Real Life: Funny stories from the busy season
Herewith are some true busy season experiences posted by accounting professionals on Tax Almanac's "Funniest Tax Story of the Day" forum. AccountingWEB has been given permission to reprint these articles. We hope readers will post comments at the bottom, sharing their own reminiscences from busy seasons gone by.
Posted by: Kevinh5
One tax season I was seriously behind on work and the inevitable calls 'is it done yet?' started to really get on my nerves. I also had a client who wasn't satisfied with the results; he owed 'too much.' So in my dreams I worked out the issues: at the time, Stormy, my cocker spaniel would sleep in the bed with me, but had a habit of chewing on his feet. The more he chewed, the more he whined. Of course, that semi-awakes you from your deepest sleep and you can sense his movements and hear his whining in your subconscious. So the dream I kept having all that week as my cocker spaniel chewed his feet was that he wasn't happy with the outcome of his tax return. Stormy wanted me to be able to deduct all of his dog biscuits that he ate at the office. He kept insisting that they were deductible because they were 'meals furnished for the benefit of the employer' as I was too busy to take him outside for a walk in the middle of the day. Every night in my dream, I'd redo Stormy's taxes, and every night he would be pestering me that they needed to be redone because they weren't 'good enough.' That tax season I believe I prepared 10 returns for that cocker spaniel before I finally got the taxes low enough that he'd let me sleep through the night.
Posted by: Rgtaxservice
A local tax preparer recently decided he was going to Florida to retire and was kind enough to notify his clients by mail. His clients are in a panic. I've gotten calls from a few of them and in reviewing a few prior returns during consults, I noticed that some of his preparer skills were a little shady. Well, today's consult with one of his former clients takes the cake. He was an 82 year old self-employed construction roofer. Being 82, he no longer does the work himself. He has helpers (aka employees). While reviewing his prior returns, I noticed that were no employee wages or COGS cost of labor. It turns out that his former preparer would re-classify this amount (almost 60K) under COGS materials and supplies and take the deduction. Better still, there are no w-2 or even 1099s submitted to the helpers (employees). Now I know that wages/labor would be a legitimate deduction but the fact that they are not reported as such and deducted elsewhere is not correct. He went on to explain that this was the way it was done for years. He could not see the problem with this. I tried to explain that his 'expenses' are someone else's income. And some reporting would be required...you can't just bury an expense on another line to avoid scrutiny. Now, I know people in the trades (not clients) that take on helpers and 'employees' but do not deduct what they pay them. They eat the cost. They bite the bullet and pay the income and SE taxes out of their pocket. At least these guys understand the tax gets paid and they pay it. Not this old man. He did not want the money shown on the wages lines. Wait, it gets better: Apparently there was a method to having his taxes prepared. He would provide the preparer with his expenses (including the wage category) and his 'estimated' income. The preparer would prepare the return and 'inform' him of the tax balance. The 82 year old would then 'revise' his income with 'firm' numbers until his tax due balance was around 3K. He felt that was fair. I politely showed this guy the door. I burnt 20 minutes of the allotted 90 minutes for the consult...time for a 70 minute coffee break.
Posted by: JR1
Had a sister in law as a client, who, like me, is a real know-it-all. And her return popped back due to birth date error for one of her sons, in e-filing. She proceeded to tell me that she had it right, that it couldn't be that, etc. etc. A couple days later, she conceded that she'd had the date wrong all these years!
Posted by: Solomon
Single mother with one child but did not have prior year return or the child's social security card with her. She assured me the child's number she gave me was correct. Return was rejected because of incorrect social of the child. After calling her to advise her of this problem, she said "just a minute while I look." Seconds later she got back on the phone and gave me the correct number with the following comment: "It was only off by one number so why does that matter?"
Posted by: Taocpa
Client changes jobs and gets a huge increase in pay. I call him and joke it must be nice. Client and I share a good laugh and his wife calls. She asks me what's on his W-2. I tell her it's 75K. She said that's impossible and I ask when he started at the new company. She tells me mid-October. I couldn't believe he made $25K a month at that point. So I call him, he looks into it. He puts me on the phone with the bookkeeper. She tells me the IRS told her to add his wages from his previous job to their wages so he won't be over-taxed on Social Security. I couldn't help but explode with laughter. When I explained to her that his previous company already reported those wages and she didn't need to report them, she said that's not what she was told, but she would correct it anyway. Gotta love it.
I just found out from my client that the woman who incorrectly prepared his W-2 is an accounting major. I suggested to my client she switch majors.