Discussion:Suggestion to all us Pros

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Taxea (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
1. If you don't the answer to a tax issue...check Publication 17, if your answer isn't there check the publication specific to the issue. if the answer isn't there check IRC. . If you can't find it there use the yellow search box on this siteIf you are still confused post your question here.

2. If you don't know how or where to put an item in your program...search the program "where do I" or "How do I". If you can't find it there, check the program guide. If you can't find it there, ProSeries has real-time online help, if that doesn't clear it up for you, post your question here.

I guarantee that much of the time you will find your answer faster than posting without research and waiting for a response.

I am just curious as to how many CPA's have taken tax courses for their CPE credits. How many pros have a copy of Publication 17 or the current TTB(for starters) handy and how many just use this forum as their only resource of information.

I ask because I frequently see very basic questions being asked or postings that could quickly and easily be found in the tax software of Pub 17. Just wondering is all. taxea

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Laura,

I have an idea.

You will see it soon.

Tom

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 23, 2009
I can see no reason to denigrate people who ask questions here. This is the Tax Almanac. It's a place for people to ask tax questions. If you don't know the answer to any question posted, you can simply ignore it.

Irsfixer (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Texea, I can assure you that CPA's specializing in tax complete the majority of their CPE in taxation. Since CPA's are required more CPE than EA's, it is likely they have more CPE in taxation than EA's.

That seems like a basic question to me. It also really belongs in another forum.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Laura,

I updated the following to include some of your thoughts:

The Purpose and Use of TaxAlmanac

I needed to revise it anyway with the recent changes to the board, so I just added to it.

What do you think?

Tom

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
I agree, a lot of the EA's get their credential, and then sit back on their laurels, and get fat off the land. Send their secretaries out for four dollar coffee by the cup, and take a shortcut by reading Pub. 17. instead of doing their research.

I think it's high time they be required to take their licensing test every year (and pass it with a grade above 70 for a change, and no Bell Curve), and agree to wear ankle braclets to prove they are not reading over Pub. 17, when the are supposed to be actually learning the tax law.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
I guess everyone has a short memory: did not Kevin show the errors of publications, and the inconsistencies, two years ago when someone asked about dependencies. We'd still be doing it wrong if everyone took out Pub 17.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Laura, I am in total agreement that anyone holding themself out to be a tax professional should have already read Pub 17 and be familiar with, what I believe to be, the standard and custimary tax issues found there.

I also believe that any tax pro should also be able to find any other IRS Pub and instruction and be able to read them.

As for CPE, there is cheap tax CPE out there and there is good tax CPE out there. I always have invested in myself by going to where the CPE was provided, and not just taking correspondence classes/internet classes, or whatever was available within 50 miles of my home. There are those out there who try to operate on a shoestring budget and their knowledge suffers from budget CPE.


As for which tax professionals ask more basic questions, I do note that in the last two months, several EAs have asked questions which I thought they should already know the answer to, or which were basic enough for them to find the answer in the pubs or instructions. Perhaps we see more basic questions from CPAs here because there simply ARE more CPAs here. The percentage of basic questions may indeed be the same for CPAs and EAs, but there may just be far fewer EAs, so the raw numbers look distorted.

I do get frustrated by the same posters who come back and ask over and over, though, and never seem to have read Pub 17. Perhaps you and I are both frustrated by those same participants? Maybe we should take Deback's advice and just pass some of those by, or provide the source (Pub 17, etc) where they can find their answer. TexCPA is great at this, and so is RoyDaleOne. They will lead the horse to water, and if the durn thing won't drink then that is his own fault.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
The president of the tax firm must have what we refer to as "deniability". Just like the President of the United States has.

So, for instance, even though I don't look at Pub. 17, or JK Lasser's, or anything like that, I do allow my secretary and noncredientialed assistants to use these resources; and they look over my returns (which they refer to as "drafts" or "first attempts"), just in case there may be some minor error of mine they might catch.

So, I think a lot of the EA's could learn from that, and I pass it along as a "pearl" or "gem" at no cost. This allows me to deny that I use Pub. 17, or J.K Lasser's, or that I lean on my computer program to complete the return.

TexCPA (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
What is this Pub 17 everyone is referring too? Do they sell PBR?

All kidding aside, I guess I need to find that darn post ' Best thing that happened to me today" - getting some 'props' from Kevin ! thanks !

I suspect some posters maybe claiming to be a 'tax professional' but are really DIY's, I can choose to participate and 'lead' a poster to an answer, or I can choose not to participate. Everyone is different which makes this board a very valuable asset! (can I depreciate this, section 179?)

TexCPA 10:59, 23 March 2009 (CDT)

Ddoshan (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Come on .. I think it is good to go over and over some things. Good to refresh ones memory for those of us that no longer can recall or retain information for more than a couple of weeks.

Harry Boscoe (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
A coupla weeks?? Wow, ginkgo biloba?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
wow, Harry, thanks for the reminder. I forgot to take mine this week. There ought to be something you could do to remember to take it.

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
PUB 17????? I haven't had a drink their since I left NY.

Is it still on Queens Boulevard?

Genskitty (talk|edits) said:

March 23, 2009
It is still on Queens Boulevard. It is also on Hollywood Boulevard, Broadway. In fact, it is on every Boulevard there is in the country. I also heard it's one of the most, if not the most popular pubs out there.

Genskitty (talk|edits) said:

March 23, 2009
All joking aside, there were times that I felt it would be easier just to ask the question instead of looking up the answer. Then I say to myself, "I'm not going to learn anything that way." So why waste everyones time including mine?

GrinnenTL (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Taxea,

Your post made me go back and look at all of the stupid questions I had asked in the past. I don't ask many, but once when I did, one poster told me to go to the yellow box. I knew the answer to my question, but I needed it in writing to give to my client. I thought the yellow box was to search the discussion forums. I was pleasantly suprised when I discovered what the "yellow box" was for!

I can understand your frustration with frequent posters who come here first for answers. I equate that to my clients who come to me for everything. They ask about 529 plans, FASFA, the new home credits, etc. While I don't mind answering simple questions every now and then, I don't like being taken advantage of. Since they are clients I can't ignore them, but on Tax Almanac you can! If you think the question is stupid, just laught it off and say a pray for the client who they are preparing the tax return for.

What gets me are the CPA's EA's etc that are trying out their stand-up routine via the discussion forums. <My 2 cents>

Now back to returns.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
I'm with DDO on that stuff. Sometimes we learn new things by going over things we should/do know already. Again, if the question is too simple, pass on it and ignore and if the poster keeps posting ridiculously easy questions you can then always ignore that person. I admit that I kill cats all the time and will post something here because I want the quick answer. I sometimes want/need it now and I know someone here knows it without having to look it up.

If we translate this to home life it must be horrendous when we turn the radio on and there is a song we really hate and so rather than just change the station we listen to that song and then the next song sucks too and soon we are in radio listener heck. I mean it can be quite traumatic.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
I look at it this way, they wouldn't be here if they knew what they was a doin'. Therefore, try to help them.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
And isn't it about making everyone better?

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
The DIYs are largely gone, and as AEM always says, Kevin just itches to send we stupid ones to the yellow box, so what is the problem? For those who ask the basic questions, think of them as Scrooge, singing "I don't know anything, but I didn't know I didn't know anything." Comments like 'use the box' or a link to some simple publication might actually open these peoples' eyes.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
In my own defense, I only send people to the yellow box when I feel that they haven't already tried to find the answer on their own. If I feel a person has tried, I'll usually provide the link to the discussion that they missed which contains the answer (which I found by using the yellow box).

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
In TaxEA's defense, I asked the very same question two years ago: Discussion:When is a question Stupid??

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
to which TaxEA replied: "there are no stupid questions"

AEM CPA (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Only stupid people.

TexCPA (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
and stupid pet tricks

[[1]]

TexCPA 13:15, 23 March 2009 (CDT)

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
there world is full of stupid people, but i have the gun so i get the peso's

Ddoshan (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Didn't a wise man once say that the only stupid question is a question unasked. Well I remember one stupid question I asked once in Biology class that I wish I would not have. Teacher was discussing cows I think or ruminating animals of such ilk and something about their diets and how their digestive system worked. I listened intently for awhile than raised my hand and asked the teacher what happened to the food/grass etc. they were not able to digest. He looked at me like I was nuts.

Blrgcpa (talk|edits) said:

23 March 2009
Boy! Tax season must be easy. Look at all the tax preparers who have time to answer this question only a few weeks before the end of tax season!

Taxea (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
Thanks to all of you who "got it". taxea

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
But there is something else that should be mentioned: those who post a 'question' in the form of a theory or the like, ask for views and then spend the bandwidth arguing that they are correct. Why waste space?

AEM CPA (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
I can think of least one time where I asked a question on which I was leaning toward a position but wanted an unbiased presentation of the opposing viewpoint. Even though I have a position, I do my best to keep an open mind so that, if my position can be demonstrated to be incorrect, I will change my position.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
But these people have their minds made up and are more or less showing off their 'clever brains.' "Look what I thought up, Ma!"

Ddoshan (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
showing off their 'clever brains. No one could ever accuse me of having much of a brain at all let alone a clever one. At this point in my life I think I have only a few functioning brain cells left.

D'Nero (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
I've sat through the college tax courses, the CPA brewhaha a few years ago (shaking my head), volunteered for a VITA site and interned with, and worked for, two CPA firms. This is the foundation of my training: prep texts, CPE and partners.

Currently I am on page 50 of Pub 17 and have referenced back to to the many relevant discussions in this forum. The equivalent to reading the book and then watching the movie, I'd imagine.

My wife recommends Twilight, I'm going to stick with Pub 17.

541 should be next on my list.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

26 March 2009
oh, I saw Twilight at Christmas in Seattle. I had just been up to Port Angeles to take the ferry to Victoria, BC, and it is SO BEAUTIFUL there! Good 'chick flick' for teens.

Taxea (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2009
I'm pretty sure I never used the term "stupid question" because I believe in the answer I gave to Kevin years ago. I was referring to basic questions that all professionals should know and it amazes me that they get posted here and the poster has to wait for someone to answer it instead of ignoring Kevin's arrow to the "box"...with all the time this takes they could have looked it up themselves.

As for Scrooge's saying...I say I know what I know and I know that I know it and I know that what I don't know, I don't know. There are no stupid questions there are only people who ask out of ignorance.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2009
But what makes a question "answerable"? I have one posted currently that 38 (maybe 28, but in any event a lot of people), have looked at, but no one said boo. There are currently two or three others with no response either. I really would appreciate a response to my question, and I suppose the others would as well. So I'm going to talk to a neighbor in my building about the issue.

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2009
The posters on this forum are free to ask and answering questions in manner they want within the minimum rules that this site has.

For example, this comment is posted on this board.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

March 27, 2009
"there are only people who ask out of ignorance."

And there are people who will point that out to them on a constant basis.

Tadams (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2009
I just have to say that since I'm new to the tax business, I am so appreciative of all the smarts you all are willing to share to help others. The couple of times I've posted, I know it seems like a small thing to others, but the wise comment has moved me in the right direction to solve the problem. Just a follow-up to Kevin, which CPE do you attend/recommend? Thanks again.

Supertaxnerd (talk|edits) said:

27 March 2009
I agree with Tadams. I've never really posted until a few minutes ago, but I've used the site for research. Some times it helps to get the answers from a person, instead of trying to decipher what the pubs mean. Also, with new EA's or CPA's, like myself, we lack "real world" experience. And sometimes, there are numerous ways to accomplish one thing, but we don't have the experience to know which would be better for the client (won't trigger an audit, looks good in IRS's eyes, etc.)

I'm very thankful that there's a whole community of tax pros willing to assist. And especially to the ones that may or may not think my question is stupid but still answers anyway! I really appreciate it, and for someone new...you can't imagine how great this is.

Thanks, guys!

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