1. What is your firm’s billing structure?
Our billing structure is based on our hourly rates, which vary depending on the experience level of the professional who renders the services. Effective January 1, 2022, our principal’s hourly rate is $400 and the hourly rate for our associates is $175.
2. How much does your firm typically charge for preparation of individual tax returns?
It varies, depending on the complexity of the client’s issues, completeness of the data information provided, and the amount of time that it takes for us to address them. Our fees for clients with a relatively simple tax profile typically range between $850 – $1,500. For clients with a more complex profile, our fees typically range between $1,500 – $3,000 and for clients with a very complex profile, our fees normally start at $3,000. We have a minimum charge of $800 for individual tax return preparation.
3. Does your firm offer any free initial consultation before formally engaging for your services?
No, we don’t. But if you have a complex (or interesting) tax situation and find us may be a good fit for your needs, we’d be happy to set up a 15-minute introduction call with you. The purpose of the call is for us to assess the complexity of your issues (and for you to learn more about us) and see whether we can potentially work together.
4. Does your firm provide any attestation and assurance (e.g., financial audit), investment advisory, or outsourced CFO services?
No, we don’t. Our area of expertise is in taxation and we dedicate our efforts to serving clients with such needs.
5. Does your firm provide any bookkeeping services?
While we can certainly assist with compiling accounting reports and financial statements for certain business clients, we don’t provide any full-charge bookkeeping services or management of day-to-day in-house accounting functions (e.g., accounts receivable, accounts payable, etc). But we work alongside other accountants and bookkeepers who may be able to offer such services and we would be happy to make an introduction at your request.
6. Does your firm provide any investment services?
No we don’t. We are tax specialists and we are not qualified to provide any investment or financial advice. Nevertheless, we commonly work alongside other financial advisors, financial planners, wealth managers, etc as a team to prepare, strategize, and execute on plans for tax purposes. We don’t sell any retirement or insurance products.
7. Are you still taking on any new clients?
As of October 27, 2020, we are no longer accepting any individual tax clients unless you are being referred to us by an existing client or a business partner of our firm. We dedicate our efforts to serving clients who primarily have ongoing cross-border, equity compensation, M&A, startup, corporate structuring, and/or real estate-related tax issues. If you don’t have any of these issues, we would encourage you to contact another service provider for your needs.
8. I got your name from a friend. I am an employee/ a co-founder of a startup company and I am looking for assistance with planning around my stock options/grant. Can your firm help?
Absolutely. We deal with all kinds of equity compensation issues on a day-to-day basis. For most clients who are in that situation, we’d usually suggest having an one-hour billable consultation session (at our principal’s hourly rate) to go over the details and any specific questions that you may have. You could determine at the end of session whether any further analysis or assistance from us would be needed.
9. I noticed your firm is based in California and I live in New York. Can your firm handle my New York State & City tax issues?
Yes, we are fully qualified to practice New York State and City (and all other 49 U.S. states’) tax laws out of California. Indeed, a very large number of clients that we serve are based out of (or have some business presence in) New York.
10. Does your firm serve more business clients or individual clients?
The split of our clientele is about 40% business entities and 60% individuals. Out of the business clients that we serve, about two-third are VC-backed emerging companies. Out of the individual clients that we serve, about 70-80% are founders, early employees, or investors of some emerging companies.
11. I noticed that your firm practices international tax. Can you firm handle my foreign local tax reporting?
No, we can’t. Although we might have some understanding of most other developed countries’ local tax systems, we are only U.S. tax advisors and are not qualified to practice any foreign local tax laws. “International tax” in this context refers to the U.S. tax law and regulations governing cross-border transactions. Nevertheless, we often work alongside foreign advisors in optimizing and executing a worldwide tax efficient strategy for our clients.
12. I am searching for a CPA. Can I schedule for an “interview call” with you?
Please see FAQ #3 above. We’d encourage you to go through this FAQs page and make a preliminary assessment as to whether we would potentially be a good fit for your needs before reaching out.
13. Does your firm require an upfront retainer fee?
No, most of times we don’t require a retainer. All our clients came to us through referrals and we trust the quality of our leads. For certain cases, we’d ask for a retainer that’s meant to be used for covering certain upfront government fees required for filing your documents.
14. Is your firm capable of working with remote clients?
Yes, we’re fully equipped to provide our services 100% remotely and virtually, in a paperless environment. Most of our clients are in the tech space and tech-savvy; We feel very comfortable with accommodating such working habit of our clients, with utilizing various technologies effectively to support us. Nevertheless, whenever the situation allows, we’d love to meet our clients in person (and have a coffee break together!), at least once.
15. Does your firm offer any “Tax Audit-Protection”?
No, we don’t. We often deal with some very complex tax issues that have no/minimal existing guidance or precedent authorities. So it’s no surprise that sometimes our interpretations of the laws may require us to take certain position that could potentially be contested by the tax authorities. While we will use our best professional judgment in analyzing and substantiating the tax position taken, organically it’s not feasible for us to guarantee that it will be audit risk-free.
16. Can your firm represent me in a tax appeal case with the IRS? What about a tax litigation case in the Federal Tax Court?
Yes, we can. We are qualified and experienced in representing clients in most tax controversy and litigation cases with the federal and state tax agencies all the way to the Tax Court. Cases that require litigation in courts will be serviced by and through our affiliated law firm, Lee & Wu LLP.
17. Can your firm represent me on a non-California state and local tax matter?
Yes, we can. Our principal holds active professional licensures as a CPA, an attorney, and an Enrolled Agent. Our credentials allow us to practice tax in all 50 U.S. states.
18. I want to set up a living trust and need help with drafting other estate planning documents (e.g., wills, health directive, etc.). Can your firm help me with these?
No, we can’t. For any legal assistance on estate planning matters, attorneys from our affiliated law firm, Lee & Wu LLP, would be able to assist you further.
19. Does your firm provide more tax consulting services (e.g., stock option planning, M&A, international structure review, tax controversy etc.) or tax compliance and return preparation services?
On a yearly average basis, the split of our services by time spent is approximately 40% tax consulting and 60% tax compliance.
20. Does your firm outsource any client work to third party service providers, especially those located outside of the U.S.?
No, we don’t. We take very precautious care in safeguarding client information. Due to privacy concerns, all our engagement services will be rendered in-house by our U.S. based staff members.
21. I am interested in learning more about your firm. Can your firm provide me a few references who I can speak with to learn more about the experiences of using your services?
We believe that the best way to learn more about the experiences of working with us is to have a chat with the person who is referring you to us. All our clients came to us through referrals either by an existing client or a strategic business partner. We are particularly interested in speaking with clients who already have some knowledge about our firm and are interested in building a long-term relationship with us.
22. What forms of payment can your firm accept?
We can accept payments via e-check, paper check, wire transfer, credit cards, PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, Square Cash, and cryptos (BitCoin or USDC).