Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our Top F.A.Q.'s we get on a normal basis

Internal Revenue Service
  • How do I notify the IRS my address has changed?

    Oral Notification – Tell us in person or by telephone.

    Tax Return – Use your new address when you file.

    Written Statement – Send us a signed written statement with your:

      • full name
      • old address
      • new address
      • social security number, ITIN, or EIN

    Mail your signed statement to the address where you filed your last return.

    IRS Form – Use Form 8822, Change of Address or Form 8822-B, Change of Address or Responsible Party – Business

  • Is there an age limit on claiming my child as a dependent?

    To claim your child as your dependent, your child must meet either the qualifying child test or the qualifying relative test:

    • To meet the qualifying child test, your child must be younger than you and either younger than 19 years old or be a “student” younger than 24 years old as of the end of the calendar year.
    • There’s no age limit if your child is “permanently and totally disabled” or meets the qualifying relative test.

    In addition to meeting the qualifying child or qualifying relative test, you can claim that person as a dependent only if these three tests are met:

    1. Dependent taxpayer test
    2. Citizen or resident test, and
    3. Joint return test

  • How much income can an unmarried dependent student make before he or she must file an income tax return?

    An unmarried dependent student must file a tax return if his or her earned or unearned income exceeds certain limits. To find these limits, refer to Dependents under Who Must File in Publication 501, Dependents, Standard Deduction and Filing Information. You can also refer to Do I Need to File a Tax Return? to see if your income requires you to file.

    Even if you don’t have to file a federal income tax return, you should file if you can get money back (for example, you had federal income tax withheld from your pay or you qualify for a refundable tax credit). See Who Should File in Publication 501 for more examples.

  • Can I receive a tax refund if I am currently making payments under an installment agreement or payment plan for another federal tax period?

    No, one of the conditions of your installment agreement is that the IRS will automatically apply any refund (or overpayment) due to you against taxes you owe. Because your refund isn’t applied toward your regular monthly payment, continue making your installment agreement payments as scheduled.

    If your refund exceeds your total balance due on all outstanding tax liabilities including accruals, you’ll receive a refund of the excess unless you owe certain other past-due amounts, such as  state income tax, child support, a student loan, or other federal nontax obligations which are offset against any refund. For more information on these non-IRS refund offsets, you can call the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) at 800-304-3107 (toll-free).

  • To qualify for head of household filing status, do I have to claim my child as a dependent?

    Generally, to qualify for head of household filing status, you must have a qualifying child or a dependent. However, a custodial parent may be eligible to claim head of household filing status based on a child even if he or she released a claim to exemption for the child. See Noncustodial parent is claiming an exemption for my child; do I still qualify as head of household?

  • What should I do if I made a mistake on my federal return that I've already filed?

    It depends on the type of mistake you made:

    • Many mathematical errors are caught during the processing of the tax return and corrected by the IRS, so you may not need to correct these mistakes.
    • If you didn’t claim the correct filing status or you need to change your income, deductions, or credits, you should file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040-X,  Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.

    When filing an amended or corrected return:

    • Include copies of any forms and/or schedules that you’re changing or didn’t include with your original return.
    • To avoid delays, file Form 1040-X only after you’ve filed your original return. Generally, for a credit or refund, you must file Form 1040-X within 3 years after the date you timely filed your original return or within 2 years after the date you paid the tax, whichever is later.
    • Allow the IRS up to 16 weeks to process the amended return.

  • What is a split refund?

    A split refund lets you divide your refund, in any proportion you want, and direct deposit the funds into up to three different accounts with U.S. financial institutions. Use Part I of Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases) to request to have your refund split. The accounts must be in your name. You may also use part or all of your refund to buy up to $5,000 in paper or electronic U.S. Series I Savings Bonds for yourself or someone else by using Part II of Form 8888.

  • How do I know if I have to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

    Generally, you must make estimated tax payments for the current tax year if both of the following apply:

    • You expect to owe at least $1,000 in tax for the current tax year after subtracting your withholding and refundable credits.
    • You expect your withholding and refundable credits to be less than the smaller of:
      • 90% of the tax to be shown on your current year’s tax return, or
      • 100% of the tax shown on your prior year’s tax return. (Your prior year tax return must cover all 12 months.)

    There are special rules for:

    • Farmers and fishermen
    • Certain household employers
    • Certain higher income taxpayers
    • Nonresident aliens

  • I retired last year and started receiving social security payments. Do I have to pay taxes on my social security benefits?

    Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They don’t include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which aren’t taxable. The net amount of social security benefits that you receive from the Social Security Administration is reported in Box 5 of Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement, and you report that amount on line 5a of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors PDF. The taxable portion of the benefits that’s included in your income and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year. You report the taxable portion of your social security benefits on line 5b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

    Your benefits may be taxable if the total of (1) one-half of your benefits, plus (2) all of your other income, including tax-exempt interest, is greater than the base amount for your filing status.

    The base amount for your filing status is:

    • $25,000 if you’re single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),
    • $25,000 if you’re married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year,
    • $32,000 if you’re married filing jointly,
    • $0 if you’re married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year.

    If you’re married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits. Even if your spouse didn’t receive any benefits, you must add your spouse’s income to yours when figuring on a joint return if any of your benefits are taxable.

    Generally, you can figure the taxable amount of the benefits in Are My Social Security or Railroad Retirement Tier I Benefits Taxable?, on a worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR or in Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. However, if you made contributions to a traditional Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) for 2019 and you or your spouse were covered by a retirement plan at work or through self-employment, use the worksheets in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to see if any of your social security benefits are taxable and to figure your IRA deduction.

  • What are the tax changes for this year?

    For highlights of the tax changes for the current tax year, refer to the “What’s New” section of the following:

    Individuals – Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR.

    Businesses – Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer’s Tax Guide or the instructions of your current business tax forms.

Mobile Notary
  • Identification Requirements – What to Bring?

    Proper identification is needed for any notary public service requiring acknowledgement of signature/s. The following types of identification are recognized in California as valid if they are issued by the state within the last 5 years:

    • Driver’s License or Commercial Driver’s License
    • Foreign Passport
    • ID Card
      • Senior Identification Card
      • Under 18 Identification Card
      • California Identification Card
    • Indian Reservation Identification
    • US Passport

    If the following types of identification are current and have been issued within the last 5 years, they are acceptable:

    • Canadian or Mexican Driver’s License
      (Issued by an Authorized Agency)
    • Driver’s License or ID Card Issued by Another State
    • US Military Identification Card

    All identification cards must contain a photo, signature, physical description, and serial number.

  • Must the person signing the document be in the presence of the notary?

    To give an oath, the person must sign in the presence of the notary. For other documents, the person must sign the document or acknowledge their signature in person. This also applies to performing e-notarization (electronic notarial) acts.

  • Can a Notary Public prepare or assist in the preparation of any documents?

    No, a notary public can only witness the signing of the documents, not assist or prepare any documents. To assist or prepare documents would be an unlawful practice of law. This keeps the notary’s position as an impartial witness to the signing.

  • Can I be refused a notarization?

    A notary public may refuse to perform a notarization if he or she cannot be certain of a prospective signer’s identity, willingness, or understanding of what is happening at that moment. In addition, a notary may not notarize a document in which he or she has a financial interest.

  • Can a notary certify a copy of a document?

    State laws may vary, but in general, no. For vital records documents such as birth certificates and marriage certificates, the requestor should visit the local agency that holds these documents, such as a local county clerk. There are some limited instances when a notary may certify a copy, but it is best to check with the notary of your state.

  • Can a notary public prepare or notarize immigration papers?

    A notary may notarized papers those that require notarization such as the Affidavit of Support, but they may not prepare or file another person’s immigration papers unless he or she is an attorney or a US DOJ accredited representative.