Discussion:What are you going to do differently next tax season

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Discussion Forum Index --> Business Growth Community --> What are you going to do differently next tax season


JAD (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
I am not going to replace the couple of businesses that sold and the one client who left. Therefore, I am not going to work Sundays. Instead I will go outside, play with my kids, clear my head, and do a better job maintaining my sanity.

I wanted to share this New Years Resolution, of sorts, with all of you.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
I start collecting Social Security next February....that means about 70 clients can be fired.

Seriously, I'm calling in dead next March.

TaxFlake (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
Hook me up D&T. :) I need to expand by about 50% and will be working on that goal from May 1st.

DLLCPA (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
1) Hire a seasonal tax preparer to lighten our load.

2) Plan my soon to be 7 year old daughters April 12th birthday in advance so it is easier to do. 3) Take off most Sundays (I had 2 more off this year than last year) and goto bed by midnight so I'm not so grumpy.

SunnyCA (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
Charge more!

Kamckinley (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
1. Hire help (already have admin help lined up)

2. Raise my prices 3. Fire a few clients 4. Hire a coach to make sure I implement all of the above!

Waynecpa (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
1. Not answer any stimulus package questions.

2. No appointments for returns under $100. 3. More December checkups.

Dusty (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
To those who have hired someone to help prepare returns - what method did you find best to get a good person?

WPCPA (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
I like the suggestion from the 50-something year old CPA - who doubled his rates and lost a 1/3 of his Clients - Is he/she better off?

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 11, 2008
1) Learn to say no and MEAN it.

2) Raise my rates...or at least the minimum charge 3) Steal Wayne's idea of no appointments needed for the small returns. 4) (maybe) offer discount for entities - mainly S corps - if they get me all the info in January 5) Get a job at HRB <wink>

Mdwtax (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
1) Convert the other half of clients to e-file

2) Take off one day a week to play with family and keep sanity (so you don't see me on 10 o'clock news)

Scottycoyote (talk|edits) said:

11 April 2008
this site has helped me immensely this year already, my goal is to just be more like some of you guys lol. Say no and mean it. Dont kill myself to try and get returns in before the deadline when people bring me their stuff late. Charge more. Get rid of the problem clients.

Dkmcpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
What I will do differently is I will worry less, be more focused on my family, and I will dump the stress of the last minute clients back in their lap. April 15th falls on April 15 year after year, and those clients who procrastinate will accept the extension, or go somewhere else. SIGH..... It isn't worth the $$ to deal with them year after year.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Drink more tequila

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
EXTENSION!!!! and I'd better get a raise at work for the hell they put us through this year.

KMBAMB (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Thank God for health and sanity to make it through another tax season. Also, learn to say no alittle more so I can spend more time with family and friends. Son just graduated from college and daughter just started college. They grew up while I was here each year doing taxes. Where did the time go?? Must learn to work less....

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
We've always had pretty standard rates for returns. This year there was a huge spike in clients forgetting information, taking forever to get it to us, taking up 2 or even 3 appts, etc. We've got to find a way to let them know that this is going to cost them without making them angry. There is way too much of a sense of entitlement that each one of them should have our undivided attention and babysit them on top of it.

Nancyshoemake (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
not start the 14 hour days on January 2nd....i am totally fried....

Anchorman (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
try to do less corporate returns and more schedule C's... and grow my client base another 40%... and get a third preparer to help me...

Lizzit (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
1) Be in an office, so I can have work-life separation.

2) Say no to hubby when he wants to spend the money I earned on himself. He can earn his own money or go without. 3) Except! I will so definitely pay for him to go on a holiday between 1 Apr - 15 Apr. Anything to get him out of my hair!

work stuff

4) More rich and famous clients in the arts and entertainment field. They sooo don't complain about their bills. And they don't scrutinize the work I've done either. Nice.

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
1) We hired an intern from local University and will absolutley never go with out a 15 hour a week intern again. A young college kid with ambition is terrific.

2)Stopped doing payroll and bookkeeping.

3) Held firm to minimum, took some heat, but volume down, revenue up.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Southpark, not every college kid will do, I'd sure be trying to line up that kid for a summer job!

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
yeah, some don't drink tequila

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Ride that bull,

Go sky diving,

Etc.,

RoyDaleOne (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
http://www.youtube.com/user/VPYNCHON

Blrgcpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
I get my 1st ss check next month. I'm going to retire and take more vacations. Other than for family, of course. But they can be a pain in the neck!

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Discussion: "Jesus Wept"

Nancyshoemake (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
now I remember why I use to stop seeing clients after 4/10.....oh my goodness! A couple showed up drunk today at 1:00 pm. Another client drove in 1 1/2 hours to forget all of his 1099's and w-2s. Two clients have not been here in 5 years and expected to do 5 years of taxes TODAY! Losers! Losers! Of course, several of them show up 40 minutes late. Why am I acting surprised? If they are this late....

Nancyshoemake (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
now I remember why I use to stop seeing clients after 4/10.....oh my goodness! A couple showed up drunk today at 1:00 pm. Another client drove in 1 1/2 hours to forget all of his 1099's and w-2s. Two clients have not been here in 5 years and expected to do 5 years of taxes TODAY! Losers! Losers! Of course, several of them show up 40 minutes late. Why am I acting surprised? If they are this late....

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
fire a few PITA clients

hire some help

don't answer so many DIY questions on TaxAlmanac

Don't even look at TaxAlmanac until weekends

Get a flu shot

Don't work 95 hours a week

get more than 5 hours of sleep per night

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
Can't do it Kevin and you know it. Can you say addiction.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

12 April 2008
hey, I went two days this tax season without TA

and last Fall I went a whole 2 weeks!

looking for a good 12-step program right now

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
Ditto what Fred said. Kevin, most of the posts currently on the first page of tax questions show you as the last poster.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
I know. I'm making up for 2 days of not looking.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
two days does not make a wait until weekend deal.

Kevin, the first step in fixing your addiction is accepting the fact that you have one.

Join us, come to the dark side.

Acctax (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
1. Clone myself.

2. Position telephone closer to window so I can shoot out the window when I'm fed up with a certain clients. 3. Pray more. 4. Organize office more. Shred another 1000 lbs of old files. 5. Last but not least, try to work less hours which probably won't happen.

Dar/ACC Tax

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
I hear Jose calling me now.....

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
Oh geez, Kevin, don't tell me you're hearing voices, too!

Fred, I think he's half-way there.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
Jose can you see, by the dawms' early light

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
come kevin, join us. we have the cuervo you seek. we have patrone. we have the Hooters Hot Squad

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
You're up, too, D&T?

Okay, I get it now.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
i figured you would eventually. remind us to not use you as the early warning sentry during times of danger.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
ROTFLM*O!

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
One big change for next year - I'm going to start and COMPLETE my personal taxes early. I roughed them in back in Feb. I knew that I needed a number or two for the rental expenses and that was it. I decided to let it 'age'.

Today was a great day to finish my taxes. Last of the clients...all non-extension returns done...except mine. I was totally relaxed and at peace with the world. Then I discovered that I can't find my wife's W2!!!! The numbers are keyed in...but I can't find the W2 so I can't check it. I am beside myself with a lower simmering anger.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
Take a break Rg, and look for the W2 tomorrow.

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
I will Natalie. I was just looking forward to finishing my return all day.

What really bugs me is that I've never misplaced a document, mine or clients, in 15 years. I have a sneaky feeling that my wife didn't give it to me and I used a year-end paystub to rough it in. The upside is that I don't owe so I might not even sweat the extension.

I've never efiled an extension. Can you still efile the return after you efile the extension?

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
I don't know, Rg. But why wouldn't you want to do an extension? It's sooooo easy.

Joanmcq (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
Sure you can efile after an extension. I've been doing it for years. But I di the same as you RG..but I got mine filed today! Now I just have 7 more schedule c clients to do extensions for..The new one's stuff I just went thru will be easy to key; he summarized everything thank god. But I still have my check register lawyer to get to...

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
Like others - stick to my guns - after April 1st, you are om extension no matter how much you whine you need the darn money. Your procrastination is no excuse.

Also, stop letting my assistant act like she runs me. It's my business not hers. She comes in with her kids returns and their boyfriends or girlfriends and wants them done for nothing. No more. They can pay, they make money. Then while there is a ton of work to do, she is on the phone with them or surfing the 'net. Sorry, only I can get away with that.

Tom

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
Darn, take the evening off & you guys are partying....

I worked until 4:45 am on Fri nite/Sat am and got almost all extensions worked up to the point of the calls for checks to go with them. So I knocked off early Sat night (9:00 pm !!)

I vow not to do this next year!!!!!! I'm getting waaaaaay to old for it.

Tom, I have great staff but green. I'm going to get them up to speed with a lot of training this summer to take the pressure off of me. My biggest problem is no one can help me with the entity returns (mainly S corps, partnerships). I'm considering offering an incentive to get those in the office by late January (soon as the bank rec's get done).

Tom, IMHO, you need to fire that chick and find someone else that appreciates the job (and YOU). Or downsize to the point you don't need her. (I've considered doing that - used to be that way; much less complicated).

Or, I'm going over to the dark side too and drink enough tequila to just not give a d*mn. My new hero (sorry Fred) is Jimmy Buffet a la Margaritaville!

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
no worries Belle, I can deal with being outsourced for Jimmy, but does that mean I was your hero before ;-)

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
I just how you 'read between the line' ;-)

I'm salivating just thinking of Tuesday and that first shot.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
I'll be walkin into the office about noon on wednesday, just in time for the end of year luncheon.

thursday, 1/2 day then jetting down to South Carolina for golfages.

I don't read between the lines, I re-interpret what you mean. not my fault if on occasion you and Natalie have no idea what you truly meant to say. <EG>

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 13, 2008
Ah, we know exactly what we mean AND we know how you (of the evil grin bent) are going to interpret it. Kinda, sorta why this is a source of entertainment during all this stress.

What's your handicap (GOLF handicap)? Do those voices follow you onto the course and say things just as you start your downswing?

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
As I have explained to the delightfully amusing always a few seconds late Ms. Natalie, I am like an onion, I have many many layers of complexity. you have only yet seen the layers I choose to show.

That's not to say that each layer does not have the EG bend to it, just that there are many.

As for golf handicap. It would be me. I have used many different mehtods of mind focus to improve my swing and no, you do not want to know about them. lol.

I will ususally shoot about 100 no matter the course. well, except for those Vegas courses where I just give up after 8 holes and drink the rest of the ride and heckle my brothers.

so there

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
My sister got tickets to see the Pope on Thursday. Her husband and her kids don't want to go, so she wanted me to tag along so I am taking two days off this week.

Client calls at 9:00pm last night. I ignored it. Said to heck with him. He just dropped off his stuff Thursday.

Next year, I will do what I started doing the last few weeks. Get up early, no late nights. I get more done that way, but wind up crapping out at 9:00pm. That's fine. Frankly, gives me a chance to wind down with the family.

Tom

Waynecpa (talk|edits) said:

13 April 2008
I'm in the same boat as Tom. My eyelids pop open around 4am and I'm usually at my office (15min away) by 5:15. I get a lot of work done before anyone calls or my staff shows up.

This next year I will be looking for ideas on how to get more corps and partnerships to give me their information in a better format. As I am the only one who can do these now, it is hard to grow from 80 in 2005 to 100 in 2006 to 110+ in 2007. It is a relief when I get information from one of these that shows they have a good bookkeeping system or bookkeeper. At least I am picking up some fiscal year taxes (4 new ones this year) to spread out the work.

Only 3 returns left on my list to complete before extensions...

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 14, 2008
I think next year I have to start saying "no" sooner. I have determined I'm at capacity. I just got a call yesterday from a potential client that I had told I would have more time around the middle of April. I had forgotten about that one.

Thanks, Belle.

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 14, 2008
Thanks for what?

Am I so tired I forgot I did/said something nice ! ?!?

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 14, 2008
Thanks for your response to Fred. See, he thinks that just because I'm in a different time zone, that makes me late.

We need to get one of those Freddy Dictionaries so we can be prepared for all of his "interpretations." It's nice to know that you're there to reply to his silly remarks when I'm not around.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

14 April 2008
Did anyone see Fred's photos?

Did you see my latest rant about my assistant? I can't believe what she did yesterday. It's in another thread.

I am so proud of myself. I called a client to tell them I finished their return they just dropped off the other day. The wife answered and she said "Are we going to be in by the 15th?" and I said, "Yes, but given my workload, I should have put you on extension given the fact you only got this to me Thursday. It's ridiculous calling me Saturday night at 9pm asking me if I finished." She was extremely apologetic.

In my letter next year, I am going to set office and phone hours. I've had it with this crap. I do have a life.

Tom

Ramfan (talk|edits) said:

14 April 2008
My biggest thing for next year is to make it through March 26 without a problem,

Quick story last year my 52 yr old sister had a massive heart attack and actually died in the parking lot of a grocery store early that am but thanks to EMS and Staff at Publix she recovered and is back at school teaching. Never had problem with her heart in her life

This year and even worse situation happened the exact same day, our best friends 20 year old son was killed in a terrible accident(He was a student at Univ of South Carolina and died in an accident involving a train). This was as close as the wife and I have come to loosing one of our own children, we live in the same neighborhood, go on vacation together and everything.

I did not realize that this both happened the same day until my son told me that night. Naturally it both situations put me WAY behind but with the help of my office and patience of my clients I pretty much dug myself out of a hole both times, this year more so than last.

I am from the school of thought that the only excuse is no excuse but sometimes life deals you difficult situations and it makes us stronger but with both of these things happening 2 years in a row I have made a vow to myself to make sure I can get as much done as possible early next year including MY OWN RETURN (for which I had to send an extension in last week)

Also I hope that I do not have to take the time to answer STIMULUS REBATE QUESTIONS next year. We have been bombarded with these this year. Our business is a family owned business that has been operating since 1941 so you can imagine how many retired clients we have that do not file anymore and they have come out of the woodwork this year but I have been patient and tried to help them all and send them to the local places that do these things many have just dropped in and want to catch up.


Good luck to all for the next 2 days

Mdwtax (talk|edits) said:

14 April 2008
Good idea with the phone hours in the letter. I should have thought of that -

I have a day job and can't answer my cell phone, then I get home to meet with clients from about 6p-8p, then I eat a quick bite standing in my kitchen, then sit down to start working returns by 8:30. So, my phone hours are during the lunch hour (Central standard time), during the drive home (5p-6p) and 8p-8:30p.

Bushmaster (talk|edits) said:

14 April 2008
We started requesting bookkeeping stuff every three months when we do the quarterlies. That one thing has taken off so much time during the first 3 months it is amazing. Plus, for clients who keep their own books, I go see them every quarter and make adjustments on their files so I get a clean set come tax return time.

That is one of the most important things you can do. I have a lot of time in May and June, August, and November and it coincides nicely with quarter ends.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 14, 2008
Mark, please tell me you don't phone and drive. Any plans to flip your current work schedule -- part-time job, full-time practice?

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

14 April 2008
what's wrong with multi-tasking ms natalie. I phone, eat breakfast and smack the kids around all at the same time.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 14, 2008
Multi-tasking at home and at work is one thing. Multi-tasking while driving is quite another. Of course, that comes from my experience in Hawaii, where we have one of the highest (or is it the highest) death rates per capita of pedestrians. I'm reading a good book right now called "It's No Accident." I'll share more later.

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
Hey, if you guys don't know how to drive, it's not our fault. See, here in New Yawk, we know how to do that kinda stuff. Philly and Joisey can too. Just gotta remember to keep your eyes on the road while multi-tasking and to stop looking at the pretty papaya trees/plants etc.

Belle (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Natalie, are you reading while you are driving? <w>

Barbcolorado (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
What to do different next year--

Here's a good tip I have the client review the tax return by email before I print anything. After I get the okay, I efile, print it and send the hard copy by snail mail. I rarely have a client in my office to pick up a return. Life is short and so is tax season. Half of my clients are out of town anyway. I find it works well.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Why are you printing any hard copies Barb? If email is good enough to review the return, isn't it good enough for the final return as well?

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
Natalie

Are you saying you do not provide a hard copy at all? I still do. I am toitally paperless except I give them a PDF and a HARD COPY. Thinking of stopping the hard copy though.

Matt

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
If they have PDF, why give a hard copy?

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
I suppose force of habit, a tangible "deliverable" but I think that based on these responses,

I will go to a client portal next year.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Wait a minute. I asked Barb why she gives her clients a hard copy, and Southpark answered the question. Southpark, what's up with that?

Szptax (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
cut back my client list & take down the Christmas lights before 4/15.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Southpark, yes, to answer your question, I only provide electronic copies of returns.

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
Ramfan,

that was a heartwrenching story, amazing strength that you perservered. makes everything else seem minor for sure.

for next year what i will do during the summer is create personalized proforma's for the majority of tax clients and it will free up a lot of time next year for new clients and make preparing returns for old clients even more efficient.

this year i did about 10-20 perosnalized proforma's on excel where i gave the description and the amount of the deduction last year to help them organzie their info and provide current year numbers. wow, it came in handy, i wish i had done more of them and sooner. besides making it easy to do the return it reduces drastically the time involved asking questions like "did you get a 1099-int from so and so..."

i know our tax softwares have tax organizers but they seem so impersonal to me and i dont feel comfortable using them.

i have also learned this year but not yet as much as i should that i need to separate being a nice person and business being business. i have to learn to charge my fair fee to all clients and not let emotion get involved, after all we're not in the charity business, we can make our charitable contributions any time we want from our profits, but i no longer want to give charity tax accounting time to ungrateful clients.

i also next year want to actively pursue throughout the year getting some corporate and partnership returns by going to businesses and stores and introducing myself and see how that goes.

finally, my advertising mailings for once will be done at the best time of year, one mailing in the fall, another one in early january, and a final one in mid february.

ok, one more, i will be more conscious this year of sending at least one tax newsletter to all my clients every quarter.

Will

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Been waiting to know what should be changed. One thing: a better quality of champagne than I'm drinking right now. God deserves better than this swill.

Nancyshoemake (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
next year I do hope to take my Christmas trees down before 4/15. this year it will be 4/17!

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
For those of your sending returns to clients electronically, how are you getting the efile signatures from them? Some of my long-distance clients print them, sign them, scan them, and email them back to me. Others print them and send them snail mail. What works for you?

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Scan/email is my fave. The old faxer works too. And a few mail them.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Same as JR. I prefer the email method because then I don't have to scan them.

CrowJD (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
I think it's going to be very interesting to see whether we will be able to pass through some of the inflated costs of living next year.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Some of us have to Crow. I was just reading an article about tuition at private schools in Hawaii. ALL of them have increased their fees 3 - 10%/year for the past several years. And some of these schools still have waiting lists.

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
So every year I fall into the same trap of starting my taxes in January and never seeming to finish them until the last minute. I have to do 2 S Corps to do our personal return. This year, I said no more, so I finished them about a month ago. Except... every night I turn in the files that I've got that need to be efiled, and I never actually remembered to put mine in with them. So here we are on 4/15, and it's yet to be seen whether I will remember to include mine tonight!

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
Considering costs - we used to charge a fee for copying and mailing a copy of a return. Now that we can generate a pdf out of Proseries and email it, I felt funny charging the same fee. What do you guys do about that?

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
I charge the e-file fee. Others do not.

Wwtaxes (talk|edits) said:

15 April 2008
I wasn't referring to the original return that we gave clients, but when they ask us to send a copy to someone else, or give them a new one because they can't find theirs, etc.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 15, 2008
Ohhh, I usually don't charge for that. I keep the final pdf in a client folder. If someone asks for it, it's easy enough to just attach it with a reply to the request.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
My rule for next year is that nobody can die during tax season. It makes everything so much harder.

Just filed my last e-file. Apparently the TP is upset over the tax bill. She called me in mid year to see how to complete her W-4, then after I calculated it, she called back to say she had figured it out with one of her colleagues and didn't need my help. Apparently, the colleague isn't so great at predicting tax bills. I need to call her now and calm her down.

BTW, Natalie, are you scheduled to travel on Northwest Airlines in the summer? If so, between now and then, let's hope Delta completes it's bid for the airline and makes some gross improvements. I traveled home from Los Angeles for almost 24 hours, missed my Honolulu connection obviously and in order to get on the plane this morning at 5:15, had to pay for the interisland flight, $40, that Northwest was suppossed to have taken care of, this after being ripped off $1200 for the round trip ticket in the first place. I was bleary eyed, angry, exhausted and just wanted to get on a plane that was going to land in Kona. Now I have a scathing letter to write, just as soon as I finish up here.

BTW, we put more than half of the client base on extension this year. Partly because people are so slow bringing things in, it's been a REALLY hard tax season and seems like everything I pick up needs to be researched and I must be getting better at it, because one thing keeps leading to another and I need another answer - if this, then that. Or does that mean I'm getting worse? On the personal side, at least I know this year can't be repeated. I have only two parents and their deaths punctuate the tax season like quotation marks.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

April 16, 2008
So sorry about your loss, Action.

SunnyCA (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
Action, so sorry for your losses this year.

Lmcdon9822 (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
Wwtaxes - I use the Self Select Pin option when I efile my clients and use the last 4 digits of the SS. 90% of my clients are efiled. I charge $12 and 3 extra per additional states. Either way, the client would still have to pay postage with certified mail. I tell them efile is faster and more secure. I give them a little pep talk about how their returns can be lost in the mail with all their personal information. Works all the time. I give my clients a hard copy. Double sided. They feel the need to receive something back. Anyways, it gives me a chance to put my name in front of them and hand out business cards.

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
Fire some clients that I know are fudging to the 99th degree, charge more, pray that D&T doesn't die, learn as much as possible about all state tax returns since I had filings from 22 states this year, take the Audit course offered by Gear Up, stop doing anything with out-of-state Corporations, keep giving $25 referral fees, keep reading TA, keep playing bass, keep hanging out with the family, possibly get an office outside the home, stop cussing, start drinking.

Szptax (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
Sorry for your loss, Action.

Pierce (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
Work more throughout the summer/fall so I'm better prepared for tax season.

Uncle Sam (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
I found that this season there were more problems attached to each return because of the way in which clients handle their financial decisions and don't bother contacting me DURING the year to ask advice to find out.

My main issues this year were 1) Clients were EXTREMELY slow in getting to come in sooner, 2) Most of the clients came in unprepared where I couldn't complete their return-had to wait for more information to come at a later date, 3) Clients' main focus was on the Stimulus Rebate program - virtually EVERY client had a question on it during the tax interview.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

16 April 2008
I'm beginning to think that along with the recession in the air, there must be something that everyone is inhaling to make them procrastinate this year more than ever. Most of those we put on extension haven't gathered their stuff together yet and come in, much of what I had to do this year needed some kind of research, and a lot of those who did bring their stuff in, didn't bring it all in and we have to wait for one more piece of paper. It must be a new disease that tax payers are subject to. We should probably contact the pharmaceutical industry and suggest they start working on a cure. Anyone have any ideas for marketing the new drug or naming it?

We actually only had one person call about the Stimulus Rebate program. We printed out the 1040A instructions on the IRS website for him, he came in and insisted on paying for them - two bucks - but I was willing to give it to him for free. Others asked what it was, but I can't say I'm as sick of the questions as others are.

Natalie (talk|edits) said:

April 17, 2008
Action, I wonder if it's just the air you guys have been breathing over there.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

17 April 2008
My clients sent their stuff far earlier this year, and before we automatically ascribe this to the rebate, I'd say one out of three of them don't qualify......my input spreadsheet had 39 more on April 12th than at that point last year, and no more than 10 or 11 are new. These newbies are counterbalanced by perhaps 3-4 who did not come back.

The real surprise was Rich & Billie, a doctor/lawyer marriage. She gets me the basics early and then the K-1s from their various business interests come floating in. This year I waited until early April to post the basics so they would be fresh in my mind. Then I had an email from her: 'my law partnership K-1 will be held up, file an extension.'

I wrote back, "Billie: six clients whose returns I will be able to complete in your stead just breathed a sigh of relief."

Her answer: "You are so funny" but it was true, since her practice is in two states, they both have those dinky suburban Philly 1% earned income taxes to do and other stuff.

Szptax (talk|edits) said:

17 April 2008
Action, I agree - there were alot of procrastinators this year. I don't know what it was, but I felt very unmotivated to complete returns as well - my numbers ultimately are roughly equal to last year, but early March & was at about 6-%! Boy did I kick butt the last couple of weeks! Collections were down too.

Kokomo (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2008
Southpark CPA, would you like to share the reason for your wanting to stop doing payroll and bookkeeping?

Kokomo (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2008
I am going to hire more help. Try to get more sleep. Get employees to take on more responsibility. Kill a lot of marketing programs including the yellow page ads, newspaper ads, and on-line ads. Either grow bookkeeping/payroll or kill it.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2008
I killed my yellow pages ad. Worthless. Two clients after only one year. Besides, I doubt people go to it like they used to any longer. My best ad is the church bulletin and word-of-mouth.

After my recent episode (in another thread), I am setting limits. No Sundays, April 1st IS the drop dead date for returns to be in house and office hours. It is not worth what I am going through right now.

Tom

Lancermc (talk|edits) said:

14 May 2008
I'm going to start drinking again.

Szptax (talk|edits) said:

5 November 2008
Reviving this discussion. I am not replacing the clients who left (mostly terminated businesses). I am going to charge a minimum fee for return prep. regardless of level of complication. This may eliminate some, but not many clients, but I hope will make me more profitable overall. What does everyone think such a minimum should be for individual, S corp & p-ships?

WBR (talk|edits) said:

6 November 2008
Szptax, if you set a minimum how do you handle tax returns for the minor children of clients.

Bbowers (talk|edits) said:

6 November 2008
We've talked about setting a minimum too, but are finding it difficult to arrive at that number and how to break it to the little old ladies that have counted on us for years. We've decided to start new clients on the new found number and move forward. We are however going to cleanout a few clients that cause most of the grief. I'd be interested in any minimum amounts others use.

Theresa d (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Do any of you charge a minimum for monthly writeup clients? I do have one client that I charge $175\mo which is too low but he's having problems so I've left it at that. I would like to keep a minimum of $200\mo. I worry about overcharging though.

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
I'm going to:

1. Fire about 10 clients that are the same non-payers every year, even when I am doing their returns for next to nothing.

2. Sign up to take credit cards.

3. Keep way better records, which means getting out that big giant erasaboard from behind one of the bookcases and keeping track off the computer of finished returns, payments, mailings and efiles.

4. Raise my rates.

5. Stop taking on every single possible tax client that calls.

6. Get a scanner and scan everything that a client gives me and put in client's printed records and in pdf.

7. Get better MusicianTax logo shirts that fit better and look better.

8. Get some really nice folders to hand out instead of file folders with a printed label on them.

9. Read more Tax Almanac.

10. Do returns as they come in.

That's all!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Donnie here are some suggestions:

1) Don't release a return without payment. Tell people this is a new company policy, but that you accept credit cards, so if they left their checkbook at home you can still help them. If they don't want to do that, tell them you will pay the postage to mail the return to them once they have mailed the check to you. You will still end up with a few people who don't pick up their returns, but you will vastly cut down on slow/non-payments.

2) I use a magnetic whiteboard with colored magnets to track returns. I can email you some pics and explain it to you if you want.

3) Look at e-filecabinet to organize your scanned files.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Hey Kevin,

Can you e-mail me some pics with that whiteboard? I could use something like that bad.

Thanks,

Tom

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Thanks Kevin, definitely elaborate!

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
on it's way, Tom

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Donnie, I need your email address.

Donniecastleman (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
Oh yeah, duh! musiciantax@yahoo.com

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
I'm in NYC

S-Corp & partnership minimum for very basic returns = $500 (2 hours of time) mid level = $750 (3 hours) more complex/time consuming = $1,200-$1,500

1040 very basic (i.e one or two w-2's and standard decuction) = $250 1040 basic itemized (2 w-2's , 1099-int, homeowner) = $375 to $475 1040 more complex (w-2's, 1099-div, sched D, one or two k-1's, homeowner, = $500-$700

basic kids returns(student under 24) = $75-$150 (i used to do these free, what was i thinking?)

Things to do different

1.) put a photo of myself on my website 2.) mail out advertising letters earlier and then send a follow up postcard 3.) be more social = more new clients 4.) visit stores/businesses in the neighborhood and introduce myself 5.) send that letter to the local lawyers in case they dont have a tax pro to refer their clients to 6.) mail out xutom organizer on excel worksheet to the clients that are decent fees and always ask/give me stuff in piece meal or say "i forgot to get you this that and those" 7.) be more of a morning person 8.) be more well dressed to improve perception 9.) have all folders, labels, envelopes ready before tax season starts 10.) be more aggressive in asking for referrals

Wkstaxprep (talk|edits) said:

18 November 2008
forgot one more

i will try to poofread my taxalmanac posts before i hit the send button :)

Fsteincpa (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2008
I plan on drinking more Tequila

Southparkcpa (talk|edits) said:

19 November 2008
Kevin is exactly correct. I have accepted credit cards for years but for simplicity and professional image I mail returns with the bill. For 1040's or "transactioctional returns", credit card is a must this year. I wrote off about $4,000 last year , all in the construction business and that won't happen again.

In the "whiteboard" I use a log that shows a control number, when the return was entered and wne it was finished. Helps alot. Learned it from a mid size firm in NY.

Drummos (talk|edits) said:

21 December 2008
1. Start my business and actually sign up clients.

2. Learn from everyone's stress levels that my problem will probably be keeping them away.  :) 3. Learn. Learn. Learn.

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