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Margaret CPA in OH

8867 questions

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Does anyone already have and be willing to share a prepared list of questions to ask and document answers (Form 8867 Part 1 #3 Interview the taxpayer, ask questions and document the taxpayer's responses...) for 8867?  The clients that I have with children have been known to me since before children were born and I feel weird asking whether the kids live with them, for example.  Maybe if I had a standard page of questions it wouldn't be so awkward.

I really hate this part...

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Thanks but I don't have any EITC clients.  I do have a few with children so was asking what sort of questions does one ask when one has known these folks since forever?  I didn't find a tidy checklist like this one on IRS website but will still look.

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TTB has a handy page covering the due diligence areas.

I don't get too worried about my clients that's I've known for ages, seen the birth announcements, had the kids in my office, don't see any signs of a divorce, etc. I ask if everyone's still living at the same address, that kind of thing.

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I found a simple one at silvercreekteam.com.  I like that the client has to sign and date it although I rarely see most of my clients.  I suppose selecting one or two of the suggested documents for the file would then suffice.  It just feels weird to me.

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Margaret, I have several of these clients who I have watched their children grow up. For these folks, I check the boxes on the 8867 appropriately and at the bottom, I choose that I did not rely on any documents but made notes in the file. Those notes are usually a short blurb about the client/accountant relationship that has existed for x number of years with continuity with claiming the dependents. Also, I note the previous files can be reviewed for consistency. Don't know if this helps or not.

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After being marked for life with terror at the NATP conferences, I am asking for anything with the child's name and the parent's address. I too, know all of my clients personally. The ones having babies now are the ones I "raised" in my office for the most part. But I still get something. Anything. Child care reports, report cards, doctor records, even the 1095's have the kids' names and the parents' addresses on them.

NOTHING proves beyond a doubt that the child laid his head on a pillow under that roof for over half the year. NOTHING. 

It has not been awkward for me at all. I get something to scan in their file and charge them extra for doing it. 

My new $600 scanner is the bomb, by the way. Canon DR C-240.

@RitaB AmIright?

 

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19 minutes ago, Possi said:

After being marked for life with terror at the NATP conferences, I am asking for anything with the child's name and the parent's address. I too, know all of my clients personally. The ones having babies now are the ones I "raised" in my office for the most part. But I still get something. Anything. Child care reports, report cards, doctor records, even the 1095's have the kids' names and the parents' addresses on them.

NOTHING proves beyond a doubt that the child laid his head on a pillow under that roof for over half the year. NOTHING. 

It has not been awkward for me at all. I get something to scan in their file and charge them extra for doing it. 

My new $600 scanner is the bomb, by the way. Canon DR C-240.

@RitaB AmIright?

 

Of course you are right.  Only I copy and put the "evidence" in a manila folder and don't charge more because in the poor South they'll leave you over twenty bucks.  I know this because they'll sell Grandma for fifteen.

Seriously, I've been very diligent with new clients for years.  Existing clients not so much.  I'm doing better, and apologizing for asking them for evidence that this kid I see with them on FaceBook everyday is really theirs, but I have no problem telling them why I'm doing it. 

I still think there's more to that NATP story than we know. 

Also,  I just wish they'd push DIY a little more.  /s

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Thanks, Possi and Rita.  'Marked for life with terror' is what I don't want but guess I'm already there hence my original post.  And I have been apologizing even though it isn't my fault.  I just feel it's rude to my clients and resent that IRS trusts me so little.  I used to answer the questions honestly on the form but not to excess and didn't really keep documents.  Then we had to submit the 8867 instead of just having it in our files.  So, documents.

I just am so uncertain as to what are 'adequate' questions to ask.  As most of my clients are never seen, I was hoping to attach a questionnaire for them to answer and would keep that in my files.  That's why I asked if anyone had something like that already.  I will do something soon although I think there are only 2-3 more folks with children.  Most clients are older than that by now.

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When a dependentless couple comes in my office I want to throw a five minute party.  True story, although I made up a word there.

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 4:48 PM, Margaret CPA in OH said:

Does anyone already have and be willing to share a prepared list of questions to ask and document answers (Form 8867 Part 1 #3 Interview the taxpayer, ask questions and document the taxpayer's responses...) for 8867?  The clients that I have with children have been known to me since before children were born and I feel weird asking whether the kids live with them, for example.  Maybe if I had a standard page of questions it wouldn't be so awkward...

I don't have a list - I'm using Possi's method (below)

On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 6:09 AM, Possi said:

...I too, know all of my clients personally...babies...I "raised" in my office...  BUT I STILL GET SOMETHING.  ANYTHING.  Child care reports, report cards, doctor records, even the 1095's have the kids' names and the parents' addresses on them...NOTHING proves...child...under that roof for over half the year...

I'm even getting envelopes with the kid's name and parents' address if possible, but all that crap they want - "Did you ask...blah, blah, blah, and did you document his/her response..."; hell, no, I'm not recording or transcribing some jerk's "yes; no; maybe" - it's just impossible.  Like you said, I get something, anything, some piece of paper, but's it's all just such a mess; tedious for us, & annoying to clients who ask me why I want evidence - many say that others (big-box franchises) don't ask for anything except name, relation, DOB, SSN.

I wonder; does TurboTax make them answer anything? Are we (independents) the only ones that risk serious fines?

On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 6:41 AM, RitaB said:

...in the poor South they'll leave you over twenty bucks...

Ain't it the truth?  I lost one over ten.

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22 hours ago, RitaB said:

When a dependentless couple comes in my office I want to throw a five minute party.  True story, although I made up a word there.

I love retired couples on Medicare with fat investment accounts! I wish them a long and healthy life.

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35 minutes ago, Abby Normal said:

I love retired couples on Medicare with fat investment accounts! I wish them a long and healthy life.

Me too; only thing, I'm still hackin', longly (is that a word?) and unhealthily, at this muck and they're going to outlive me.

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We try to get the 1095C from the client.   It kills two birds with one stone.   It shows the Health Insurance requirement was met, and it shows the dependent name, last 4 of the social, and the address of the taxpayer is on it as well.   Not perfect, but I now can answer truthfully that I have seen a document that I relied on to prepare the 8867.

Tom
Modesto, CA

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Documentation requirement is what crosses the line and makes us auditors rather than just due diligent preparers.

Indeed if the IRS comes calling, they only need to ask for documentation and this serves as audit papers for the taxpayer.  In all honesty, they couldn''t care less about tracking down a taxpayer - if they are in your office asking for documentation they are interested in a preparer penalty.  Going across the tracks to find someone whose car is up on concrete blocks with broken glass in the street and screen windows torn is NOT why they came to your office.

 

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I usually use the 1095, not sure what I'll use if that goes away in 2019.  Like others have said, I've watched half these kids grow up over the years, it's ridiculous.  But I try to make a joke of it and just tell them I'm putting on my IRS Police hat to ask them these questions.
The one I really hate is asking if their college kids have a drug felony.  Even the best client can get offended by that, it's horrible that we have to ask.  G-d help me when someone has to answer yes.  😞

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