We Offer the Following Services to Individuals:

  • Federal and Multi-State Income Tax Return Preparation
  • Comprehensive Tax Planning
  • Gift Tax Preparation and Planning

What Kind of Tax Preparer Do I Need?

Any person or company that has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification (PTIN) can be paid to prepare your individual tax return. But it’s important to understand the difference between the types of credentials and what they are allowed to do.

CPAs, Attorneys, and Enrolled Agents are tax professionals who can represent people on any tax related matter including audits, payment and collection issues, and appeals.

People who are not CPAs, attorneys, or enrolled agents – such as the part time help employed during tax season by a lot of franchise tax businesses – are more limited in how they can represent the client to the IRS. These people cannot represent a person if they did not personally prepare their return, and also cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collections issues regardless if they prepared their return.

Complex Tax Returns

Here at Steward Ingram & Cooper PLLC, we specialize in complex tax returns for taxpayers in Raleigh.

Our primary focus is on taxpayers with more complex tax issues. These may include multi-state returns, foreign taxes, timing and tax consequences of company stock options or tax-deferred exchanges. We assist individuals in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Apex, Wake Forest, Wilson, and all surrounding areas.

Important Due Dates for Individuals

  • April 15 – Individual tax return (form 1040)
  • April 15 – 1st quarter estimated taxes
  • April 15 – Last day to make HSA and IRA contributions for 2020
  • June 15 – 2nd quarter estimated taxes
  • September 15 – 3rd quarter estimated taxes
  • October 15 – Final due date for extended returns
  • January 15, 2021 – 4th quarter estimated taxes

Personal Tax Planning & Preparation: Frequently Asked Questions

What accounting services do you offer to individuals?

At Steward Ingram & Cooper PLLC, we prepare tax returns for individuals in the Raleigh-Durham area and beyond. We offer services that include federal and multi-state income tax return preparation, comprehensive tax planning, and gift tax preparation and planning. 

How do I file a tax extension? 

At Steward, Ingram & Cooper PLLC our tax preparers can file both state and federal tax extensions for our clients.

For Federal tax returns you can file an extension electronically by using Free File through the IRS to make your request. This gives you until October 15th to file a return. You should also estimate your tax liability when doing this and pay any amount due. If there is an overpayment, you will receive a refund once all your paperwork is complete.

If you cannot file the North Carolina Individual Income Tax Return by the due date you can file an extension using Form D-410. You may apply for a six-month extension of time to file the return.

Does a tax extension delay the tax payment due date?

Some people assume that when they seek a tax extension, it will give them more time to pay what they may owe. But, filing an extension only gives you more time to finish your paperwork. Any money due is still expected on the tax deadline, which in this case is April 18th. 

What is the difference between married filing separately and jointly?

When a couple files jointly, this means all their income, assets, dependents, and deductions are combined and included on one tax return. Married, filing separately means that both parties file their own returns, keeping their individual income, investments, and property separate.

Should I choose married filing jointly on my tax return? 

An overwhelming majority of married couples choose to file jointly. It’s easier, and the benefits include a lower tax rate and increased tax deductions, including the child tax credit and capital loss deductions, which are twice the amount than the threshold for filing separately. There are other benefits that can be explored in this article.

The other main benefit to filing jointly is when it comes to your retirement account. Married couples who file together have significantly higher income eligibility thresholds for a Roth IRA. Contact our CPAs to discuss whether this filing status is right for you and your spouse. 

Are there benefits for married couples that still choose to file taxes separately?

There are many benefits to married couples that file a joint tax return; however, there are scenarios in which it could be better to file separately. If both spouses are high income earners in the same tax bracket, you may benefit from filing separately.

If you are using income based repayment to repay your student loans, filing separately can result in a lower payment plan. If one spouse has a large amount of medical expenses, it may be better to file separately in order to itemize the costs. 

Do I have to pay taxes on stocks?

In nearly every situation, yes. If your stocks are all held in a traditional brokerage account (as opposed to an IRA or 401K), they won’t be taxed just sitting there. However, if you sell stock and make a profit, that profit is subject to the capital gains tax. This is the amount you pay when you sell any asset for more than you had paid, whether it’s a rental home, car, collectible, or stock.

For investments you own, you may receive periodic payments, such as dividends. These also demand taxation, even if the dividend is reinvested into additional shares. If you need help navigating taxes on stocks, read this article or contact our CPAs in Raleigh or Durham CPAs.

Can I reduce my taxable income? 

Yes, there are ways to reduce your taxable income. Retirement plans, health savings accounts, and 529 savings accounts for college are all beneficial ways to reduce your overall taxable income. 

When do I start planning for retirement?

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement. It’s recommended that by age 67, you should have saved 10 times your final salary. Most financial experts estimate that you’ll need 70 to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income to keep up with your standard of living.

You should also consider any debts you’ll still owe after retirement, what type of housing situation you’ll be in, and what type of health insurance plan you’ll have after retiring. Having an in-depth understanding of your finances and creating a realistic budget is essential to a successful retirement.

How are retirement funds taxed?

Most pension income is funded with pretax income, so they are taxable when you receive the funds. IRA and 401(k) deferrals are generally taxed when distributions are made. Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k) deferral are made with after-tax dollars. Therefore, the withdrawals, including earnings, are tax free if the accounts are held for the required time.

Tax planning for your retirement income and investments can ensure you’re not surprised by a cut to your income.