Taxing Taxing, Part 6

, , , , , , | Right | September 2, 2020

I am a paid tax preparer. In Minnesota, there’s an additional tax form called the M1PR Rebate of Rent and Property taxes. It’s a repayment of part of your property taxes, or part of the rent your landlord used to pay their property taxes.

It’s filed separately from your normal tax return, and the due date is August 27th of the next year.

It’s the last day to file your income taxes for this year. A client comes in with two sets of taxes, a full tax return for this year, and a rent rebate for last year. It’s not yet August, so there’s plenty of time to file the rent rebate for last year.

I’m getting many, many, many clients. Due to the health crisis, all of our major competitors are closed. We’re the only open tax office in the city.

I’m in triage mode. Many clients are bringing in returns from all sorts of years. This year, last year, three years ago, fourteen years ago… I’ve been letting all of my clients know that this year is the year where the due date is coming up, and I’m only doing this year’s taxes. Prior years can wait till tomorrow when we are still open but don’t have a deadline.

This client is having none of this. They insist on getting their 2018 Renter’s Rebate done right here, right now. “You should do one client at a time!” the client insists.

I pass the client to our manager, who tells the client the same thing. The client then walks out and insists that they’ll get their taxes done elsewhere. They take their unfinished 2019 income taxes with them.

I wish them luck looking for a CPA or other preparer who’s willing to do a prior year’s rent rebate on this night.

Taxing Taxing, Part 5
Taxing Taxing, Part 4
Taxing Taxing, Part 3
Taxing Taxing, Part 2
Taxing Taxing

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There’s No Accounting For The Kindness Of Some People

, , , , , , | Working | July 1, 2020

I had to buy a new-to-me car when mine gave up the ghost. Happily, I found a three-year-old used car at my favorite dealership and started all the necessary paperwork. I had enough money for a sizable down payment but was still going to need the three-year plan to pay the car off.

When I sat down with the dealership’s “number’s guy,” he had one of the best senses of humor I’d ever seen in an accountant.

I have many acquaintances who are accountants and not one has a grain of humor in their being. I apologize to accountants on this site who are actual humans. I know you exist; I just haven’t met any of you.

We finally got to the nitty-gritty of the monthly payments and he quoted me a price that stunned me because of how low it was.  

Then, he said, “Oh, wait. I’m supposed to offer you [Product]. Do you want that?”

Truth was, I did want that. So, with the product added, the low price went up considerably, but it was still within my budget.

The accountant looked at it for a minute and shook his head.

“Gosh, I forgot you were in last week looking for the car when we were offering the discount. I’m such a klutz.”

“Um… I only just came in two days ago,” I said.

He said, rather sharply, “No, no, I distinctly remember discussing this with you last week. I know car shopping is stressful, but surely you remember coming in last week and discussing the discount.”

It took me a minute, but then I said, “Oh, right. Sure. Last week.”

He applied the discount, which reduced my payment below the original monthly payment he had quoted me.

That is one of the reasons I keep going back to that dealership for service and will probably buy my next car there, as well.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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Need A Data Entry Sentry

, , , , | Right | November 7, 2019

(I work in the data entry department of an accounting firm that specializes in religious organizations and non-profit charities. Believe me, there is no greater stinginess in the world than that of a megachurch religious group’s accountants and pastors when you want to take money away from them — to get our company and people paid or to help them pay their taxes, either or — rather than give money to them. Each of our separate departments has its own specialized software for their respective tasks, and thus a person in one department usually can’t fill the requests of a client for something needed from another department. I’m also one of two people in my office with the same first name, and the other [Shared Name] isn’t in my department. The phone rings. I am confused as DE usually doesn’t get called from outside numbers.)

Me: “Hello?”

Client: “Hi. It’s [Client] from [Church]. I’m calling back about the status of [job from another department].”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, you probably meant the other [Shared Name]; there are two of us here. He’s in [other department].”

Client: “Well, I have you here now. So, about–” *starts going into complex detail about a job from [other department]*

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t help you with that, ma’am. I don’t work in that department. If you’ll hold a moment, I can transfer you to the other [Shared Name].”

Client: “No, don’t transfer me! I got you; you’re going to solve my problem!”

Me: “I can’t solve your problem, ma’am. It’s not in my department.” *internally: “I have no idea what you’re talking about!”*

Client: “Oh, yes, you can! I know you’re all hooked up to the Internet together in that office!” 

Me: “I’m just going to transfer you to [Other Person With Shared Name] now, ma’am… Please hold.”

Client: “Don’t you dare!”

(I put her on hold and, after calling in a coworker to show me how it was done — like I said, DE doesn’t get calls from outside often, and almost never work-related ones — finally got her transferred over to the right person. The secretary called me later and apologized for sending the client to the wrong person, and we had a nice little laugh over it. Apparently, this sort of behavior is far from abnormal.)

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Taxing Really Lives Up To Its Name

, , , , , | Working | September 7, 2019

I am a female veteran and I have just moved to a new state right before tax season. As such, all my paperwork is from out of state. When I register at my new Veterans Affairs office, I’m told there is free tax prep, where you fill out paperwork at the VA and the tax people call you to confirm. So, in February, I fill out all the paperwork at the office and it is sent off. I’m told the tax people will contact me in April.

April rolls around and I get a voicemail from the tax people. I try to call back to arrange an appointment with them, but I just get their inbox saying it is too full to leave a message. I call the VA office and they assure me it is just because they are so busy, but I will be contacted by April 15th.

On Tax Day 2019, I finally get an actual caller on the phone, who tells me they are calling because I do not qualify for the tax prep! As all my paperwork is out of state from my previous job, I am outside their jurisdiction.

The woman tries to hang up on me, but what she doesn’t realize is that I was a Drill Sergeant. And I let her have it. I remind her that I am a veteran, that other veterans use this service with the understanding that we are taken care of, and that the least they could do was call me and tell me. I also tell her that the VA office did not give me notice, which means they have given wrong information to the VA, and they are now officially responsible for whatever wrong information is incurred.

The woman on the other end is very meek and apologizes over and over again, but I just hang up on her, as it is the afternoon and I now have less than five hours to get my taxes done. Luckily, I do it online and it is not as hard as expected.

The next time I am at the VA, I stop by the office and inform them of the call. They are absolutely furious, as no one has ever told them that and they have sent in paperwork from out of state before! They tell me that if the IRS contacts me or if there is a problem to immediately come to them and they will make sure the tax people are held responsible.

While I don’t think there will be a problem for this year, I’m going to shell out the money for tax prep next year.

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A Deduction Reduction

, , , | Right | September 4, 2018

(As tax students, we have to work at a tax office for two weeks during the period everyone has to fill in their tax return forms. We help people fill in their forms if they have trouble understanding how it works. In the Netherlands, you’re allowed to deduct expenses on certain items of clothing and bedding from your income so you don’t pay tax over them, if you pass a certain threshold. This is proven by simply showing me the receipt. I’m with a 73-year-old customer who has deducted money for this for the last few years and wants me to do it this year, too. He was already slightly irritated when he came in. As students, we don’t have access to any of the databases, so we can’t check any previously filled-in forms.)

Me: “Did you have any expenses on clothing and bedding for medical purpose this year, sir?”

Customer: “Yes, about €400.”

Me: “Can I see the receipts, please?”

Customer: “I don’t keep a receipt; it’s just the regular stuff everyone buys.”

Me: *slightly alarmed* “You mean normal clothes?”

Customer: *getting more irritated* “Yes, clothes like you’re wearing; you can deduct them. I do it every year. Go check your database.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, we can’t check any databases, and also I’m not allowed to let you deduct anything if it’s for regular clothing.”

Customer: *now getting red and talking very loudly* “Well, I’ve been doing it for years. What kind of nonsense is it that I can’t do it now?”

Me: “Then you’re lucky you’ve never been caught in the past few years. I surely will not allow it now.”

Customer: “Next thing you tell me is you won’t deduct my Viagra, either.”

(Luckily for me, he had a prescription for that, so I didn’t need to have the same discussion all over again.)

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