As a former accountant I can tell you the reason accountants become anti-social: they get yelled at ALOT . Just as the employee at airline counter cannot control the weather, accountants cannot control tax law, the weather or, for the most part, the amount of time it takes to complete your taxes.
I remember my first beat-down. I might have told the gentleman how he could save money the next year (like I’m about to tell you), but I was too busy crying under my desk.
For starters, you should know that most firms charge by the hour. Depending on the firm, even small tasks like phone calls are billable.
They also operate on a first come, first serve basis. So, if you bring your information in the day before April 15th, they’ll probably just do an extention for ya.
Here’s how you’re gonna save this year:
1. Look at your last year’s tax return to see what documents you brought last year. If you can’t find it, or understand it, just call your firm and ask them what you need to bring.
I know you think you’ve got it covered, but you are going to forget something. A phone call is a heck of a lot cheaper than the time it takes your accountant to sort through your documents, determine what you are missing and call you back. That’s all billable time.
2. Make 2 copies of everything (make sure you have every page), then bring the orignals and one of the copies. A. It’s cheaper than paying some frazzled, exhausted worker who may take a while (especially if you have a bunch of statements). B. If an anti-social accountant calls you and accuses you of forgetting your 1099-Whatever, then you can rub it in their face.
Don’t forget to bring the originals. Accountants can be anal-retentive and illogical. Just appease them.
3. Put everything in some sort of order (maybe even highlight statement headers). Accountants are not robots and it can be mind-numbing to go through a billion forms that all look alike – shockingly, you are not their only client. When you take out room for errors you are likely to save yourself some cash.
4. When your accountant calls take GOOD notes and ask questions. If you bring in the wrong document or you forget your checkbook you’ve made a trip for nothing.
How are you going to save on your taxes this year?