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If It Means I Don’t Have To Pay, That’s Fine With Me!

, , , , , , | Working | January 5, 2023

I work in a busy tax accounting firm. It’s morbid to say, but our area has a large retiree population, so something I see more prevalently here than at other firms is the number of deceased estate returns we prepare.

The usual procedure when we find out a client has died is to make a note of it and a note to not send information requests to the family for a period of time. Tax departments move slowly, so why rush a grieving family when this process will still take months to finalise?

One day, I answer a call from our admin officer.

Admin Officer: “Hi, I’ve got [Deceased Client] on the line. They’re just after an update to where their tax work is.”

Me: “Uh, are you sure that’s who is calling?”

Admin Officer: “Hold on. I’ll double-check the name.”

I’m put on a brief hold.

Admin Officer: “Yes, it’s [Deceased Client]. Did you want to take the call?”

Me: “Umm, okay. Yes, let’s do that.”

I frantically look for a pen and paper and open his file, thinking it must be his son or something.

I take the call. It turns out that we have two clients with similar names, and when we got the death notice, the admin officer at the time put the deceased marker next to the wrong name. [Client] is very much alive and is just checking where his tax work is because he hasn’t heard from us.

The admin officer came up to me, after the call, to check because I’d sounded so confused on the phone.

Admin Officer: “What was the go with [Client]? Had we forgotten his work or something?”

Me: “No! I thought he was dead!”

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