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11 signs you might need a new tax preparer

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  • 11 signs you might need a new tax preparer

    More tales from the trenches!

    1. You think you are working with a CPA or EA but they don't sign your return that way (ergo, they're not).

    2. You turn in your information when they request it but never get your return until 4/15.

    3. They extend without telling you. In fact, you've come to expect it.

    4. They can't easily explain why your refund/balance due is drastically different from the prior year.

    5. They never schedule a tax planning/projection appointment during the year.

    6. They "drop names" of other clients in casual conversation.

    7. A different person prepares your return every year.

    8. They prepare your return on the fly - inputting data while you're sitting across the desk (yes, it really happens!)

    9. They don't return calls promptly during tax season.

    10. They offer to get you a refund on a percentage basis.

    11. They work 80-hour weeks during tax season, along with the rest of the office.


    I asked our team for suggestions. They're in a jolly mood this morning, so I thought I'd share what I got back :-) Take these with a pinch of salt.

    1. You give them your docs in Feb and get them back in Dec, saying they can't figure it out (this one came from a well-known firm last week. (We just completed their 2014 returns.)

    2. They have a ridiculous mustache (sadly, this is a competitor who shall remain nameless)

    3. They smell bad (ditto, different competitor)


    Yup, tax season really can be a bowl of cherries. I told them (kindly) to stop it and go back to work. Any tales of your own?
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

  • #2
    You are told that you can deduct your sneakers as a business expense in case you need to run because a patient is coding.
    Lawrence B. Keller, CFP, CLU, ChFC, RHU, LUTCF
    www.physicianfinancialservices.com

    Comment


    • #3
      They charge way too much

      Comment


      • #4




        They charge way too much
        Click to expand...


        Lol, that depends on what it costs you not to use a good pro when you really need one! Unfortunately, you'll probably never know.
        Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

        Comment


        • #5




          You are told that you can deduct your sneakers as a business expense in case you need to run because a patient is coding.
          Click to expand...


          lolol - I have deducted expenses of a watchdog before. And a swimming pool prescribed by a doctor. But not sneakers.
          Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

          Comment


          • #6
            Much like financial planners, there will always be a bit of conflict of interest here.

            Tax preparers need to get the work done quickly or delegate to maximize profit. There is little incentive to really work hard to squeeze out every deduction or spend time on mid year tax planning.

            Excluding those with really complex tax issues, most would be better served educating themselves on the tax code and doing their own taxes with software. The time taken is well worth it. After all, investing and tax minimization go hand in hand.

            Comment


            • #7
              I am curious to know how much other physicians are paying their CPA to prepare their taxes.

              Comment


              • #8




                Much like financial planners, there will always be a bit of conflict of interest here.

                Tax preparers need to get the work done quickly or delegate to maximize profit. There is little incentive to really work hard to squeeze out every deduction or spend time on mid year tax planning.

                Excluding those with really complex tax issues, most would be better served educating themselves on the tax code and doing their own taxes with software. The time taken is well worth it. After all, investing and tax minimization go hand in hand.
                Click to expand...


                Ahhh, I sense a touch of cynicism in your comment, no? Sounds like you must have worked for one of our competitors before you became a doctor? Or are you simply hypothesizing? Just as I choose to believe there are ethical doctors who will not order extra tests because they might make more money, there are those in this profession who do the right thing for our clients. I count ourselves as fiduciaries, even though we are not bound to that standard in a CPA firm. I'll give you a few examples from our firm because I happen to know it best:

                • All tax returns go through 2 reviews (3 for big issues). I consult with clients and review only (no tax prep) and complete no. 1. This is to search for tax-planning opportunities, discussion points, and to compare to prior years. 2nd is a technical review. Sure, this takes longer but it improves our error rate and the young ones (ha!) learn from me as we go.

                • Audits and amendments of any year we prepare are at no extra charge, no matter where the client is located (we've handled from FL to OR).

                • No firm is error-free, but we freely admit mistakes. On Friday, I found a $6300 MIP deduction we had overlooked from the prior year. Of course, we'll amend but it would be the same if the client had forgotten to give it to us. (It's more fun when we discover a deduction than the other way around :-)


                This is beginning to sound like an advertisement (not intentional) but most people have no clue what goes on in a CPA firm, warts and all, unless they have worked there. Ours happens to be centered on integrity and a culture of truth. Receptionists know not to tell a caller I'm on the phone when I'm not - whatever attitude the boss exhibits is contagious. There are plenty of firms that are similar or better but it's up to you to find a good one. Sadly, most people want simply to quickly trust instead of do their due diligence because it's easier. At the least, Google the search term how+to+find+a+good+tax+preparer.

                Just wondering, how do you recommend the average consumer define "complex tax issues"? You do realize the tax code is over 70,000 pages long and this is a profession, right? Not close to med school, of course, but I learn something new most days because I'm constantly reading thought leaders. GIGO to use TurboTax for a "complex" tax issue, but you'll never know what you don't know, unfortunately. I've seen some very costly mistakes made by very smart people doing their own returns - scares me to think of what will never be discovered before the SOL is up.

                I would put a bandaid on a cut but I wouldn't try to splint my arm to save on surgery...
                Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sddds started a thread on this earlier but it didn't get too far. Perhaps you could revive it or ask WCI to start a poll.
                  Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    They don't set good expectations and are not proactive at all

                    Comment


                    • #11




                      They don’t set good expectations and are not proactive at all
                      Click to expand...


                      You are exactly right. Managing expectations can make or break a relationship.
                      Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'll add a couple more.

                         

                        1) You tell your CPA about the Backdoor Roth IRA, explain it to them what you are trying to do, and they still file it wrong for you.

                        2) You have to send in your paperwork more than once.

                        3) Despite sending them your paperwork they still miss items

                        4) You explain how you want to depreciate your business car expense and do actual cost instead of miles and they don't depreciate the vehicle (I drive maybe 4000 miles a year and plan to sell the car private party.)

                        5) They try and sell you whole life insurance.

                        6) Try and sell me an expensive "privileged CPA package" where I can call and ask questions and they will respond quickly.  Yes, I had a CPA offer me this service for $5K/yr.

                        The above are my true stories.

                         

                        I just can't find a decent CPA in my area that is honest, returns phone calls, and does my return in a timely fashion. A CPAs job is to do my taxes and decrease my stress. Instead every CPA I have had over the years increases my stress level. I am completely sick of all the BS I have to deal with these people and this year I am doing my taxes myself.

                        Comment


                        • #13




                          I’ll add a couple more.

                           

                          1) You tell your CPA about the Backdoor Roth IRA, explain it to them what you are trying to do, and they still file it wrong for you.

                          2) You have to send in your paperwork more than once.

                          3) Despite sending them your paperwork they still miss items

                          4) You explain how you want to depreciate your business car expense and do actual cost instead of miles and they don’t depreciate the vehicle (I drive maybe 4000 miles a year and plan to sell the car private party.)

                          5) They try and sell you whole life insurance.

                          6) Try and sell me an expensive “privileged CPA package” where I can call and ask questions and they will respond quickly.  Yes, I had a CPA offer me this service for $5K/yr.

                          The above are my true stories.

                           

                          I just can’t find a decent CPA in my area that is honest, returns phone calls, and does my return in a timely fashion. A CPAs job is to do my taxes and decrease my stress. Instead every CPA I have had over the years increases my stress level. I am completely sick of all the BS I have to deal with these people and this year I am doing my taxes myself.
                          Click to expand...


                          Yikes - not a good reflection on our profession. Were those all the same CPA or multiple firms? So sorry to hear of your experiences and good luck with your tax prep. PM me if you get stuck on anything and I'll try to help.
                          Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            #12 - they efile your return without allowing you to review it for accuracy first.

                            I'm adding this because taxpayers aren't generally aware of this. Before your CPA/EA efiles your tax return, they are required by law to give you a copy of your return and all schedules for review before you sign Form 8879. Don't skip this step. The instructions above your signature begin with "Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined a copy of my electronic individual income tax return and accompanying schedules and statements for the tax year ending December 31, 2015, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, it is true, correct, and complete." Read more here.
                            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unfortunately, EnjoyIt, you're not alone.

                              I left an accountant when your #1 happened to me.   When I emailed him with a bunch of bogleheads forum links that explained his error, he still thought he filed my taxes correctly.  I ended up submitting the amendments on my own.  His mistake uncorrected would have cost me $4k.

                               

                               

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