: Tax preparation in our view is more than just preparing forms which are acceptable to the government. We provide comprehensive tax planning and support services as well. What's more we do it with a systematic approach in place and refined for 70 years.
A lot has changed in seven decades. What started with simple individual Federal returns (the "Triple Check" system - see details below) now includes state and occasionally local returns for various types of entities -- corporate, partnership and fiduciary. Also included are sales tax, payroll tax, estate/gift tax and the dreaded 5500 series for qualified retirement plans (see details on specific return types below).We prepare whatever is necessary to protect our client's interests and save them time, hassle and tax dollars - then follow up with full servicing. This servicing falls into three areas:
Part of our job is to work with our clients in making right choices for their situation (in taxes there frequently can be more than one "right" answer - the question becomes what is "best").
To this end we invite clients to set up tax planning appointments, respond timely and at no-cost to telephone inquiries and initiate selective "courtesy calls" between tax seasons to keep tabs on developing situations. We also hold free public seminars on various subjects to which our existing clients are invited. One of the most popular of these is our annual Living Trust seminar for property owners done in conjunction with the law firm of Klein and Cutler.
The goal of our tax planning effort is to help clients make tax-smart financial decisions in advance -- not just chronicle events after the fact.
Informational Newsletters and Reports
Our office makes available to its clients a variety of tax related materials - mostly in electronic format (although some are also featured in hard copy versions in our office literature rack).
The parent company of our practices is Audit Assistance Associates, Inc., an Enrolled Agent-founded firm with thirty years experience in handling literally thousands of tax audit and collection cases before the IRS. We utilize AAA procedures in dealing with government inquiries today at no extra charge on returns prepared by our office. We are also able to offer representation on new cases on a fee basis.
(A brief word on representation -- only lawyers, Certified Public Accountants, Public Accountants and Enrolled Agents can truly represent clients before the IRS. Other preparers can only appear with clients and furnish information and asdvice to the client. They have no right of advocacy or appeal. Of the authorized types of representatives, only Enrolled Agents are supervised by the Federal government and have passed a two day exam administered by the IRS.)
More about the "Triple Check" system
Originally "Triple Check" was a franchised system of tax preparation. It began with a standardized list of questions and 20 worksheets done in triplicate with carbon paper. The year was 1941 and the intent was to provide the most comprehensive interview then existing. These worksheets were then reviewed as to "theory" and "math" (the first two checks) before being hand-typed (again with carbon paper) and subjected to a final "assembly" check (hence the name "Triple Check").
In 1966 David Lieberman, a lawyer with the mergers and acquisition department of Universal Studios, combined the then-existing offices using the "Triple Check" system with three other practices to form the Triple Check Tax Services, which eventually became a publicly held firm with other subsidiaries. Our office was established in 1969. Franchising nationwide began in 1978 and our office was sold to its current owners in 1982.
All along the way tax laws grew ever more complex, and eventually there were over 100 interview sheets. Fortunately, thanks to copy machines, they weren't carbon paper sets in triplicate anymore. And, thanks to computers, the returns themselves didn't have to be hand-typed any longer either.
But as the clerical aspects became simpler, tax law and filing technology became more complex. Finally the State of California required commercially prepared personal returns to be filed electroncally - a service with which Triple Check was totally familiar (it had been involved in beta-testing at the Federal lever as early as 1988).
As a result in 2003 we dispensed with the worksheet system and went "paperless" relative to Federal and State personal returns. In 2004 the Triple Check brand was retired by new owners who had purchased it in 1999. The franchise network of independently owned and operated offices (inculuding ours) disbanded.
What makes return preparation even more challenging is keeping up with the volume of the underlying law and constant changes. We spend over a hundred hours each season in study and review so that we can help our clients make wise choices. And of course we have resources for researching special situations.
Types of Returns
Individual Return Preparation -- This is the most common return, divided into seven basic sections: information, exemptions, income, adjustments, deductions, calculation, and credits. Our systematic interview approach explores these sections and incorporates associated government schedules as need according to the needs of each client.