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We’re Sure Rover Appreciates That

, , , , , , | Right | November 4, 2022

I’m performing a client tax interview. The clients are a middle-aged woman and her equally middle-aged husband. They have two children who are in college and are not along with them today. I need birthdates to finalize taxes.

I ask the clients when the wife’s birthday is. She opens her mouth to answer, but the husband speaks first.

Husband: “I don’t know.”

His wife sighs.

Me: “Okay. When’s your birthday?”

Husband: “I don’t remember.”

I sigh.

Me: “How about your children’s birthdays?”

Husband: “I don’t recall those, either.”

Me: “Do… do you know anyone’s birthday?”

Husband: *Proudly* “I know my dog’s birthday!”

His wife snorted like she was trying to repress a laugh and then handed me a sheet on which she’d written everyone’s birthdays… except the dog’s.

And If I Don’t Have The Money, You Don’t Have My Work

, , , | Right | October 25, 2022

I have been doing some basic bookkeeping and accounting services, as well as some research projects, for a client for about a year. All of this has been done at a very low fee; we’re talking less than $20 an hour. Over the last few months, I have mentioned a few times in passing that the client should expect some rate increases in the following year. A few days ago, this conversation occurred.

Client: “We probably won’t be able to afford the same types of invoices for the next few months, as things are pretty tight with cash flow right now.”

Me: “That’s fine. We can cut the number of hours I work for you temporarily until things bounce back.”

Client: “No, we still need you to do the same amount of work and complete all the same reports and things. We are just only going to pay you half as much. Sorry, but if we don’t have the money, we just don’t have the money.”

Taxing Tax Preparers

, , , , | Working | October 12, 2022

I’ve been preparing taxes for my company since I got out of college. It’s been nearly fifteen years. When I started, the pay was good, but it failed to keep up with inflation.

We got paid based on how many hours we worked and how many clients we took care of. I did the second most clients in the district (roughly 800 a year) but worked the most on-the-clock hours as I refused to work off the clock. This gave me a lower hourly rate than most of my colleagues.

In 2019, I only got 600 clients because of the global health crisis, and I also worked far more hours — eighty hours most weeks and 100 hours during peaks. I was promised by the manager that this would not affect my pay next year, and I would get at least the same hourly rate in 2020.

I did not, so I began a job search. I quickly found a new job that was willing to offer a third again as much as I had been previously paid and only expected me to do about 200 returns. They were a financial advising company that wanted to provide tax services to clients as a free perk.

I settled into the new job, and come April, my old job called me to see if I was willing to work for them after hours to help clear up their backlog. There was nothing abnormal about this; it was a regular practice to call back workers who’d moved on, though it usually started in March, not April.

Most of the people working at the old job were still my friends, so I decided to come back in for a few weeks. Ironically, the pay was higher for a consultant coming in after hours.

As an after-hours consultant, my name wasn’t really supposed to be put forward as “available for appointments”. I was not supposed to be seeing clients. But one of my clients from the previous year was insisting that I see him. And here’s where our story starts, though I feel those background details are necessary to understand why I’m in this position.

I opened up the client’s file, and I immediately noticed that his return had already been started. It had five Employee Identification Numbers. One of them I recognized as my own; the client had been mine the previous year. One I recognized as that of an employee who was famous for handing anyone even slightly difficult to somebody else.

The other two were listed as inactive. One number was suggestive of the employee having been hired and terminated recently. The other I recognized as belonging to a friend of mine who had died from a stroke while working in the office in March.

I noticed that most of the details were already entered, and I refamiliarized myself with the client. They were a self-employed husband-and-husband team who worked primarily from home doing Internet videos.

In previous years, I had taken their home office off on their taxes and depreciated part of their house for it. The computer system was complaining that the percentage of the house that was business use was not correctly set.

An easy fix! I opened the asset manager, opened their houses…

…and found that someone had made their house asset, named (let’s say) 171 Ixion Street into a car named 171 Ixion Street with about 800 business miles and 1,200 total miles. The same moron had also deleted their normal work car which I had named (let’s say) a 2014 Honda Civic.

The computer and electronic equipment they had been depreciating also had mileage entered onto it, though it was still listed as a computer. Upon seeing that, I honestly started crying.

Their Credit Score Affected Your Performance Score

, , , , , | Right | August 30, 2022

I am the supervisor in a tax office, and I double as a receptionist.

Client: “Can I get an advance on my refund? How does the loan work?

Me: “Well, it’s an application, and it’s not guaranteed; there’s a chance it’ll be denied. If you are accepted, you can get a portion of your tax return as a loan. When your return comes in, it’ll pay the loan off and the remainder will go to your account. There’s no interest, and it’s a great way to boost your credit score a little.

Client: “So, instead of waiting for the eight to twenty-one business days, I can wait for three days or so?

Me: “Yes — that is, if you are accepted. Remember, it’s not 100% guaranteed, but we like to get people their money early if we can.

Client: “Yeah, yeah, but I can get my money sooner and all I have to do is apply?

Me: “Yes. If your loan application is accepted. If not, then you wait the standard time. Cannot guarantee it.

Client: “Okay.”

The client is denied a loan and submits a survey. She gives us our first four-out-of-five so far; before, we had perfect fives. This brings our percentage score down from 100 to the high 90s. This is what she comments on the survey:

Client: “It wasn’t explained that I could be denied the refund loan. Don’t plan on returning. Explain the process.”

I add a note to the survey in our file.

Me: “Client was informed by supervisor of the possibility of loan rejection three times and by tax preparer two times.

Taxing Taxing, Part 15

, , , , | Right | August 8, 2022

I used to be a tax preparer. I had many customers get me to do up their income tax, and then, after they were told the fee, they would tell me they were going out to their car to get their purse or wallet and then not come back to pay. They actually thought that it was automatically filed as we did it on the computers, and they thought that by pretending to go get money from their car, they wouldn’t have to pay.

I would usually hear from them two or three weeks later.

Customer: “Where is my refund?! I’ve already filed!”

Surprise!

Me: “Nope. I didn’t e-file the return because you haven’t paid.”

Some even told me they thought it was automatically filed as we prepared the tax returns.

Related:
Taxing Taxing, Part 14
Taxing Taxing, Part 13
Taxing Taxing, Part 12
Taxing Taxing, Part 11
Taxing Taxing, Part 10