Here’s the scene…
You tensely approach the brand new accounting firm’s building that will be handling your tax preparation. The only reason you are in this situation is because you waited too long and your trusted accountant of 15 years is fully booked.
The new office environment feels sterile and cold.
A responsible looking young man emerges from his office and shakes your hand. He will be preparing your tax return. It’s a bit awkward as he looks scarily close to a recent college graduate. Will he have the experience necessary to minimize your taxes yet keep you out of trouble like your regular tax pro?
He is nice and he passed his CPA test. You will give him a go.
That said, you’ve come prepared with damage control tactics:
- You provide easy to read and extremely clear summary documentation with categories of income & deductions clearly laid out for both personal and business.
- You use a yellow highlighter for tricky or easy to overlook areas such as losses from previous years needing to be carried over.
- When seated in a face to face situation, you swing your chair around to his side of the desk and make sure he is inputting the correct information into his computer. Using a little self deprecating humor with this aggressive maneuver eases the tension.
There are a couple of areas in which you are fuzzy regarding deductions on a new business venture and Obamacare. You ask him a question on each topic and neither of his answers help clarify the issue.
You ask again in a different way and it still feels like he’s not understanding what you are saying. His phone rings. He takes the call and dives into someone else’s financial details for 2 minutes while you start to look around the office and see photos of him involved in a variety of distracting activities. He hangs up the phone and turns his attention back to you.
He calculates that you owe the government $5000. That makes absolutely no sense to you, but you have no idea which detail needs to be clarified.
You’re feeling a bit screwed and that maybe he has no idea what he’s doing. Or maybe he is just stressed out and has dealt with an incredible amount of financial details. He may not have had a day off in the last 3 weeks to accommodate the heavy workload of tax season.
You know that shouldn’t be your problem, but it is. It’s all up to you. You are now your own CFO.
You drive home shell-shocked and promptly hop on the internet. You research irs.gov to clarify some tax rules as they relate to your specific information that may bring that nonsensical number down. You discover an area for a possible communication gap with the accountant regarding your new business venture. Bingo.
You check the Obamacare healthcare.gov website to get the answer to your healthcare question. The specific webpage on this topic is non functional. You call the Obamacare hotline and tell them the website is not working and then you state your basic question. You are put on hold twice so the Obamacare expert can verify the correct answer with the higher ups. You are also told that you can always find the answer on the healthcare.gov website that you already told them was not working 😉
You get your final answer after 25 minutes.
You’ve now clarified all information. You notify your new accountant and send him links and other information to prove that your tax liability and healthcare information needs to be adjusted. He agrees.
The accountant sends on a revised tax document that is much more palatable and accurate. Your tax liability has decreased dramatically.
He bills you his tax preparation fee of $300. You pay it. The end.
This is a fictional story that may or may not have been based on your real life scenarios. The Dogz don’t want any trouble….