Happy Tax Freedom Day
Los Angeles, CA - We're coming down to the wire. We've been working with certain clients for months, trying to nail down specific information or to clarify obscure information in the piles of documents they've brought us. Right here, right near the deadline, we come to the geniuses in the financial world.
I'll be this has never happened to you.
Communication with client and his minions to follow up on missing information:
TaxMama: Regarding your tax-free municipal fund income, in what state(s) is it invested? Please, remember to ask your broker, or to pull the documents from the investment itself.
Client: Sends e-mail to broker copying my request.
Broker: Sends e-mail with copy of documents we already have, that don't clarify the information.
TaxMama: Feeling hopeless, because I have been trying to get this answer since February, tries to look up "Alliance Munincome Fd Inc." online. Only to learn they have funds in many states.
TaxMama: E-mail to client, politely and calmly asking him to ask his broker again.
Client: Sends e-mail to broker, again.
Broker: Sends e-mail to client saying it's in the information. But perhaps his assistant can help, if we don't understand.
Assistant to broker: Sends e-mail with her phone number, offering to help.
Call to Assistant:
TaxMama: Thanks for your time.
Assistant: I'm happy to help. But I don't know much about taxes, so I'm not sure if I can really help you.
TaxMama: Could you please tell me what Alliance Munincome Fd Inc. is invested in?
Assistant: It's invested in municipal bonds of states.
TaxMama: (silent scream) Yes, I know that a fund called a "Munincome Fd" is invested in municipal bonds. Which state's bonds? [explanation follows about deductibility of your state's bond interest vs out of state bond interest - stuff the brokers and their assistants really ought to understand. (TaxMama thinking: They do take CPE, don't they? Do they have to be awake when they take those classes?)]
Assistant: Oh, California,...yes, all the bonds listed are California bonds.
TaxMama: Ah, see, now that's really useful to know, since the client lives in New York and won't get tax-free treatment on his NY return. Thank you.
Assistant: You're welcome.
TaxMama: Have a lovely day.
Assistant: You too. Oh, by the way, there's another 1099 coming for this client that you probably don't have. Just thought you'd need to know that.
TaxMama: (Thinking - now she tells me? On April 13th? Where were these folks back in February?) Thank you. And you'll be faxing that to me?
Assistant: Uh...no....But, hey, I can e-mail it to you!
TaxMama: Great. Got to go now...unless you have any more surprises?
Assistant: Hmmm...surprises? Uh, noooo.
TaxMama: OK then, have a lovely day.
Happy Tax Freedom Day to all!
(When is Client Minion Freedom Day?)
Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.