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  1. Thank you everyone. This is good advice. First thing this morning, she was here to pick up. I told her I am aware there is a challenge, and reviewed with her the F8867 questions. Together we read the tie-breaker rules. She accepted that we cannot file the return at this point without further proof and due diligence info. She will either provide proof documents or remove the dependent. Her return is now on hold. About his return--it's Saturday, he is out-of-town, so he is also on hold. We will most likely return his paperwork.
  2. Does disclosure, use and privacy restrictions prevent me from telling either of them what I know? We do not interrogate our clients. We asked routine questions of her, accepted her answers and completed her return a week ago. She just hasn't stopped to pick it up yet. That's where I am feeling stuck. I love these answers, but we are not mediators and now with all the disclosure rules--our hands are tied. They each came to our office as separate clients. I will probably tell him that in these situations it is first come, first serve. He's out. Period. After that I will tell her--we know he plans to challenge her return and see what she says. Bummer all around. I like them both and feel sorry their marriage has come down to this.
  3. Today I found three daffodils in a paper cup on my desk. I had just returned from a funeral service. The client didn't know anything about that. Small acts of kindness make such a big difference.
  4. We use all caps too. I didn't appreciate the zip code changing the case letters either.
  5. Married couple separated last year. We always did their joint return. She shows up first this year and says she left with the kids and had them with her the full year. We prepared her return and it is here waiting to be picked up. Meanwhile, he shows up and says that one of the kids was with him the full year. He wants to claim the one. We can't tell him that we prepared her return and the kid is already on that return. Now what? Must we decline to do his return? Now we have doubts about her return. Should we change our answers on her Form 8867 and let her know that we have new information? Arghhhh! What to do?!
  6. We generally invoice by the form and make adjustments if the form is more complex than "the usual." It's sometimes a judgment call, but I try to be fair. Occasionally, I will add an hourly charge and describe to the client why the fee is above normal rates--especially when there is a bookkeeping step, or stock basis calculation or special research time or other unique situation. Our clients usually know when they bring us something that takes extra time, and appreciate the explanation. It's frustrating to see a completed return and it all looks so simple when it's done--after many hours of extra work! As for the Schedule A, when the figures come close to the standard deduction, and we have entered all the details, I do charge for the effort, and then printout the two-year comparison so they can see how close they came to the standard. As for those clients who are dragging us down, they know what they are doing. I wonder what effort they would make if we needed a "big favor" from them. Why do we do it? Especially when we complain and dread doing their returns. There is no joy and little satisfaction in trudging through returns that we don't charge enough for--year after year. This is what I tell myself when we slip into the same type of situations. Gently dump the client; charge the right amount OR gift your time with grace. Remember, the time you give away to an ungrateful client could be spent with your spouse, children, friends, cleaning house, sleeping, etc. or taking care of the good clients! Your choice.
  7. Thanks Catherine. That's what I did. Seems like nobody is paying the MSRP, so that is not really the FMV.
  8. Am doing a like-kind-exchange. Old truck traded in for a brand new truck at the dealership. From the dealer's pink sheet: The MSRP is $30,890. (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) Less: "dealer discount" $895 and "rebate" $1,000. So the actual price starts at $28,995. After that, the trade-in and other costs are calculated to reach the final cash amount paid. QUESTION: is the FMV $30,890 or $28,995? The difference is factored into the "deferred gain" calculation. Probably doesn't matter, but still, just wondering what others are doing. Thank you in advance for any input from this group.
  9. Our firm charges by the form and sometimes we adjust the price for that form depending on the number of entries. We have a minimum of $155 which includes a simple 1040, PA and local return. After that, the price can quickly reach $225 or more. We try to be consistent in pricing so that no matter who in the office prepares the return, the price is the same. Drop-off return or in-office interview, no difference in price. We have a similar pricing structure for business returns, but have an extra line item charge (hourly rate) for any work required to organize information before starting the actual tax return entry work. It works for us. We are busy and we all make a good living. When people call asking about price, I have no problem going over it with them. Mostly they just want to talk a little and don't know what else to ask to get the conversation started. I don't mind doing a little telephone sales work to bring in new clients. With a little reassurance, most of the callers end of scheduling an appointment. Cha-Ching!
  10. At our office, we setup a new tax return "client" with the forms that we generally use with most of our tax clients. We name this "client" "AAA to Duplicate" so it is the first client on the menu. It has no entries anywhere, except for our preparer info. Then throughout the season, when a new client starts with us, we duplicate the return and rename it with the new client's name. If this makes sense to anyone, congratulations! You can do this same trick for 1065, 1120, 1120S clients as well.
  11. A story I heard from a former HRB preparer was a situation where a mistake on the return was found after it was filed. The client owed several thousand more in tax. The "Peace of Mind" paid the tax as well as the P&I. My professional liability policy is not designed to pay a tax deficiency. I know it is a "nothing burger" to offer the Protection Plus, but like Max said, some clients feel better to know that they had the option. If they don't elect to purchase, then they are on notice if something goes wrong, it was their choice to decline the extra service. Otherwise, we do charge to hand hold our clients if they are audited. We do not pay tax. We will pay P&I only if the client allows us to dispute the penalty with the IRS. I am leaning toward offering the Protection Plus and having each client pro-actively deciding to "opt out." At this point, I don't know what, if any, commission is paid to us if we actually sell one of these policies.
  12. Does anyone actually offer "Protection Plus" to your tax clients? I've always turned this off and relied on my professional liability policy to cover anything big, but now I am rethinking that decision. New clients that have come here from HRBlock are used to their "Peace of Mind" program and would like to have something similar from us. Can anybody tell their story on Protection Plus?
  13. Thank you Catherine. I have signed up for the trial version of Signature Flow. I think it is exactly what we need!
  14. We are about to re-activate our e-signature service with Citrix RightSignature. We already have a Citrix ShareFile 12-month subscription. Before we stay with them for the e-signature service, I would like to consider other vendors. Last year we did a trial with RightSignature from Jan-April. It worked great, but is (in my opinion) expensive. What e-signature service is everyone else here using?
  15. You're freaking me out Elrod!
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