The 1040 Footprint

Successful financial and investment decisions start with a thorough understanding of your tax situation

Assets, Deductions, Life

Your tax return provides great insight into your ability to reach your short- and long-term financial goals

Distinct Advantage

As tax professionals, we evaluate the short- and long-term tax implications of every potential investment strategy

Hidden Gems

Some years the best investment returns you can achieve are deployed using your tax return, courtesy of Uncle Sam

What the “Plus” is all about

My name is Joel Dimengo, co-founder of 1040Plus, a northeast Ohio tax preparation firm that has been saving taxpayers money for more than twenty-five years.

Over the years I began to take notice of a common pattern on tax returns that came across my desk:

  1. There was not enough investment income relative to wages, meaning clients were either not saving enough, or they were realizing poor returns on money that they had saved
  2. Too many clients had gotten poor financial advice in the past, as they suffered substantial losses in the financial markets, or were invested in products that were not suitable for their life stage
  3. The best guaranteed returns on investment that I’ve ever witnessed have been achieved via the tax return, courtesy of Uncle Sam

As a lifelong investor and student of the financial markets, it became readily apparent that there was a genuine need for taxpayers, with the help of their preparers, to become more vigilant of all the “tax advantaged” financial opportunities that are available to them. Which is why I developed the 1040Plus™ website, a valuable and engaging resource of information for individual taxpayers and preparers alike.

And who better to help taxpayers get started in the planning and investment process than their tax preparer? After all, the tax preparer is a number-savvy professional who is already familiar with their client’s financial and life-stage circumstances, has been exposed to a variety of financial circumstances at similar life stages, and is genuinely interested in the financial well-being of each and every client. By making themselves available to their clients year-round to help evaluate financial decisions that ultimately have tax ramifications, the tax preparer is in the unique position of being both the alpha and omega of many of those decisions.

Read on to learn more about the financial areas that 1040Plus™ tax preparers are able to assist you with.

Eligibility

Completing your taxes and gaining a better understanding of your financial situation presents an optimal time to have a preliminary discussion about your financial objectives. But because life circumstances tend to affect one’s willingness (or ability) to explore options, here are a few points to consider before we proceed:

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Credit Worthiness

If you’re carrying high-interest credit card balances every month, our first conversations are likely to be about eliminating or refinancing the monthly interest charges before trying to discuss a tax or investment strategy.

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Stability

If your employment outlook is uncertain, or if you may be considering a major purchase such as a home or business in the next couple of years, we would likely suggest that you remain liquid for the time being.

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Time Frame

While you can realize immediate rewards on some tax saving strategies, the greater wealth-accumulating strategies require a long-term commitment and philosophy that produce steady annual tax savings over time.

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Risk Tolerance

Unlike investing in the financial markets, tax savings are quantifiable and predictable from year to year, and thus can be planned around to produce guaranteed, oftentimes instant, returns.

Service Overview

As tax professionals who are well-apprised of their client’s financial and life circumstances, we’ll help you explore financial opportunities that arise along three different timelines: 1) instant-benefit tax transactions, 2) downstream-benefit tax implications, and 3) long-term-benefit investment strategies

Realize an immediate return on your financial strategy courtesy of Uncle Sam. As tax professionals we have the distinct advantage of performing a “What If?” scenario on the current-year tax return to inform a client how much he or she would save on taxes by implementing a strategy on the tax return at (or prior to) the time of filing.

And it’s not only about a reduction in tax. Oftentimes by reducing income (aka AGI) we see other credits kick in that can enhance the return on investment. Here are some of the more popular strategies that can be implemented on your tax return to achieve immediate results during the preparation and filing process:
 

There are a number of financial strategies one can employ which, while not resulting in tax savings on the current-year tax return, can help an individual keep more of what they earn downstream by subjecting less of their income to tax or ensuring that certain expenditures qualify for a tax benefit.

Some examples of downstream tax-saving financial strategies in which the tax savings are not realized on the current-year tax return:
 

  • Contributions to a salary reduction retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b)
  • Roth IRA contribution, including “Back Door” Roth contributions for high earners
  • Calculating the optimal time to begin receiving Social Security benefits  -premium content available-
  • Alternatives for high earners unable to deduct Student Loan Interest  -premium content available-
  • Purchasing or refinancing a principal residence or vacation home
  • Switching from W2 employee to independent contractor to take advantage of new tax laws  -premium content available-

Viewed as a long-term commitment to overall financial health, investment strategies provide the roadmap for a client’s ability to reach his or her lifelong financial goals. While the 1040Plus™ Tax Preparer is not authorized to fill the role of Investment Adviser or assess a client’s risk tolerance to determine his or her suitability for certain types of investments, we can advise you on the tax ramifications for certain kinds of investments as they pertain to your specific tax situation.

Following are investment-tax “What-If” scenarios we are currently able to assist you with:
 

  • Muni Bond Interest vs Ordinary Interest Income
  • Qualified Dividends & Capital Gains vs Ordinary Interest Income
  • Qualified Dividends & Capital Gains in a Traditional IRA vs IRA Distributions
  • Real Estate Investment Analyzer  -premium content available-
  • Fixed Income Leverage Analyzer  -premium content available-

Premium Content

All of our premium topics give users the option to access a web-based interactive calculator that demonstrates the results that can be achieved with our expert guidance. While there is free, limited-use access to each topic, registration will be required to gain access to the topic’s interactive calculator feature.

Traditional IRA Contribution

“Ask your broker if they can guarantee a return like this” is what I’ve often remarked to clients after using the Traditional IRA Contribution to generate tax savings of up to 70% of the money invested in year one, while also knowing that, in many cases, part or all of those contributions could be tax free coming out…

W-2 vs SE

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 changed the equation for employees with occupations that incurred significant unreimbursed business expenses, which are now deductible only for the self-employed, who also enjoy above-the-line deductions for health insurance and pension as well as a 20% income deduction…

When to begin drawing Social Security

Many competing theories abound as to what the optimal age is to begin drawing Social Security. From actuarial tables to the time value of money to the intangibles, the single wildcard that no one knows better than your tax preparer is the impact, if any, of income taxes on Social Security benefits at various stages of your life…

Real Estate Investment Analyzer

A required exercise for anyone considering an investment in real estate rental property, this calculator encourages the user to consider rental property variables most investors fail to adequately quantify. The bottom line should be compared with what can be achieved with our Fixed Income Leverage Analyzer…

Qualified Charitable Distribution

Giving Just Got Better™. If you’re 72 years old or more and subject to taxable Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA, make part or all of those distributions non-taxable by distributing any amount you wish up to $100,000 directly to charity, even if you don’t itemize. Because the strategy reduces your AGI…

The Student Loan Interest Quandary

A personal crusade of mine after seeing too many of our hardest-working and brightest students earn well-paying jobs after graduation, only to be informed by Uncle Sam that the interest on their student loan payments will not be deductible because their income is too high. Here’s a couple of ways to fight back…

The IRMAAZone™

A must read for retirees subject to Medicare’s income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA), which is a higher premium charged by Medicare Part B and Part D to individuals and couples with higher incomes. If you’re “in the zone” an astute tax preparer can ensure you take advantage of the savings with careful planning…

Fixed Income Leverage Analyzer

Enhance your return on investment in stocks, bonds, and funds by using brokerage-funded margin loans. See how “leverage” (when the expected rate of return exceeds the loan rate) can produce an impressive stream of cash flow from a relatively modest down payment, a concept similar to real estate rentals…

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Frequently Asked Questions

Taxes

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I'm in no position to invest. Can 1040Plus just do my taxes?

Absolutely. Tax preparation has always been our core service and will remain so for many years to come.

Are 1040Plus tax preparation fees higher as a result of its broader approach to taxes?

Here’s a page from Drake Software’s November 2019 survey of tax preparation fee charges.

And as you can see from our flat fee Tax e-form service, our basic tax preparation fees can be very competitive, even if you require some of the most common extra forms.

Our more personalized one-to-one preparation services tend to result in higher fees as these services generally are more time-consuming and require extra forms such as Education Credit, Self Employment, Rental Income, City Return, etc. Fees start at $125 for the simple Federal Form 1040 and State. Extra forms can run from $15 to $50 per form, plus time charges for those forms that require multiple entries. Feel free to call us for a quote if this is the service you prefer.

Performing the “What-If” scenario while preparing your tax return is ingrained in our preparation process, which we are eager to discuss with you if and when a tax-saving opportunity arises.

Will I be charged extra for 1040Plus to tell me how much I can save by making an IRA contribution on this year's taxes?

Only if our recommendation results in action on your part, so we would discuss any extra fees with you up front before going forward. In the specific case of making an IRA contribution, it generally results in an extra form or two being prepared, hence extra charges. Your unique tax situation may also require us to “optimize” your IRA contribution (i.e. not contribute more than you need to gain max results) which often results in extra savings. You’ll always find that the resulting tax savings will more than justify the cost of any extra work on our part, which often is as little as $25.

Will my 1040Plus preparer represent me in the event of an audit?

While attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents have unlimited representation rights and can represent clients before any office of the IRS, 1040Plus employs Registered Tax Return Preparers, now known as Annual Filing Season Program preparers.

Per IRS Circular 230 Registered Tax Return Preparers “may represent taxpayers before revenue agents, customer service representatives, or similar officers and employees of the Internal Revenue Service (including the Taxpayer Advocate Service) during an examination if the registered tax return preparer signed the tax return or claim for refund for the taxable year or period under examination. Unless otherwise prescribed by regulation or notice, this right does not permit such individual to represent the taxpayer, regardless of the circumstances requiring representation, before appeals officers, revenue officers, Counsel or similar officers or employees of the Internal Revenue Service or the Treasury Department. A registered tax return preparer’s authorization to practice under this part also does not include the authority to provide tax advice to a client or another person except as necessary to prepare a tax return, claim for refund, or other document intended to be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service.”

Can 1040Plus recommend specific investment products for my tax-saving strategy?

As tax return preparers and not Registered Investment Advisers, we are not authorized to recommend specific investment products. We can identify the “type” of product in which to invest to achieve the tax-saving strategy you are seeking, and can often direct you to an adviser (or robo-adviser) depending on your circumstances.

Can I really achieve better returns on my investments if I have 1040Plus do my taxes?

Oftentimes, yes, as our preparers can spot items on your brokerage statements, during the normal tax preparation process, that you may not be aware of or that your broker has failed to advise you of. And oftentimes the tax savings via IRA and HSA contributions, or Qualified Charitable Distributions, can well exceed conventional investment returns.

What if my investment adviser disagrees with 1040Plus' tax-saving investment strategy?

We’d be happy to do a three-way conference with you and your investment adviser to discuss his or her hesitancy or reluctance, with the ultimate goal for all parties to be in agreement, even if that means forgoing your current-year tax strategy in favor of one that your adviser had in mind.

Does 1040Plus advise on the tax ramifications of more speculative investments such as precious metals, commodities, options, collectibles, and digital currencies?

While we are not experts in these areas at present, if/when a client presents us with an unusual situation we will often do preliminary research before deciding to handle the matter in-house or refer to a specialist.

Investments

Other

Can I do my own taxes and use 1040Plus strictly for investment planning as it relates to my tax situation?

Absolutely, and you’ll see that the majority of our Premium topics serve just that purpose. Each topic is intended to empower astute DIYers to benefit from the given basic strategy, with an option to purchase more capability or hire 1040Plus for professional assistance.

I'm halfway across the country from your offices. How can I get my information to 1040Plus?

Besides the standard methods of snail mail, FedEx, UPS, and fax, here are the secure digital methods we employ:

We strongly discourage the use of regular email to send sensitive financial information to us that is not encrypted.

I'd prefer to retain my current tax preparer. Will 1040Plus allow me to share its premium content with my tax preparer?

By all means, share the link to our Premium content with your tax preparer. Some topics have Adviser Membership and/or Affiliate options your tax preparer may be interested in.

I'm a tax preparer and would like my clients to have access to your Premium content. Does 1040Plus offer a Group Plan?

See preceding Q & A

About 1040Plus

“Providing a professional level of tax service at a better price for the common man” – Anton M. Lavrisha, Founder of 800-TAX REFUND, Inc. (parent company of 1040Plus), whose words twenty-nine years ago formed the foundation for the mission of 800-TAX REFUND, Inc.

“Empowering taxpayers with the resources they need to better themselves” – Joel T. Dimengo, President of 800-TAX REFUND, Inc., whose investments in technology and innovation would distinguish the methods by which 800-TAX REFUND, Inc. carries out its mission.

From its two neighborhood tax offices in northeast Ohio, 800-TAX REFUND, Inc. quickly gained a national following in January 1998 when IRS granted the company the first legislative privilege of its kind: the authority to accept fax signatures in lieu of original signatures. Continued development in delivering convenient, responsive, and affordable tax services to taxpayers nationwide would later help 800-TAX REFUND, Inc. become one of just two companies to earn the IRS Industry Partner Award in each of the thirteen years that IRS granted the award.

800-TAX REFUND, Inc. assists thousands of taxpayers each year in having their taxes prepared and/or filed electronically, and 1040Plus™ represents the company’s latest initiative to extend its expertise in areas of tax and finance that are certain to benefit taxpayers and preparer-advisers alike.

1040Plus

2775 Front Street
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
PH: (330) 434-6655 or (800) TAX-REFUND
FX: (330) 434-8130 or (800) 794-8851
email: support@1040plus.com
secure email: 1040plus@share.hyperfiles.net
secure document portal: https://share.hyperfiles.net/filedrop/1040plus
Tax Season Hours: 10-5 ET Mon-Fri 10-1 Sat

Off Season Hours: 10-1 ET Mon-Fri

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