We Survived and Two Important Lessons for Business Owners!

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CrazyYes—we did survive the October 
15th extension deadline for filing 
2012 individual income tax returns.  

During the two week run-up to
Monday, I had a chance to speak 
with two other CPAs, and as CPAs 
are prone to do, we complained to 
each other about the deadline, 
the workload, and the crazy things our clients do and expect us to do. 
Here are a few of our common complaints:
  • The problem with procrastinating is that so many other people are procrastinating, too.
  • Waiting until the last minute will not lower your tax payment due.
  • It won’t lower my bill either. In fact, it usually increases it.
  • You had ten months to find the paperwork we need—don’t yell at us if we can’t finish on time because you dropped off your stuff the week before the deadline!
  • Folks—I don’t write the tax law, and I don’t have the power to change it just because you don’t like the answer.
  • The tax law is not designed to be fair. It’s designed to raise revenue!
  • Doing it fast and doing it right isn’t always possible at the same time. I’d much rather be known as slow than stupid.
  • The easy returns were all done back in January and February.
  • Though in truth, there really isn’t any such thing as an easy return anymore! The tax law has reached such a point of total confusion and ridiculous complication that no normal person can possibly comprehend it and apply to their own particular situation.
  • Calling us to check on the status of your return every day only slows us down further. We are already working 12-hour days and haven’t taken a day off in over a month. (Re-read the first point to understand why.)
  • The IRS does not take your memory and assumptions as proper documentation. And estimates don’t work, either. Yes, you’re right; they don’t trust you.
  • Tax fairness = complicated returns. Sorry, you can’t have both.
  • We are not IRS auditors. But that doesn’t mean we are going to lie for you and make things up.
  • If you don’t have a receipt proving it is a legal deduction, I must and will assume it isn’t a legal deduction.
  • If we had the information you say you provided, we wouldn’t be calling and asking for it again. We are trying to help you pay the lowest tax possible, so just answer the question please!
  • We are good but we are not mind readers! You need to tell us when you get married, get divorced, have a child, start a business, buy a rental property, etc…
  • Being broke doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t owe tax. The IRS expects their cut first, and how you pay your personal bills is your problem.
  • Being rude to my employees will not help get your return done faster. In fact, being human, they will probably move your return to the back of the line.
And the two important lessons for business owners I promised you:
  1. It is amazing how much work gets done when you are under the pressure of a deadline! We finished thirty-six difficult tax returns in the last week. Be sure to give yourself and your staff a deadline on anything important that you need done. Not having one gives the impression that the project isn’t that important.
  2. The business owners who invested both their time and money in tax planning paid less in taxes and had much less stress about filing and paying their taxes.
Until next time, thank you for your continued support and let’s make this year our most profitable year ever!