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mcb39
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It just struck me in these waning days or little sleep and much work that one of the things that makes me really angry are employees who are too cheap to print their W2s on perforated paper. 

Second; client called last night.  She originally was going to change to another preparer but could not find anyone who would take her.  Brought her 18 W2 and 1099 forms to me (She inherited her father's estate in 2015)  After looking through the forms, I found at least two that were coded incorrectly; to her disadvantage.  Had three separate phone conversations with her financial manager.  Convinced him that the coding was wrong.  Distributions are coded as normal instead of death; which will result in a hefty early withdrawal penalty for her.  Now he told her that she really should take her return to a CPA.  She finally found one who will take her and called and asked if she could pick up her paperwork.  Of course, I told her that she could, but also told her that I am not exactly a fly-by-night preparer and that if I had not found the incorrect codes, she would be paying a lot more tax.  The corrected 1099's have not been forthcoming, though they were promised in three to five business days.  Now: her Mom gave me a $75 retainer to prepare this return.  They want it back.  How much of the retainer am I allowed to keep for the consulting, etc that I have already done?  This one really pushed my anger button.  I am not sorry to be getting rid of a longtime client because they have been getting a courtesy discount for many years.  I hope that venting here will help relieve my furor. I wouldn't take her back now even if she offered me triple my normal fee; and the Mom can go right along with her if she so wishes.

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20 minutes ago, mcb39 said:

It just struck me in these waning days or little sleep and much work that one of the things that makes me really angry are employees who are too cheap to print their W2s on perforated paper. 

Second; client called last night.  She originally was going to change to another preparer but could not find anyone who would take her.  Brought her 18 W2 and 1099 forms to me (She inherited her father's estate in 2015)  After looking through the forms, I found at least two that were coded incorrectly; to her disadvantage.  Had three separate phone conversations with her financial manager.  Convinced him that the coding was wrong.  Distributions are coded as normal instead of death; which will result in a hefty early withdrawal penalty for her.  Now he told her that she really should take her return to a CPA.  She finally found one who will take her and called and asked if she could pick up her paperwork.  Of course, I told her that she could, but also told her that I am not exactly a fly-by-night preparer and that if I had not found the incorrect codes, she would be paying a lot more tax.  The corrected 1099's have not been forthcoming, though they were promised in three to five business days.  Now: her Mom gave me a $75 retainer to prepare this return.  They want it back.  How much of the retainer am I allowed to keep for the consulting, etc that I have already done?  This one really pushed my anger button.  I am not sorry to be getting rid of a longtime client because they have been getting a courtesy discount for many years.  I hope that venting here will help relieve my furor. I wouldn't take her back now even if she offered me triple my normal fee; and the Mom can go right along with her if she so wishes.

1)  Agree.  I hate having to cut those apart.  Right up there with glue balls on the SS-1099 Forms.

2)  I would be furious.  Having said that, I'd just return the retainer and continue to be furious. I know I'm in the minority on that. 

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I'm guilty of printing nonperf'd W-2s and prefer to receive those from my clients because they don't get stuck in the scanner as much.

I also think you've earned the retainer, but if mom is putting up that much of a stink, you might consider giving it back for for your own peace of mind.  I hate that this person thinks a CPA or anyone else will be able to wave a magic wand over those distribution forms with coding errors and have a correct return for daughter.

Don't take her back if she doesn't like the outcome, or the bill, and comes back to you whining.

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1.  Right or wrong, I quit cutting W2 forms apart unless I have to for paper filing.  I run the whole form through the copy machine and just keep that.

2.  It is sort of soothing to actually fire PITA clients rather than hope they don't come back.  I do it in a nice way.  $75 is what it costs to never have to deal with their crap again.  

 

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I'd probably prepare a bill covering all the time I spent, deducting the $75 on account, and giving a balance due, and put it on top of their documents for them to pick-up.  It's just me, so I'd hand it to them and not say a word and get back to my desk.  I wouldn't expect to get paid but would expect them to shut up about the $75.  If I had an assistant to hand the stack to them, she'd ask how they want to pay their balance, check or credit card, and then not argue but let them leave.  If they insist, I'd return the $75; it'll be worth it to get rid of them.  But, I think I'd mail it to them along with that invoice that now doesn't have $75 on account !!

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55 minutes ago, jasdlm said:

At the high risk of sounding like an idiot, why do you cut the W2s apart if you're electronically filing all the returns?  I'm panicking that I've been doing something wrong for, oh . . . about 12 years!  :blink:

I keep paper.  It's true.  I love getting the file out and holding last year's return in my hands.  With all the notes and all the forms and calling clients and saying, "Hey, last year you had $435 interest income from Cumberland County Bank."  And they say, "OMG, thank you!"  And they call the bank and the interest this year was 34 cents, and I saved the day.  Just kidding.

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I'm with Rita on this.  If you keep the $75, or any part of it, there's some responsibility that lingers along with it.   You may not see it that way, but we all know  they will.  I'm not that desperate for $75, and my ego isn't on the table either.  So leave out the emotion and this becomes a pure business decision.

I'd give them the stupid $75 without a moment's thought, consider it an investment in my future peace of mind, and never look back. 

As far as any future business relationship is concerned (for either or both if mom wants to join in these shenanigans), it isn't going to happen at any price. If they ever bothered to ask, that would be my answer.

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3 hours ago, RitaB said:

1)  Agree.  I hate having to cut those apart.  Right up there with glue balls on the SS-1099 Forms.

2)  I would be furious.  Having said that, I'd just return the retainer and continue to be furious. I know I'm in the minority on that. 

I am furious; but would prefer not to be.  I have decided to work up a bill starting with the retainer; then itemizing everything that I have thus far done on this return to save her mega dollars.  The final balance will be return of the entire $75 retainer.  Then I will add balanced owed for services rendered.  They can pay it or not; but maybe it will shift the anger from me to them. 

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3 hours ago, mcb39 said:

The corrected 1099's have not been forthcoming, though they were promised in three to five business days.

This is the beauty of this situation.  The new preparer may not know or care that the forms are coded incorrectly.  This taxpayer may lose a lot more by listening to the financial planner than his usual fee.  The Karma bus may roll right over all of them.

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17 minutes ago, mcb39 said:

I am furious; but would prefer not to be.  I have decided to work up a bill starting with the retainer; then itemizing everything that I have thus far done on this return to save her mega dollars.  The final balance will be return of the entire $75 retainer.  Then I will add balanced owed for services rendered.  They can pay it or not; but maybe it will shift the anger from me to them. 

I like your plan.  Although you didn't complete the returns, this person did benefit from your work and time expended by your noticing the incorrect codes and requesting the corrections.

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35 minutes ago, mcb39 said:

I am furious; but would prefer not to be.  I have decided to work up a bill starting with the retainer; then itemizing everything that I have thus far done on this return to save her mega dollars.  The final balance will be return of the entire $75 retainer.  Then I will add balanced owed for services rendered.  They can pay it or not; but maybe it will shift the anger from me to them. 

Karma can be a fun thing to watch from a distance.  Make sure you return ALL of the retainer.  That way there is not even a tiny string of connection.  Your peace of mind and relief at getting rid of a PIA is worth FAR MORE than the $75. 

If they ever call back, simply tell them you are not their accountant and have nothing to say.  Karma will kick them, you can be sure.

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1 hour ago, JohnH said:

I'm with Rita on this...

I'd give them the stupid $75 without a moment's thought, consider it an investment in my future peace of mind, and never look back. 

I'm exactly like JohnH (how do you think I got my name) except I'd look back a lot.  And cuss.  And stay mad for a long time.  Otherwise we are twins!

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I used to stay mad in cases like this.  But I finally decided to become a feeling person who doesn't care.

"How does that work", you ask.

Well, I really don't care what the clients think about me.  Occasionally I feel bad about not caring, but that feeling goes away quickly.

 

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4 minutes ago, JohnH said:

I used to stay mad in cases like this.  But I finally decided to become a feeling person who doesn't care. How does that work, you ask?

Well, I really don't care what the clients think about me.  Occasionally I feel bad about not caring, but that feeling goes away quickly.

I like your plan.  I don't  like carrying around a bag of frustration.  I have her folder prepared; the new bill prepared, the check written to the Mom for the entire retainer,  and all of her information forms sorted.  Her mess is in the outbox.  I may not be here when she picks it up; but I feel a whole lot better; Thanks to all of you.  Now, I am off to day four of the in-house audit I have been enduring.  This time it will be at her office.  :scratch_head:

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4 hours ago, jasdlm said:

At the high risk of sounding like an idiot, why do you cut the W2s apart if you're electronically filing all the returns?  I'm panicking that I've been doing something wrong for, oh . . . about 12 years!  :blink:

It was boggling my mind why people were wanting this also. I don't keep a paper copy of ANYTHING. Literally my entire office could get packed up and moved with my laptop - a zip drive and one box of files the size of a copy paper box (cost basis information). And I agree with the giving of the $75 back. If they need it so badly that they ask for it back - good luck to them. When they come back later with questions - good luck to them.

 

I absolutely hate those tear away forms and I hate stapled, double sided 1099s. I RARELY if ever look at old forms - the info I need is almost always on last years return.

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5 hours ago, Jack from Ohio said:

Karma can be a fun thing to watch from a distance.  Make sure you return ALL of the retainer.  That way there is not even a tiny string of connection.  Your peace of mind and relief at getting rid of a PIA is worth FAR MORE than the $75. 

If they ever call back, simply tell them you are not their accountant and have nothing to say.  Karma will kick them, you can be sure.

It might be interesting as I did the work last year for final return of deceased father.  Since that was not her return, I don't have to give her any of that information.  Same situation last year with wrong codes on 1099's.  Poor little rich girl who inherited all of daddy's retirement, pensions, life ins, etc; definitely needs an attitude adjustment.  I wouldn't take her back under any circumstances.  Jack is correct.  I have nothing to say to them.

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