Some Accountants Spend Weekends Doing Taxes for Free

Some accountants make tax season even more hectic by taking on the tax returns of friends and family members, often at no charge.

Jennine Anderson, for example, who works at the PCA Group in Columbia, Md., spends her limited personal time preparing tax returns for her three children, their spouses, her sister and her father. She does the work at no charge. "Some people may charge, but I surely don't," she told the Baltimore Business Journal.

And she is far from alone, the newspaper reports.

Many tax accountants take on tax preparation work for their immediate family or close friends. If they do get out of the office during tax season, they are often bombarded by questions everywhere–at parties, on the soccer field or in the grocery line.

Some firms don't like their accountants to do outside tax work for fear that their signature could be perceived as the firm's approval of the tax return. Some accountants do their friends' and family members' returns in the office at a discount. Other firms will allow employees to use the office to prepare taxes at no cost for a family member or two.

Anderson said she works six long days every week during tax season, like most tax accountants, but many say they enjoy the camaraderie, the face-to-face contact with clients and the flush of accomplishment that the flood of work can bring. The hard work and long hours, they say, is worth the Sundays spent thumbing through documents and staring into a computer.

“Usually, accountants don't learn how to ski,” Anderson said.

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