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Roberts

Clients can be jerks

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Last year a 1041 had a tax due with a penalty because they didn't make estimated tax payments (they were given coupons in 2018 just like every other year). I told them a penalty was coming but they insisted I not include it on the return. I got blamed when the bill showed up and they wanted me to pay the penalty. They even give me the IRS notice that they paid the penalty for me.

This year I email ask if they made the 2019 estimated tax payments I gave them and the account trustee calls and quietly tell me no but they figured out I screwed up the tax free interest. Somehow, their not paying tax on tax free interest is what prohibited them from paying estimated taxes on taxable capital gains. He wants to go line by line on last years return and figure out where I reported that tax free interest as tax free.

While I'm on the phone the secretary (working from home) emails and says no they totally forgot to do it again this year.

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They really can be jerks.  This is the client who gets the nice letter from me:  "It's me, not you (it's you).  My business is going in a new direction (away from you).  Best wishes for your continued success (aggravating the next poor soul to death)."

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His dad was how I got the account and he's possibly the greatest guy in the world. The son is a nice guy but he's way the heck in over his head and not detail oriented on this stuff. He does all these screw ups and he's worried it'll get back to dear old dad.

 

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12 minutes ago, Roberts said:

His dad was how I got the account and he's possibly the greatest guy in the world. The son is a nice guy but he's way the heck in over his head and not detail oriented on this stuff. He does all these screw ups and he's worried it'll get back to dear old dad.

 

I wish I could think a little more like you.  Anybody who ignores my advice then blames me when what I said would happen happens is just not on my list of nice guys.  😇

I would remember this at the same time next year.  Is this a woman thing?  🤔

 

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12 minutes ago, Roberts said:

His dad was how I got the account and he's possibly the greatest guy in the world. The son is a nice guy but he's way the heck in over his head and not detail oriented on this stuff. He does all these screw ups and he's worried it'll get back to dear old dad.

 

Plus, you have a third party involved, the trustee.  Third parties can make things more difficult.  I would just send him Section B of the 1041 with the appropriate lines highlighted.

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16 minutes ago, RitaB said:

I wish I could think a little more like you.  Anybody who ignores my advice then blames me when what I said would happen happens is just not on my list of nice guys.  😇

I would remember this at the same time next year.  Is this a woman thing?  🤔

 

I fired a lady on the spot when she wanted me to argue with the state that she shouldn't have to pay penalties and interest for failure to pay estimated payments. She wanted me to do it for free and said if I had any integrity I would. It should supposedly be included in my fee.

Not a woman thing.

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10 minutes ago, Roberts said:

I fired a lady on the spot when she wanted me to argue with the state that she shouldn't have to pay penalties and interest for failure to pay estimated payments. She wanted me to do it for free and said if I had any integrity I would. It should supposedly be included in my fee.

Not a woman thing.

Oh, see, I would never fire someone on the spot.  One guy in 25 years made me so mad that his nice letter was in the outgoing mail before he got home, but generally I put up with things for a while.  Oh, yes, internally fuming at times, remembering always...  I've sent maybe five "it's me, not you" letters overall.  Wow, I need help.  😂

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I had a couple of sharks sitting in my office, and I got so mad, I stood up, slammed my hand on the desk, and said, "Look. Pay me whatever you think is fair and get the F*** OUT OF MY OFFICE!" They silently laid a check on my desk and left without saying a word. My employee sitting at reception... her eyes were as wide as saucers.

Felt good. Felt really good.

Those sharks soon left town after wearing out their welcome with everyone, and almost bankrupting a local nonprofit they were 'managing'.

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I've got a note in my calendar for the first week of May to notify a client (1120S and 1040) to find someone else for his 2020 returns.  2019 completed but with too many hassles.

 

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Or, as someone wiser than me once posted here, raise their fee to a level they are no longer jerks. Many people have more money than manners, and it was said the job is to get as much of the former as it takes to ignore the lack of the latter.

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2 hours ago, RitaB said:

, but generally I put up with things for a while.  .  😂

We know better Rita.   Some of us have been to your home and seen how beautiful the garden grows.   Who knew hugging was such a good fertilizer.

Tom
Modesto, CA

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I have some clients who are jerks.

Oops, that's a typo.

I have some former clients who are jerks.

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15 hours ago, Medlin Software said:

Or, as someone wiser than me once posted here, raise their fee to a level they are no longer jerks. Many people have more money than manners, and it was said the job is to get as much of the former as it takes to ignore the lack of the latter.

This is why I'm not firing the guy. He directs to me about $20k in revenue.

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20 hours ago, Randall said:

I've got a note in my calendar for the first week of May to notify a client (1120S and 1040) to find someone else for his 2020 returns.  2019 completed but with too many hassles.

 

We're thinking of doing that with one of ours.  Nice guy - but a clueless dolt who sends stuff in drips and drabs, does not read what we send him, does not answer the questions asked - always pulling hens' teeth to get his returns done.  So now, WE'RE done.

 

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I have a ton of returns yet to do and finish but I am 100% caught up. Nothing in my possession is able to be done except deliver a few returns when the "shelter in place" order is lifted in 3 weeks. I have about 12 returns that are requiring some K-1 forms.

 

Gotta say, it's a weird feeling.

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2 minutes ago, Catherine said:

We're thinking of doing that with one of ours.  Nice guy - but a clueless dolt who sends stuff in drips and drabs, does not read what we send him, does not answer the questions asked - always pulling hens' teeth to get his returns done.  So now, WE'RE done.

Or raise their price by some multiple (complication from new laws is always a good generic reason), enough to make you comfortable with their business, then let them decide.  I used to be the "fire 'um" type until I took to heart advice from others about there always being a price which I can tolerate something, and sometimes, more PITA customers are more profitable in less time than more average customers..

I have current customers who are not allowed to ask questions (as they abused the offered support).  I have some who the software is locked to a specific computer (as they were installing on computers of others, and taking money from others).  Some I only accept money orders, with an extra fee added on, as they play the "chargeback" game when they pay by charge card.  The second example was the tougher to swallow.  Those folks were actual thieves, but I found a way to keep taking their money while preventing their theft.  Many years back, some folks figured out how to crack my registration scheme.  When I resolved it, I gained customers from those who were stealing, so even theft can bring in customers...  I know what they were doing, they know, but I found a way not to have to ask, and yet turn them into revenue.

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2 minutes ago, Medlin Software said:

Or raise their price by some multiple

He doesn't make that much money, so we don't want to do that to him (yeah, we're softies).  But at this point, if he paid us triple our current fee I'm not sure we'd still want him.    Although maybe for this year's returns we'll hike the price to what the local over-chargers charge him and maybe he'll go away on his own.   

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2 minutes ago, Catherine said:

He doesn't make that much money, so we don't want to do that to him (yeah, we're softies).  But at this point, if he paid us triple our current fee I'm not sure we'd still want him.    Although maybe for this year's returns we'll hike the price to what the local over-chargers charge him and maybe he'll go away on his own.   

"He doesn't make that much money" That you know of.  I would not be concerned with that aspect.  I watched a hair care person on the news last night, complain about the CARES Act not helping self employed enough.  What I "heard" in my head was the CARES Act was not compensating for unreported tips well enough.

If you want to rid them, then 10% over the local over charge, as long as you are happy to take the work if they want to stay at their new rate.  Could add a JD type structure, billing for all time, against retainer, and when they see the time you really spend, they will clean up, or you will enjoy being paid 15min to leave a phone message.

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I have heard that some people with an 8hr day makes sure somebody gets billed for every 15 min. I am definitely in the wrong business. I wonder how they do this.

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2 hours ago, TAXMAN said:

I have heard that some people with an 8hr day makes sure somebody gets billed for every 15 min. I am definitely in the wrong business. I wonder how they do this.

They call those people LAWYERS.

Tom
Modesto, CA

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When the smallest increment is 15 minutes, it's easy to add up to more than 8 hrs in an 8 hr day, especially if working for a firm that doesn't allow for much, if any, administrative time.

The last 2 firms I worked for billed by time in 10ths of an hour, every 6 minutes, and that's how I still track my time too. 

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I have multiple lawyer friends / coworker arrangements and 15 minutes is pretty normal. You do a 2 minute call - bam $75 charged.

 

I had a lawyer in my office on Monday late in the day and we talked about nothing for an hour.  On Wednesday I ask if he was ever going to get me that folder of documents and he says he gave it to me Monday - that's why he was at my office. I tear up my office looking for this huge file - nope. I KNOW he didn't give it to me but he's sure he did. He looks everywhere in his home, office, car on Thursday and can't find it. It's got to be in my office. His dad calls me this morning and asks why a huge folder of tax documents meant for me is sitting on his recliner. Heart attack averted.

 

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1 hour ago, Roberts said:

I have multiple lawyer friends / coworker arrangements and 15 minutes is pretty normal. You do a 2 minute call - bam $75 charged.

 

I had a lawyer in my office on Monday late in the day and we talked about nothing for an hour.  On Wednesday I ask if he was ever going to get me that folder of documents and he says he gave it to me Monday - that's why he was at my office. I tear up my office looking for this huge file - nope. I KNOW he didn't give it to me but he's sure he did. He looks everywhere in his home, office, car on Thursday and can't find it. It's got to be in my office. His dad calls me this morning and asks why a huge folder of tax documents meant for me is sitting on his recliner. Heart attack averted.

 

Did you charge him for the time spent looking for the file?

Tom
Modesto, CA

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