Things Your Friendly CPA Will Not Say, but the Bitchy Office Assistant Will

There is something significant about this day. There is something significant about this day? Period or question mark. Who the hell knows?

Today I very unceremoniously completed my seasonal job. Except I didn’t really, because we live in bizarro world, and it sounds like I’ll have some work to do in the upcoming weeks. Had things gone as planned, I’m told I’d have been working lots of overtime the past few weeks, nagging clients to get their e-file authorizations in, assembling anywhere between 10 and 20 returns a day, mailing or doing an in person hand off of another 10-20 returns a day, and assisting with the completion of 30-40 extensions.

I have been busy doing different things, and typically have enough work to keep me busy for eight hours a day; but I’ve left promptly at 5:00 everyday. Sometimes earlier.

At any rate, I have some reflections after my first four months of working in the tax field.

  • If you think your personal return is really complicated, you have lots of company. But it’s not particularly good company. It is perhaps complicated to the point you need professional help filing your return, in which case, good on you for taking on the service of a tax professional. But the chances of you being in a situation said tax professional hasn’t seen before are 0.00001%. You do not need an in person meeting and you are making the process more inefficient for all involved. Get over yourself. You’re not special.

OK. That was harsh. I don’t mean it. You are absolutely special. And I apologize for downplaying significant life events like the birth of a child, or the death of a parent and a subsequent inheritance, or moving to a new home (moving expenses are no longer deductible, FWIW), or whatever the hell other ‘extremely unique’ circumstances arose for you; but these scenarios are not new to your CPA. If they are, you might want to find a new CPA.

  • The tax law changes were not kind to normal folk. When I say normal folk, I mean families where the bulk of income is reported on W-2’s, and not various 1099 forms. Terms like cost basis, dividends, and capital gains are not a significant piece of the puzzle. FWIW, I don’t really know what any of those things mean. Withholdings got screwed up. According to my boss, he had to make an unprecedented number of calls telling people they owed money. While this might be a subjective metric, I can tell you we ran out of envelopes to send with federal payment vouchers in early March.

All this blabbering is simply to say, our firm had way more people owing money than in previous years. And, at this point, we’re behind on completed returns because of the COVID extension, and I’m guessing a high percentage of the uncompleted returns will have a balance due.

  • I cannot help but wonder about the folks who leave sticky notes on their return telling their preparer to call if there are any questions. Uh, if there are questions, you’ll get a call. If there are not questions, you’ll get a call. And in my very limited experience, CPA’s don’t just make shit up if they don’t know an answer to something.
  • It is WELL WORTH the $0.55 to mail in your e-file authorization form. This is quadruple true in tax seasons which align with a GLOBAL FREAKING PANDEMIC.
  • Speaking of pandemic, in this, my first stretch of working full time in 15 years; the following occurred: a fire in the building’s boiler room, the cloud based tax software was down for something like five days (that was in February I think, who the hell can remember February?), and A GLOBAL FREAKING PANDEMIC befell the planet. What can I say? I like to make waves and think predictability is for losers.

That’s all I got. I’m essentially back to the world of the unemployed now. It feels super weird. Just like everything else these days, I suppose.

Be Well, Friends.

Unrelated photo, because I don’t like to post without a photo.