Discussion:Do you have to look 'em in the eye?

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> Do you have to look 'em in the eye?


ChrisV2 (talk|edits) said:

11 January 2014
Is there any IRS code or standard of practice that says you have to actually meet your client and/or positively identify them before you prepare their taxes?

Nilodop (talk|edits) said:

11 January 2014
I think not, but it's not the best idea I've heard!

ChrisV2 (talk|edits) said:

11 January 2014
Just curious - what is bad about it? I was thinking the same thing myself but then I thought hey all the years I've done this work in a busy firm we never once asked to see someone's photo id to make sure they were who they said they are.

I'm not just asking this out of curiosity -- I want to morph my business plan to accommodate this type of (remote) client but I don't want to run afoul of any IRS regulations, either.

Nilodop (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2014
It's a risk decision, to be made by each firm or preparer. I have NEVER asked a potential client for i.d., but then I have always had ways of knowing who they were - referral source, general familiarity with community, etc. But I have ALWAYS done whatever amount of checking and evaluation I thought necessary to decide whether I want them as a client. (Not that I turned down many - but there were a few).

Offhand, I cannot think of any regulation that requires personal meeting or positive i.d. I'd be interested if someone finds one.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2014
I have clients that came with the firm I bought and I have never met them. I also have referred clients whom I have never met as well.

I have also had clients I met via online sources, either through Facebook and even from here on TA.

CathysTaxes (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2014
I have had referred clients that I've never met and have had no problems with any of them. One client did send me a copy of his driver's license and SS card. Two of these clients have moved out of state and still came back to me.

Nilodop (talk|edits) said:

12 January 2014
Dear Preparer Chris

We have not met but I have heard good things about you. Here is my W-2 for $15,000. It is all my income. I'd like you to prepare my 1040 and get me whatever refund I am entitled to. Here is $2,000 in c-notes for your trouble. Thanks for your help. Don't mail me the return. I will have one of my thugs helpers pick it up.

Alphonse Capone

P.S. If you need to check me out, stop at your local post office and look at the bulletin board.

ChrisV2 (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2014
Heh. I get it, but that same conversation can happen face to face. If someone is going to be that bad they probably have fake ID anyway...

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2014
This is from my story "Praising Famous Men," part of a Mystery Newsletter written in 2004.....among the famous men were "Birdman Phelan," "Mud Man Simon," the great Dan Biddle and others.

"Did I really know what “Chicken Man” wanted to report for his income? Damn straight I did. I had worked in the 1970's for a one man accounting practice in the near suburbs. Jake Vine specialized in Mom and Pop small businesses. I was his only employee. One day in March “Billy Fagots’ walked in; he was an insurance man from South Philadelphia whose last name was Fagnani, thus the insulting nickname. Until that winter, Jake had not seen Billy for years, but now Billy had brought him several clients, foremost a wicker wholesaler/retailer from South Philadelphia. Now Billy had another client for Jake.

“This guy will pay you $300 cash to do the return, and you don’t have to sign it.”

Jake looked at the paper he was handed.

“$82,000 rent income! Where’s his expenses, his taxes, repairs, utilities? He should be depreciating the properties. He’ll pay too much in taxes. What about retirement plans?”

I was in the front office and could hear this, but could not see the name on the paper. Billy shrugged his shoulders.

“That’s what he wants, a return like that.”

“Tell him to call me. He’ll be paying too much tax.”

Billy left, leaving the paper with Jake. The next day the phone rang and I answered. Through the receiver came the slow voice of a man gargling gravel.

“Is Mr. Vee-Nee there?”

“Yes he is, can I tell him who is calling?”
“Tell him it’s Mr. T.....”

As Jake was explaining the intricacies of the tax law to him, and the benefits of Keogh plans, income averaging and the joint return, I was putting two and two together. I KNEW WHO THIS WAS ON THE LINE and Jake didn’t, that much was obvious. When I heard him tell the Made Man that he would be overpaying for his expertise, and that he would give the paper back to Billy Fagots, I breathed a sigh of relief. After Jake hung up, I asked if he knew who was on the line, and when he responded negatively, I gave him a primer on the Philadelphia mob scene."

Gazoo (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2014
I have recommended for many years here that the practitioner have a really mean picture of God hanging behind his desk (the God of Judgment). It's getting harder to find the mean pictures so you may have to do an extensive internet search or check the antique shops in your area. With the unfortunate increase of the "mobile, multi-tasking, so-called connected" society, I recently asked my newphew to take a pic of my God picture so that I could include it in the first Email I send to all clients. He designed the pic so that it quickly expands to cover the clients entire screen and then blinks a few times, then switches to God throwing unbaptized teenagers into the lake of fire, and then God shrinks to the size of a period at the end of a sentence and the client can then read my fee contract.

Jrochestercpa (talk|edits) said:

13 January 2014
Last time I renewed my driver's license (Michigan), I inquired about the enhanced driver's license issued here to allow border crossing to Canada. The secretary of state clerk informed me that I could not get an enhanced driver's license without a copy of my birth certificate and other identification. I informed this clerk that since I had been getting my driver's license in Michigan since I was 16 (over 30 years ago), they should already know who I am. Nope, they needed the birth certificate and other identification. I then asked her how she knew who I presented myself to be for the regular driver's license. Her response was to ask me if I was who I was presenting myself to be. I said I would not tell her, and went to the lobby kiosk and renewed my license. Based on that logic, I guess we need to see the birth certificates from all our clients.

Gazoo (talk|edits) said:

16 January 2014
Glossary of Terms Used in My Above Post:

Mobile--to evade responsibility by wondering around with an electronic gadget in hand.


Multi-tasking----to appear very busy while not really doing a damn thing.

Connected----Solopcism or Orbitism. In other words, connected means the opposite of connected. In fact, it means more than JUST the opposite. It's like the opposite squared.

I would advise the OP to get the large painting or poster of the God of Judgment directly behind where he sits at his desk and also have the same God photo attached to his Emails to new clients. The ojective is to use psyops techniques to actually get the client to see you as GOD, or at least as godlike. Once they think you are godlike, they are like putty in your hands.

Makbo (talk|edits) said:

20 January 2014
I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the section in Pub 1345 "Verifying Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs)", where it says you should ask to see two forms of ID. It's not a requirement however, and I do not routinely ask to see ID, nor was I ever told to when I worked for H&R.

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