Getting fired is never fun. Most of us have been there or have a family member or close friend who's lost a job.
Sometimes people get let go when they're paying for services. It happens every year at accounting and tax preparation offices across the United States.
All types of troublesome taxpayers: Sometimes, famous customers get dumped, too.
Recent case in point, Donald J. Trump's accounting firm last week stopped work on his and the missus' personal tax return, and also told the Trump Organization it had ended that professional relationship.
Naturally, the late-night show hosts had a field day. Since the announcement was made on Valentine's Day, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel joked, "It's like getting divorced on Christmas Eve."
But losing your tax adviser at any time, regardless of how rich and famous you are, is never a good thing.
How to avoid being "that" tax client: That's why this weekend's Saturday Shout Outs are some pieces on why and when tax pros should take such drastic action.
Yes, the articles are aimed at the preparers. But we taxpayers also should pay attention so that we can see the things we're doing and should stop doing before we get fired. Here goes:
- Find value in letting clients go from the Journal of Accountancy (July 1, 2021)
- Art of Accounting: Some clients I dropped from Accounting Today (July 26, 2021)
- 4 Signs That it May Be Time to Fire an Accounting Client from Accounting Web (March 18, 2019)
- Bad Clients and How to Fire Them from Accounting Web (June 30, 2015)
- It's Time to Fire Bad Clients from The CPA Journal (November 2018)
- How to Fire A Client: A Guide For Who to Keep & Who to Let Go from Canopy (Aug. 19, 2020)
- Firing Clients Can Be Good for Business from The Tax Adviser (Feb. 28, 2013)
A couple of notes about this list.
One, I put the dates these pieces were published to underscore that this ongoing issue has been around for a while. But if we taxpayers take a hard look at ourselves, maybe one day a tax season will arrive where tax preparers have no reason to complain. Stop laughing, tax pros! A tax geek can dream.
And two, the last article on the list was written by my former Austin, Texas, neighbor and current #TaxTwitter pal Cari Weston, CPA.
Advice to taxpayers to stay "hired": Dealing with taxes is nerve wracking, for clients and the tax preparers we hire. It's been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which we're still coping with for the third consecutive tax season. Patience, from all directions, is understandably short.
So, please, don't make matters worse by being a bad tax client.
If you really believe the tax tips (aside from the ol' blog's, of course!) you discovered on the internet, saw on TikTok, read in a chat room, or heard on a podcast are correct, then why'd you hire a professional? Sure, it's OK to ask about such advice and whether it's correct and applies to your situation. But ask, don't demand that your tax preparer necessarily take that route.
Reputable tax professionals are trying to help you meet your legal tax obligations in ways that follow the Internal Revenue Code and Internal Revenue Service regulations. They're doing that by keeping up with new and convoluted tax laws and working with an IRS that's underfunded and ill-equipped to handle its duty overload.
And again, patience and courtesy, please from all. That way, your returns will get filed correctly and in a timely manner, and you'll still have a tax professional to talk with about your 2022 taxes!
Addenda, Feb. 26, 2022: You can check out my tumblr tax blog Tumbling Taxes for a video on 10 tell-tale signs you should fire a client. Although the video advice is not tax professional specific, most of the signs still apply. And they can help tax pros looking to cull their bad clients, as well as taxpayers learn how not be a soon-to-be dumped customer.
You also might find these items of interest:
- 4 ways to be a better tax client
- Where to find your perfect tax preparer
- 5 things to check when hiring a tax preparer
- Turning in tax professionals who break bad