US Individual Income Tax Services – Engagement Information
We are pleased to engage with you to provide US tax services. The Engagement Information that follows, and the associated Terms of Business, forms the agreement between us. The Engagement Letter email needs to be accepted by you within 2 weeks of the date on the email.
You have requested provision of the services set out in the “Anticipated Services” section of the Engagement Letter email. The purpose of the services is to satisfy your compliance obligations.
We will write to and accept instructions from you or your designated contact.
You will be our primary contact when delivering the services on the basis that you are the person with the knowledge, experience and ability to make decisions in relation to the services and our recommendations. You may designate an alternative person as the primary contact by providing us with their contact details via email.
To enable us to prepare your tax returns, we shall write to you requesting the information we require. To assist you in providing your tax data, we will give you access to a tax data organizer. It is mandatory that this organizer is completed and returned to us electronically. Where you do not answer a question in the affirmative, or leave a question unanswered, we will assume it does not pertain to your situation.
The tax returns must be filed and tax should be paid by fixed dates. Penalties will be incurred if a tax return is filed late and interest will be payable on tax unpaid or late. Accordingly it is essential that we have all of the necessary information to prepare the tax returns in sufficient time to complete the tax returns. You agree that we shall have no responsibility for delays or your liabilities, including interest and penalties and additional tax liabilities, caused or materially contributed to by:
- The supply to us of inaccurate or incomplete information;
- The failure to supply us with the information we need within a reasonable time of our requesting that information; or
- Failure by you to follow our instructions.
Timetable and duration
We will commence preparation of the services when you provide us with your completed tax data organizer, and any other data required in order to fully satisfy your tax filing and informational reporting requirements.
Upon receipt of your tax data and confirmation, either explicit or implied, that all tax documentation required to prepare a complete and accurate tax return has been provided to us, we will prepare and deliver your tax return(s) within four weeks. This is an estimate in advance of starting work and we will let you know if this will change.
We will prepare and submit requests for an extension of time to file your Federal tax return and will, if instructed, provide details of payments that need to be made with the applications, on the basis of information supplied by you. We do not accept responsibility for penalties and interest charged as a result of extension tax payments being assessed as too low if additional tax information is provided subsequent to our calculation of the extension tax payment. Please note that in the event that your invoice remains unpaid, an extension may not be filed on your behalf.
Approval of tax returns
Your tax returns will be submitted to you for review, approval and signature, enabling you to provide us with signed e-file consent forms, or enabling you to send the signed returns directly to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and/or State Tax Authority (STA) if you are not e-filing. Most tax returns can now be e-filed.
This is required as you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy and completeness of your tax returns. It is therefore very important that you understand and agree the content of the tax return and any computations before they are submitted, as you will be better placed than us to identify any omissions of relevant matters and to judge the accuracy and adequacy of the various descriptions and analyses.
We will calculate and advise you of the tax due or refundable when your tax returns are sent to you for review and signature. When filing tax returns, or amendments to tax returns, it is often necessary to send an accompanying check in settlement of tax owed to the relevant authorities. All checks should be made payable to the appropriate third party, for example the IRS or STA. We do not handle checks and we will return any checks to you at your own expense. This could cause delays in the payment of taxes owed, which may lead to additional interest and penalties, for which we will not be responsible.
The IRS or STA may issue notices in respect of the tax returns prepared by us. Where they are issued, and on any occasion where the IRS or STA makes any amendment to your tax return, we will check those amendments and respond on your behalf to any which appear to be incorrect on the basis of the information with which we have been provided. In all other instances, we will agree the fee with you before we do any work relating to the notice.
Elections and other tax returns
If instructed by you, we will consider possible elections which might be required outside of normal tax return preparation and, where agreed and appropriate, make such elections in the form and manner required by the relevant authorities. If instructed, we will also prepare other tax returns relevant to you. We will agree the fee with you before we do any work relating to the preparation of elections and other tax returns.
Reports of foreign bank & financial accounts – FinCEN Form 114
We are not engaged to prepare your Report of Foreign Bank & Financial Accounts (FBAR) unless otherwise specified in the “Anticipated Services” on the Engagement Letter email, or in other written instruction by you. The FBAR must be received by fixed dates (currently April 15 of the following year with a six month extension available) and penalties may be incurred if an FBAR is filed late; paragraph 3 of the associated Terms of Business applies to the FBAR as it applies to your tax return. FBARs must be electronically filed otherwise penalties may apply.
Statement of specified foreign financial assets – Form 8938
You are aware that Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets, is not included in your Federal income tax return fee. If you have a filing requirement, the work may be billed at our hourly rates if we are not preparing your FBAR.
Individual tax advisory services
We are available to provide additional individual tax advisory services outside the scope of the preparation of the tax return throughout the year. We will carry out such work on the basis set out in the associated Terms of Business and depending on the nature and complexity of the advice needed, an additional fee may be payable. If this is the case, we will agree the fee with you before we do any work.
Our advice will be based on the law, regulations and guidance applying at the date the services are provided. After our advice is delivered, we are not under any obligation to inform you of subsequent changes in law, regulations or guidance, and the advice will not be updated to reflect any subsequent changes in law, regulations or guidance.
Internal Revenue Code section 7216 consents
Internal Revenue Code section 7216 was expanded by the IRS to give taxpayers greater control over their private data. This was primarily due to the IRS recognizing the significant increase in electronic handling of tax data, including online tax data gathering, electronic tax return preparation, and e-filing of tax returns. Due to the way in which we do business, we need to obtain your consent whenever there is “disclosure” or “use” of your tax information. By signing the 7216 consent form, you consent that your tax return information may be transferred within and across international borders to either a member of Expat US Tax’s international network of firms or to certain other accountants and administrative staff working under the direction of Expat US Tax. This is “disclosure” and it generally applies to tax return preparation. If you request us to provide advice on other US tax issues, over and above the tax return you have engaged us to prepare, we may require an additional consent, being the “use” of your tax return information for other purposes, such as tax consulting.