“A client injured his wrists, so the doctor told him to keep his wrists elevated. He asked me if he purchased a Harley with those high handlebars, can he deduct that as a medical expense? I told him to show me the prescription from the doctor.” — Lawrence Pon, CPA, told the Washington Post when […]
Winter is coming, as is Tax Season 2020. The folks at 1-800Accountant don’t want to see tax professionals left out in the cold, not putting their tax preparation skills to good use during busy season. So, the firm is looking to hire between 40 and 50 people nationwide to fill its remote seasonal tax preparer […]
Anyone who’s gone through a single busy season will tell you that there’s no messing around. It’s crunch time. That’s why many accountants go to work when they’re sick, forgo austere obligations, ignore their loved ones, and in general, compromise their principles to keep busy season moving along as smoothly as possible. Today we have […]
Apparently criminals in the Bourne, Mass. area are not getting the service they need from the local CPAs in a crucial time of year. Any crook worth his salt knows that taxes are to be taken seriously. If they can nail Capone with with tax evasion, they can nail anyone. Luckily, one police department recognizes […]
Yesterday the IRS released some important dates for the upcoming tax season including the official start date: January 19, 2016. Also worth noting is that for 2016, the most overrated tax deadline of the year is April 18th because the District of Columbia will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 15th. This means auditors will have […]
For months, we've been hearing how bad tax season will be this year. Not just for you poor tax people, but for — gasp — taxpayers, even. See our post in November of last year: The Internal Revenue Service is gearing up to be hated even more than usual due to a “miserable” tax filing […]
Oh, this should be good: In an effort to alleviate some of the annual stress and anguish associated with tax season, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) asked CPAs to sum up tax season in just six words and post on NJSCPA social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Some of the […]
Did anyone catch the blood moon last night? That wasn't a rare astrological event, it was actually representative of this year's filing season for tax accountants all over America. In honor of this most sacred of days, TAX DAY, GC asked me to come back and share my wisdom on what the stars hold for […]
For all your misery as you drag yourself ever closer to April 15th, you have people like this on the opposite side of the spectrum: Y'all still ballin or nah? #TaxSeason I counted $3500 but I have bad eyes and am not that good at counting either so might need one of you to check […]
Despite having warned taxpayers over and over that the IRS does not and will not call you and demand you wire over some cash, apparently some people are still falling for this. So much so that TIGTA felt compelled to send out a friendly reminder: The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) today issued […]
Continuing with today's theme of tax violence, avoidance and straight up creepiness, here's a strange story from (where else) Cleveland: A man paid to dress as the Statue of Liberty and promote a Brook Park tax business says City Councilman Tom Troyer shoved him Monday during a tussle over the business’ street side advertising. The […]
Is this turning into the most violent tax season ever or what? First the guy in Detroit shooting people over his lady friend not getting her refund in cash and now this. A Missouri man is facing a third degree assault charge after he allegedly choked the shit out of an H&R Block employee. Guess […]
At least according to comments on this CPA Trendlines survey: Ray Nations, a leadership figure in the Virginia Society of Enrolled Agents, is also looking at some setbacks this year, and pricing pressures aren’t helping. “Clients are either using on-line software themselves or are going to their friends, or coworkers or neighbors who have an […]
LET'S DO THIS THING! pic via the AICPA on Pinterest Don't Mess With Taxes has the usual countdown clock up so you can keep track of just how many days remain in filing season, though we're pretty sure you don't need a clock, maybe just some ticks scratched into the wall like a criminal doing […]
That is, Dave Camp doesn't believe the IRS's story that the shutdown is the cause of the delayed tax filing season: “The IRS claims that it will be unable to process tax returns on time, despite being able to do so multiple times in the past when it has been responsible for adopting major changes […]
IRS delays opening of 2014 tax filing season for 1-2 weeks, citing shutdown…. — Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) October 22, 2013
With only three weeks until April 15th, some of you might like to be reminded that there are other people out there who are going through busy season pains just like you are. Unlike you, they have taken their suffering to Twitter and smartly labeled their problems as #CPAproblems which allows us to share them […]
Busy season is not fun. If you pretend it's fun or if you expect me to pretend it's fun, you're an ass. Now, I get it. Taxes are a big part of the reason I have a job, and I'm glad to have a job. So in a backdoor kind of way, I'm grateful for […]
He just wanted to get this out there sooner rather than later: IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller warned Congress on Wednesday that if lawmakers fail to extend the traditional alternative minimum tax patch, up to 100 million American taxpayers could be affected, and most taxpayers might not be able to file their tax returns […]
This just in from the White House blog: Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds […]
Yeah, we all have our tax season stories. Like remember the day in April when you got arrested on charges of stealing from your business partner while your husband got arrested for making a drunken spectacle of himself at the local elementary school? You don’t? Then your story can’t top this one out of the […]
Not surprisingly, the Income Tax Cocktail (yes, it's real) doesn't sound that good. Don't get me wrong, I'm a creative drinker with my own shaker who likes to get wacky with the floofy drinks when I'm up for something other than Raging Bitch. But something about tons of vermouth and a dash of bitters just […]
It would be remiss of us to not recognize today, March 15th, as the first big deadline of the 2012 tax season. This post serves as tribute to all of you tax jockeys whose tax season more or less ends today (but it never really ends, does it?). And for those of you still furiously […]
According to Reuters, brokerage houses have upset some clients by needing more time to provide 1099s based on a new IRS rule that requires brokerages to report how much their clients spent on equities. Though some houses have informed clients of the delay and recommended extensions, some folks aren't too happy about that, including random […]
The life of the seasonal tax preparer isn’t for sissies. You work your butt off for 15 or so weeks, neglecting family and loved ones, and then you still have 37 weeks to kill. Some people just live off their tax season earnings and the odd extension. Some find work that matches the tax […]
Now, before the trolls rally and start complaining about how this post is stupid and totally useless for 99% of the people who read this website, let us all take a moment to remember that accounting professionals (I use the term loosely) aren't the only ones who read Going Concern. Plus, auditors despise taxes down […]
As CPAs and capital market servants, you are all acutely aware that that serving clients to the best of your ability is priority numero uno. Forget your family and friends. Forget your pets. Forget your beloveds. Clients complete you in ways that those other people/animals can't possibly understand. Sure, there is the occasional event that wouldn't allow […]
Apparently Rick Beletti, takes a "daily stroll" and spotted an Atlantic sturgeon, which is a big deal, I guess. His employer would do well to chain him to his desk so that he can maybe he could get some work done instead of dreaming about becoming Bill Dance. [WCVB]
Celebrities suck at taxes. This is known. From Young Buck to Jaime Pressly, there are no shortage of talented-ish people that find themselves in a world of hurt when in comes to complying with the IRC. How any accountants to the stars manage to keep their clients from completely losing their shit this time of year is anyone’s guess.
Luckily for us (everyone out there seems to be suffering from a busy season hangover), a couple of videos we stumbled across more or less put this niche expertise into perspective:
The question over at TV.com, however, is whether or not SNL got its idea for Mort Mort Feingold, Celebrity Accountant from Alan Kaufman, rock star accountant. You can debate that if you feel so inclined but the realism of each is what’s noteworthy here. Anyone with firsthand experience in the A, B, C, or D celebrity clients is invited to share anecdotes at this time.
Since IRS humor isn’t going to get us through the last few days of tax season, might as well turn to technology for some much-needed usefulness.
Let’s start with an app from the fine folks at the IRS themselves. IRS2Go lets you track the status of your refund and, if you’re of the tinfoil hat persuasion, may make you feel like you’re being watched by TPTB. Not using an iPhone? Try the Android version. To date, IRS2Go has been downloaded more than 250,000 times.
You knew it was inevitable that they’d come out with a tax app for iPad, which the TurboTax people have released just in time for April 18th. One small complaint from users is that the iPad version doesn’t let you log in to update or change current TurboTax info but other than that, this app allows you to prepare and e-file your taxes all without putting down your iPad. Make sure you deduct that $529 you spent on the thing while you’re at it.*
Also from TurboTax, SnapTax is a free app for iPhone and Android (what’s with the BlackBerry hate here?) that lets 1040EZ filers snap a pic of their W-2 to file. The application states it will do all the work for you and is free to try but $19.99 to file.
H&R Block’s free Tax Central app won’t do your taxes for you but it can help you find an H&R near you, estimate your tax bill and help you get together the documents you’ll need to file. It also features a nifty tax glossary in case you forget what AMT is. Tax nerds will enjoy the tax quiz!
Do you live in constant fear of both BPA-tainted receipts and an IRS audit? Stop filing your receipts away in a lead box and try TAX Organizer, which sorts your expenses and organizes your receipts on your device.
*Nothing on this site should be considered tax advice. If you’re really considering deducting your toys, please consult a tax professional.
As you may have heard, 150 years ago today Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter which began the Civil War. This war turned out to be a pretty big deal as the Union victory effectively ended slavery. But what you may not be aware of is that it also led to the first income tax in our fair land.
From our friend and tax maven-cum-historian Joe Kristan (who somehow has time to post with less than a week to go in tax season):
The consequences of the war, surely unintended by the operators of this gun, included the end of slavery, a horrific death toll, and the first Federal income tax. While the tax was repealed after the war, the idea stayed alive; the federal income tax came back in 1913, and is still with us. So while you struggle with your 1040, save a word of “thanks” for General P.G.T. Beauregard and the rest of the Confederates who attacked Ft. Sumter.
Funny thing – lots of people in the South manage to have no tax liability so aside from LOSING THE WAR the whole thing is probably NBD.
Since the IRS made it clear earlier this week that blowing off your 1040 is not an option, you best be on top of this if you want to file pre-April 18th. However, you might run into a wee bit of a problem if you go to the IRS for help.
In all, 92,000 [Treasury] department employees would be furloughed, with IRS staffers working during the height of tax season representing roughly two-thirds of the 35,000 who would still be on the job.
Still, around four out of every five IRS employees would be furloughed. Dan Tangherlini, an assistant Treasury secretary, reiterated in a blog post that taxpayers should file electronically to avoid potential delays in receiving a refund, and laid out other areas where IRS operations would be affected.
Taxpayers with audit appointments should assume their meeting is canceled, Tangherlini wrote, while walk-in IRS assistance centers would be shuttered and customer service phone lines would not be as easy to reach.
Doug Shulman wants you to put that notion right out of your mind:
Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, said that people who file electronically during a shutdown would likely not face any delays in having their returns – and potential refunds – processed. But taxpayers who file by paper, Shulman added, may see some delays. “We’ve got a 100,000 employees. Not all of them are going to be coming to work. But we’re going to have a complement here,” Shulman said. “The nuances of who is going to be doing what I’m not ready to get into. The most important thing for people to know is: We’re going to be accepting tax returns and people should file.”
So as Adrienne just mentioned, you can either ask the AICPA for help, call your tax advisor or simply curl up into a ball and shudder in the corner until the 18th passes.
Correction: We regret to inform readers that no such assistance actually exists, the following is only meant for tax-stumped reporters who need help figuring out tricky tax rules.
Have no fear, little taxpayer, the AICPA is here to help you out if you’re stumped as to how to add up items H, K, L minus M x .412.
This year’s April 18 tax filing deadline is 13 days away, but approximately 59 million taxpayers still have to file their returns, the Internal Revenue Service said on April 4. These taxpayers are still collecting records, wrestling with forms and struggling to get answers to their last minute tax questions.
Edward Karl, vice president of taxation for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and other members of the AICPA tax staff are available to answer questions for end of tax filing season stories about credits, deductions, errors to avoid, what to do if you can’t pay the taxes you owe and what to consider if you need to file for an extension. Taxpayers should be sure to remember that their tax bill is due and must be paid on April 18, even if they file an extension; otherwise penalty and interest fees apply.
The IRS said about 58 percent of the approximately 141 million returns it expects to be filed this year have been filed. About 20 to 25 percent of returns are filed in the last two weeks and about 7 percent of taxpayers will file for an extension. The IRS’s numbers are based on filing statistics as of March 25.
If you are a taxpayer who needs help
you’re more of the self-service type and prefer interacting with a website over an actual human being, check out the AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Taxes for tax tips and suggestions. We found the Help! I can’t pay my tax bill article to be especially helpful for those who are in the delicate position of owing a bunch of money to the IRS but not actually having any to pay the piper. While the suggestion to take out a loan or borrow from family to pay a due tax bill seems offensive at first, it’s reasonable given that a bank loan will probably carry a smaller interest rate than fees and penalties associated with not paying the IRS promptly.
This newsflash is brought to you by OfficeMax’s National “Tax it To Me” survey:
For busy accountants responsible for filing taxes on behalf of the approximately 82 million out of 228 million American adults who opt to use professional services, tax season is perhaps even more emotionally wrought. A busy plate often leads to a poor work/life balance, botched sleep schedules, poor eating habits, and problems in personal relationships.
And if you can believe that, the survey also found that taxpayers blame procrastination of filing their returns on nervousness, confusion and laziness (among other things). Now remove your hand from your forehead and get back to work.
[via The Hill]
Michael Grossbach is taking it out on the help.
Michael Grossbach, 32, surrendered himself to police when he learned of his impending arrest for allegedly assaulting his office assistant on March 5, police said.
“Apparently there was an argument and he lunged at her, grabbing her hand forcefully,” said Sergeant Michael Buck of Irvington Police. “There were injuries, but nothing serious.”
Sergeant Michael Foley arrested the Garrison resident for having illegal physical contact with his 31-year-old employee at his accounting firm at 106 North Broadway. The defendant was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor. According to police, if convicted he is facing anything from a fine to one year in prison.
The head of the IRS said Thursday that a government shutdown during tax season would be a challenge the agency has never confronted before — and one that would become more complicated as the April filing deadline draws closer. Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, also signaled at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing that his agency was discussing how to address a potential shutdown with the Obama administration, though he did not spell out any details of those talks. “We run a $13 billion financial services operation, so the idea of stopping it for a few days or a few weeks is strange,” Shulman said, adding that he was hopeful, based on ongoing negotiations, that a shutdown could be averted. [The Hill]
During tax season, many accounting firms attempt to provide their employees with “fun” things to do. Ordinarily a boss would rather you just qwitcherbitchin and do your job than take you to Dave & Busters or splurge for pizza but when employees are suffering from exhaustion, Excel-induced eyestrain and pants that grow tighter with each passing day, sometimes violence has ensued (or, at very least, passive-aggressiveness so frightening that it borders on assault). While we applaud the effort by firms to make things more pleasant, many of them suck at “fun.”
Las Vegas-based Johnson Jacobson Wilcox, for one, is trying to not suck in the fun department and it appears that they’ve been successful since they were named Best Accounting Firm to Work For in 2010 (15-49 employees) by Accounting Today.
JJW’s managing partner Gary Johnson realizes that most people are still hung up on the old accountant stereotypes and he’d like to debunk those (after rehashing them, of course), “Most people think of accounting firms and accountants as dull, without much of a personality — people with their heads down and green eyeshades on, who work all day long and don’t talk to too many people unless the phone rings. We’re just not like that. We like to have fun once in a while.”
In this particular case, fun includes a $500 clothing allowance for new hires, free lunch during tax season and a Wii bowling tournament.
Johnson Jacobson Wilcox runs a stress-busting Wii bowling tournament every tax season — 2011’s edition kicked off Monday — complete with a trophy. During the 24-employee firm’s busy season from mid-January to April 15, the company brings in free lunch for employees every day. The company also sends new hires an orientation binder complete with business cards two weeks before they start, and a $500 clothing allowance awaits them as soon as they walk through the door.
Obviously the $500 clothing allowance would come in handy for most of you (especially the fashion-handicapped types) but this bowling tournament – and the trophy – is what really got our attention. Of course the Wii hasn’t been around forever and prior to such technological miracles, JJW had actual bowling tournament every tax season. And fortunately for you all, we were able to obtain some footage of two JJW partners from the late 80s in an especially competitive match:
Not only that but another shocking revelation is that they use caffeine to help them pull through this tough stretch.
They work 60-hour weeks this time of year, relying on pots of strong coffee and late-night dinners to help them calculate an endless swirl of numbers. Accountants are working feverishly to meet the deadline to file their clients’ tax returns this year even though they have extra time to do so.
Also, this just in – things get stressful because taxes are complicated:
The late nights can get intense, according to Carolyn Dolci, a tax partner in the Hackensack office of EisnerAmper. “It is busier than last year, partly because of the complexity of the tax code,” she said.
If you’re experiencing this phenomenon in your office, tell us your story in the comments below. Things will remain fluid for a few more weeks; we’ll keep you updated with any developments.
Accountants burning the candles at both ends [Star-Ledger]
Today marks a great day for our tax troll friends as the first corporate filing deadline of the year. For many of you, this marks the end of the traditional tax season and for the rest of you it’s more of a speed bump but it’s a sure sign that the traditional tax season is winding down.
So as the interns slap together the extensions, maybe dig into your drawer for a little pick-me-up and look over your bracket one last time. Just keep an eye out for the Judases amongst you. As far as they’re concerned, the extensions should have been finished a week ago and you should already be a dead sprint towards April
This comes from a tax professional in the throes of a hectic day. Personally, I’m stumped.
So we’ve got:
A) Feminine hygiene products
B) Starkist Tuna
C) Orbit gum
Arguments for any or all are now being heard.
Amiright? Apparently, this guy in Sarasota, Florida was just messing with everyone but, of course, that still doesn’t go over very well with the local authorities.
“About 11:45 a.m. a 59-year-old man walked into the center with a briefcase and a box,” said Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Paul Richard. “He placed it on what’s been described to me as a counter top and told personnel there that he had a bomb,” Richard said. IRS security personnel at the office managed to subdue the man and then hand him over to deputies. The office houses 60 employees, who were evacuated during the episode. The sheriff’s office bomb squad later confirmed there was no explosive or destructive device in either the box or the briefcase.
Call it the discount 1040 wars (or something):
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc sued H&R Block Inc to stop a new advertising campaign that it said misleads customers about tax refund loans and disparages Jackson Hewitt’s competence.
How disparaging? How about “two-thirds of the tax returns are wrong” disparaging:
According to the complaint, H&R Block falsely claimed that its “Second Look Review” program, which reviews past tax returns prepared by rivals, found that two-thirds of prior returns prepared by Jackson Hewitt contained mistakes.
“H&R Block’s 2 out of 3 claim necessarily implies the false claim that two out of three Jackson Hewitt customers who are entitled to refunds have been short-changed due to Jackson Hewitt errors or incompetence,” the complaint said.
Whenever the news is slow and you kids are quiet (I won’t expect to hear from many of you until after April but just in case, here’s my email), there’s always CPAnet to troll and here’s a good one: tax and estate lawyer pursuing the CPA wants to know if he should take a bunch of classes to prepare for the CPA exam before jumping in.
I promise to let him down gently.
I am a tax and estate planning lawyer and have been taking accounting and tax classes at UCLA extension in preparation for the CPA exam.
Since tax season is hell, I would only have the second half of the year to take a revthe exam. That means June – November (& January) 2011, 2012, or beyond. I am unsure whether I should continue taking classes such as (auditing, internal auditing, nonprofit accounting, etc.) for the next year and a half until June 2012… or whether I should just sign up for a review session this June after I take Intermediate Accting 3 & (maybe) Managerial accounting this spring quarter AND study my butt off in the review course.
Without sounding too much like an ass, I’m a fairly smart guy (top 20% in top 20 law school, passed bar exam) and a very hard worker. I have a lot of information under my belt but it may not all be relevant.
So, do I absolutely need to take the 2 auditing classes offered at UCLAX or the nonprofit accounting class or can I cram the review course material? I have heard that advanced accounting is unnecessary and I learned consolidations in Business Enterprise Taxation. I don’t know econ, but I looked at some practice questions and I got most of them. Supply and demand doesn’t seem too complex.
Am I crazy to skip these classes and rely on the review course? My experience with the bar exam was that the courses in law school were more likely to confuse than to help.
First off, my professional experience has been that whenever someone says “I’m a fairly smart guy” or “I’m no idiot” or “at least I am not like the senior who probably ate paint chips as a kid,” that candidate almost always has difficulty getting through the CPA exam. Why? Because brains have nothing to do with it, stupid.
I often explain it to candidates like this: the CPA exam simply tests your left brain’s ability to process and spit out information exactly as it was put in. We don’t need creative right-brained accountants (especially now that Lehman is kaput) so the more right brain spin your brain tries to put on CPA exam information, the worse you’ll do on the exam. “Smarts” don’t factor in, it is merely a test of entry-level knowledge and we all know you don’t have to be smart to be an entry level accountant. Hell, you don’t have to be smart to be a partner either but we’ll let that one go.
That being said, it’s important to recognize that there are two distinct universes: the CPA exam universe and the real universe. In CPA exam world, all cash flows use the direct method, accountants are always ethical bordering on neurotic and there is always a very clear answer for any query. In the real world, we use indirect to save time, have trouble passing the open-book ethics exam after four tries and sometimes have to choose the “best answer” without knowing for sure that it’s right.
While more education is almost always a good idea (unless you’re already over-burdened with student loan debt to begin with), it may be easier for our future candidate above to simply jump into a good CPA exam review and call it a day. Some of the cheaper review programs will only build on the candidate’s knowledge base or help familiarize with the exam’s format and content but the pricier, higher-quality reviews also provide the information the candidate needs to pass, regardless of their experience level.
Remember: because the CPA exam tests entry-level knowledge, you aren’t expected to be a expert in anything. Not everyone takes advanced accounting and while some of those topics are tested, any decent review course can give you just enough to scrape by if you aren’t familiar with those areas. Don’t waste your time taking extra classes unless that is a personal goal of yours and, if so, either do it before or after but not during your CPA exam attempt.
Earlier in the roundup, we linked to The Hill story that brought the unfortunate news that anyone itemizing expenses their tax return will “have to wait until mid- to late February to file their returns.”
The IRS is acutely aware of the problem but lucky for all of you, Emancipation Day falls on April 15th this year (and is effectively a national holiday for tax purposes), so the