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Stupid tax 'things' we do when we are tired


jasdlm
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I always think that with enough espresso I can power through 20 returns a day at full capacity ... until I spend 15 minutes of my day (that I will never get back) trying to figure out why there's no place to enter/flow through the basis from a 1065 K1 to form 7203, which I actually went to the trouble to manually added to the return (the form adds automatically for an 1120s k1, of course, as appropriate).

DUH moment didn't come for a full 15 minutes.  Called myself an idiot, deleted the erroneously added form, and finalized the return.

Oy Vey!

I hope I'm not the only one.

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Right there with you all. 

One of the things that also happens to me is when I'm working and see a blunder made on the prior year's return, like completely missing the kiddie tax or some such thing. 

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Glad to see this post because last month I made a blunder on a NYS return that was so basic for a class of clients that I handle flawlessly on a regular basis.  I only found it because of a local return that kept getting rejected.  I’ll amend it but I was hard on myself for not being more thorough in my review.  And the embarrassment telling the client, that’s the worst.

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5 minutes ago, TAXMAN said:

I can't do 20 a day. My partner tells me I mess up a simple return(what is that these days) quicker that a hard one.

I can't really, either, consistently, but its the goal I have for myself from now until the 15th (not the 18th).  If I can come close, then given the extra weekend (sans Church and family meal on Easter), I'm hoping I can get done with everything that's here.

Goal in the past has been 12 a day once corporates were finished and the individuals one can get done before the corporate deadline, and that has by and large been manageable, but with added clients and the first 'real time' season in two years, that increased to 17.286/day (I know, I know ... but we're bean counters, right?).  I figure if I aim for 20, maybe I'll make it?  Hmmm.  Not going to lie ... as I get tired, I start picking up returns out of date order (line jumping) so I can do easy ones (clients kids, etc.) to boost my numbers for the day so I can sleep at night.   Works until I run out of those :(.

I can't believe how we (tax preparers) live for 65 days out of the year.  96 if you count January and everyone's year end mess.  Eeegads.

Curious about others' daily averages, or if I'm the only weird one who plays this numbers game to try and motivate/encourage myself to work harder/longer.

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Even decades ago at HRB Premium, my top day was 10 returns. 4-8 more common. 4 as the years went by, because none of my clients had financial lives that got LESS complicated.

Now it seems to take 3 days for any return. Even the college kids of clients work in MA while at school, self-employed Schedule C at home in CT, and commute to NYC for an internship, then dabble in crypto (find out what "earn" means on her statement), has a K-1 from the trust her grandparents set up for her, and got her first installment on the Fulbright, oh and her FTC is over $300 so Form 1116, and unemployment; more fun trying to make her parent's health insurance policy that she's on (CT employer of parent) fit on her MA return. I can't read the required but teeny tiny DCN number on her NY driver's license that she texted me a picture; took two tries to get her to send the back side with the DCN and more tries to get readable texts. Taking her phone calls when she gets stuck paying 1Q2022 ES online to MA, where I have only two clients so have to look up the process again. If she wants a paper copy, there's printing/collating/packaging/mailing 150 pages. 20 of those easy returns take way more than 24 hours, so there's no sleeping at night or any other time!

Extensions are my business model. I can make more money in 10 months than I can in the 2 or fewer months with corrected consolidated 1099s still arriving and Letters 6419 and 6475 still arriving and Forms SSA-1099 still arriving. My hold stack is huge! Besides, all my clients are in DisneyWorld or Costa Rica or someplace on spring break where they can't get me their missing documents until after 17 April.

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I've never done 20 in a day in my entire career.  Different type of clientele, maybe?  The returns that I have in now and the ones yet to arrive will each take hours of my time, and that's not including scanning, assembly, and possibly meeting with the clients.

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1 hour ago, jklcpa said:

I've never done 20 in a day in my entire career.  Different type of clientele, maybe?  The returns that I have in now and the ones yet to arrive will each take hours of my time, and that's not including scanning, assembly, and possibly meeting with the clients.

A typical client will have usually a k1 or two, maybe a few rentals, a fair amount of investment income (w/ foreign tax, 199, sales, etc.), W2s if not retired, a random schedule C (because they are often profs who consult as outside business), the younger ones have kids, older ones retirement distributions (many exempt from State tax because of an agreement between the State and the governing board for the Universities), maybe an energy credit of some sort, stock gift to charity, etc.  There are, of course, returns that take me hours and hours.  I'm super lucky because I have someone who pre-enters many of the returns and gets better every year at doing so ... it really helps me get to the meat of the return after I quickly proof the data entry, and I have an amazing staff who do all the scanning, copying, delivery to clients, etc.  I think this is part of the reason I can sometimes knock out several.  I also don't take client meetings (with very few exceptions) during the season.  I don't need someone to hand me a document and tell me it's their 1099 ;).  If they want to do that, they can, but it has to be early in the season or on extension.  Corporates/partnerships take much longer, and I'm not always hitting the 20 on personals (as I said, until this season it was 12, which I could pretty consistently hit).  It might be a pipe dream ... and it's more likely on a weekend day when no one is interrupting me.  It's just the straight math for what I have to do to finish everything in house by the 15th :(.  We'll see.

There is someone on the board who by himself does 1000/season.  I think his name is JIm.  Does anyone else remember that?  I'd like to know his system!

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Some years ago I met another EA who did 800 returns a year with only his wife helping part time copying and assembling.

He did it all in 5 months and took the rest of the year off. His office had a bathroom with a shower and a Murphy bed.

He worked 13 hours a day and lived in his office Monday thru Friday.

He only went home Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Frankly, I thought he was crazy!

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If I ever manage to do 12 or 20 returns in a day, they'd be the "one W2 and $3 in bank interest only" types. I spend 2-4 hours on each return, not including emailing the client telling them they still owe me documents X, Y, and Z.  

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Several years ago, my main tax work day was Saturday.   I could schedule 5-6 appointments in the office and knock them all out if the client had all their documents.   I allocated 1 hour for each return with a break between every 2 to catch up on efile, phone calls, email, etc.   

Can't do that any more.

Tom
Longview, TX

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And, those "simple" college kids' returns, don't forget kiddie tax! So, I can't complete any of the kids' returns until I prepare the parents' returns. So, a family of parents, two kids, and a trust for each kid takes days, not hours. Add a partnership or S-corporation to the parents, and it can be weeks to clean up the bookkeeping, drag all the missing forms out of the family, and prepare all six connected returns before those two "easy" kids' returns are complete. And, nobody remembers to give me their Car Tax.

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One this year; adult child of client. Married, W2 job, new twins and mom stays home so no child care. Sounds like an easy one, yes?  

  • Stock options with basis missing (at least not ISO's with two bases)
  • Consulting for dad
  • Consulting for mom
  • Unemployment for mom from before twins were born.
  • The condo they moved out of for a bigger place (with twins on the way) is now a rental.
  • "Repairs" for rental neatly listed but capital and expense intermixed and had to be teased apart.
  • Partnership K-1
  • Various carry-forwards from 2020 return - easy except he sent me the wrong file three times. Signature pages don't help get carry-forward figures.

This one took substantially longer than one would have thought, based on the description at the top. Typical for my practice.

 

Oh, and the parents? Another "Simple" return; they sold their house (a duplex) and weren't sure how to handle the sale because of the rental portion. 2020 NOL not carried forward. Depreciation on all manner of items never taken. Form 3115 needed, as well as amended 2020. 

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The karma of my talk of 20/day has circled back to me.  I just spent 3 hours trying to calculate an accurate basis for someone who sold 2 shares of stock he held in an S-corp for the last 17 years (I was not doing his returns for those 17 years).  At least he could look up the original purchase price of the shares and had all of the k1s going back to the initial ownership.  

The Universe is speaking to me.

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This time of year the thing that gets me is the "panic" freakout that you missed something. Was doing a return and freaked out that I'd forgotten to do a trust return for the deceased wife. Scrambled for 10 minutes and remembered they picked that up 2 months ago and the K-1 was on the return. Takes my heart 20 minutes to settle down.

Or the person who just drops in, I see them and panic that I can't find their return. They were just dropping off brownies to thank me because I was so quick last month when they picked up.

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On 4/6/2022 at 12:10 PM, Christian said:

I cannot imagine being fatigued at the end of tax season being myself full of energy and pep.😊

If we didn't know your statement was tongue-in-cheek, that would be dangerous. Asking for a bunch of ATXCommunity-ers to show up at your office with pitchforks and tar. Fortunately for you, we'd all have been too busy anyway!

😁

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11 hours ago, Catherine said:

If we didn't know your statement was tongue-in-cheek, that would be dangerous. Asking for a bunch of ATXCommunity-ers to show up at your office with pitchforks and tar. Fortunately for you, we'd all have been too busy anyway!

😁

Actually, I would just show up with the tax returns I don't have the energy to finish.  That would be worse than tar and pitchforks!

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