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Make Donation to Relief in Haiti Now and
Take a Deduction on Your 2009 Tax Return

On Jan. 22, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4462, which allows taxpayers to claim a charitable contribution deduction in tax year 2009 for donations made through March 1, 2010, for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. The contribution must be in cash and must meet the regular requirements for a charitable deduction.

Normally, a contribution made in 2010 would only be deductible in 2010. Those who claim the standard deduction, including all short-form filers, aren’t eligible.

Contributions made to foreign organizations are generally not deductible.  The IRS maintains a website of acceptable organizations at  Generally, contributions made to religious organizations are deductible.  If you send your donation by text, your phone bill can be used as proof of the donation.  If you write a check, make sure that it is dated and mailed on or before March 1, 2010, and keep a copy of the canceled check as proof of your contribution.


Thanks to all of the expert panelists and the participants at our recent roundtable lunch on the economy at the Riverside Chamber of Commerce.  Please check back for future events!


Tax Season Improvements

Our office has been in the process of transitioning to a paperless office for a few years.  This year, most of our processes will be electronic.

Here is how easy the process currently works-

1. Call our office to request your tax organizer.  We will e-mail it, along with your engagement letter.  When you are finished collecting your data, scan and e-mail, fax or mail your tax information to us with your organizer, engagement letter and retainer.  Your bookkeeping information will be transmitted electronically.

2. We will contact you via phone or e-mail if we have any questions or need any additional information.

3. When the return is completed, we will e-mail to you a draft to review.  If you approve of the draft, we will need for you to sign an authorization for us to e-file your return.  This can be done by e-mail, fax or mail.  Your return will then be electronically filed.  We will receive confirmation from the IRS that it has been processed. 

4. If you have a refund, you can request that it be direct deposited into your bank account or mailed to you.  If you owe, we can e-mail to you the coupon to mail in the payment.  You will also receive via e-mail a copy of your filed return.

Even with all of this technology, it is still very important that we set aside sometime to meet in person. At any stage of process you can come in for a consultation with Michelle.  One consultation is included in your tax preparation fee.  Some clients like to come in when they hand in their information.  Other clients like to come in to review the draft of their return.  Some clients prefer to not meet with Michelle during tax season.  Instead, they use their annual tax consultation for a tax planning meeting later in the year.  The choice is yours!

We are excited to announce that we will be adding to our website this year what is called a client portal.  The client portal is a secure place where all of your tax and bookkeeping information (reports, tax returns and correspondences) will be stored.  You can access this information at any time.  We pay a service to secure your information, and only you will have the password for your portal.  There will be no charge for this service.

In addition, our office is currently working with Quickbooks and our Webmaster to offer our clients Quickbooks Pro online.  Previously, the online version of Quickbooks had very limited capabilities.  This new service allows you to access the full, regular desktop version of Quickbooks from anywhere on any computer.  In addition, our office will no longer have to log-in to our clients' computers to review their bookkeeping, and clients will no longer have to send us backups.  We will also be adding this same feature for payroll later in the year.  If you have thought about using Quickbooks, but do not know how to begin, please call our office.  We offer one on one Quickbooks training.


Isn't technology amazing? 


What we are seeing now

A new client, who came in last week, told us of how he gave his "accountant" his 2007 tax return in 2008.  His tax returns are still not completed, and the "accountant" will not give him back his information to have his return prepared elsewhere.  We called this practitioner.  It turns out that he is not a CPA and, therefore, the client may have no recourse.  Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves an accountant in California.  In other words, all CPAs are accountants but not all accountants are CPAs.  I saw a recent public service ad that stated, "Your doctor is licensed, your attorney is licensed.  Shouldn't your accountant be licensed?"  If you would like to check the accounting license on someone, go to the California Board of Accountancy website. 





Pictured Above- Our office recently attended the annual Red Cross Play Day.  Michelle gave an uplifting talk about how to handle recent economic challenges.

New or Repeat Homebuyers- Obtain your tax credit rebate now!

If you bought a new home recently and have not owned a home for three years, you may qualify for the First Time Home Buyer tax credit of $8,000. 

The good news is that the credit has been extended to April. 

If you do not meet the requirements as a first time home buyer, do not despair. There is another credit available for repeat homebuyers.  Call our office for more information.

Amend your returns and potentially receive refunds

Did you know that if your returns contain mistakes or missed deductions that they can be amended?  You can claim a refund on amended returns for up to three years from the filing deadline, including extensions.  We are amending several returns, prepared by others, for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax years.

If you would like for us to review your returns for mistakes and missed deductions, please call our office.


Contact Us

In May, we will be celebrating our 10th year at the same location in Riverside, just blocks from the historic Mission Inn.  Please feel free to call us at (951) 784-9753 for an introductory phone consultation. Ms. Herting is a member of the Business Valuation and Forensic and Litigation Section of the AICPA, the Tax Specialist Section of the AICPA and the Technology Section of the AICPA.  She is also a member of the California Society of CPAs.

Our Firm

What do Gates, Buffet and Walton all have in common?  I bet they all have great CPAs. 
We are proud that almost all of our clients are referred to us by friends and collegues. Please see the "Firm Profile" section to learn why our office is so different from other CPA firms.




Our Clients

Please see "Our Clients" section for more information. 


Tools and Resources

Balance your checkbook, save for college educations, check the current tax rates, tax due dates, when you'll get your tax refund, incorporate your business, get the latest version of QuickBooks, securely send us your accounting files, pickup a previous years tax returns, or simply pay our fees online.

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