs and risks associated with doing so.  If you are concerned about your result, please give us a call so we can assist.

The IRS has levied my bank account and garnished my wages. What should I do?

An IRS levy is a collection method the IRS uses to seize or take your property to satisfy your outstanding tax bill. The IRS CAN and WILL do this. Before the IRS can seize your property, they must do the following:

  • They must first assess the tax against you. This means that the amounts owing to the IRS are not currently under dispute.
  • They must issue a notice and demand for payment.
  • You must refuse to pay the assessment within 10 days of the notice and demand.
  • The IRS must send you a Notice of Levy.
  • You must refuse to pay the tax liability within 30 days of the Final Notice of Intent to Levy.

Bank levies are a one-time levy where the money in your account will be seized on the day of the levy only. However, the IRS can file subsequent bank account levies.  Wage garnishments, on the other hand, on on-going levies and will stay in place until the total tax bill is paid or the garnishment is otherwise released.  If the IRS has issued a levy, either on your bank, wages or other source of income, you need immediate professional assistance.  It is critical that you understand your rights and options at this point.  Please call us today- do not delay.

The IRS can also file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien against you and your property.  The IRS will normally file a Tax Lien if you owe $25,000 or more. The Tax Lien is not an actual collection method, but a notice to other creditors that the IRS has an interest in property you own. The Tax Lien will negatively affect your credit report and potentially your ability to borrow money. The Lien will not be removed until the tax is paid.

Fortunately, relief from both IRS levies and garnishments is available. However, you must act quickly. The bank is required to hold the funds in your account for 21 days. During this time, we can obtain a release of the bank levy so that no money is actually removed from your account. We can also obtain a release of a wage garnishment. A financial statement (IRS Form 433-A) will need to be submitted to our office to obtain relief. This Form can be obtained at www.irs.gov.

I owe the IRS back taxes, and I cannot afford to pay this right now. What are my options?

There are several collection options available, including having the IRS place your account in a noncollectable status.  However, in most cases, a payment plan will be required.  An IRS installment agreement is an agreement to pay taxes over a period of time in monthly installments. An installment agreement will stop other collection activity while you are making your payments on time.  In many cases, we can set up a payment plan for you by making one phone call to the IRS. However, in other cases, usually where your balance is $25,000 or more, we may need to take financial information via Form 433-F before the IRS will agree to a payment plan. You can obtain this form at the IRS website at www.irs.gov.or by clicking HERE

I owe the IRS a lot of money from many years ago.  How long can the IRS go back and try to collect this from me?

Generally, the IRS has 10 years from the date that the tax liability was assessed to collect any back taxes that are owed.  In many cases, the ten-year date starts to run when the tax return was filed or when additional taxes were assessed as the result of an audit.  There are many variations to determining when the ten-year date actually expires.  We can assist with ordering IRS computer account transcripts and analyzing them to determine when the IRS will no longer legally be permitted to collect your tax debts.  In some cases, the IRS collection statute is expiring soon and “doing nothing” may be the most attractive option available.

I owe the IRS payroll taxes from my business.  They are threatening to shut my business down.  What should I do?

The IRS looks at payroll tax liability cases as a major priority.  In fact, these cases rank higher on the IRS scale than do income tax audits, primarily because the IRS views these cases as “theft” cases.  Payroll taxes are considered a trust tax, which means that it is your responsibility as the business owner to withhold some income and employment taxes from your employee’s wages and pay it over to the government.  You will need to get this tax issue handled immediately or the IRS will make good on its threat to shut down your business.  Furthermore, the IRS can go after you personally (and any other responsible parties) for the amount of the trust fund portion of the employment/payroll taxes.  This type of tax issue should not be handled without professional representation.