Eliminate Tax Season Excuses

Older man with finger on lips and other hand out in "shush" gestureOr, 10 things not to say.

By Ed Mendlowitz
Tax Season Opportunity Guide

Tax season is a busy time and preparers sometimes neglect to get something outside of tax prep done. Needless to say, clients don't want to hear it. And your firm may miss some valuable opportunities.

MORE ON TAX SEASON: 10 Questions Every Reviewer Should Be Able to Answer | 16 Qualities of a Good Tax Season Client | 5 Ways Thorough Beats Sloppy In Tax Season | Here’s Your New Tax Season Marketing Plan

Here are a bunch of phony reasons why some things don't get done...

  1. Too busy (during tax season – three-plus months)
  2. Not my job
  3. I called them last; it’s their turn to call me
  4. Too hard
  5. Too new
  6. Not sure I could do it
  7. Won’t get credit
  8. It “smells” so don’t try – should ask “how  we can make it happen” rather than discuss why “it won’t work”
  9. I need a new computer
  10. Always too busy and seem to be playing catchup

Some firms have a three-plus-month tax season where the owners work 80 or more hours a week. Each of the above reasons is valid at one time or another, but to the client, his work is super important and the above reasons will not assuage them.

11 Responses to “Eliminate Tax Season Excuses”

  1. Diane

    We have the same issues, that are on your website, with our clients. Plus, IRS is not getting any more efficient nor effective. Sometimes they don’t even answer your written communication to them, or, did it just get lost in the postal system and never got to them?

  2. Russ Ekanger

    A) If it is so easy, take it to H&R Block, they never get things right.
    B) If it is so easy, call Turbo tax, their software is full of holes.
    C) Why is this so dam expensive-when was the last time you paid your mechanic less than $175 an hour

  3. Charles

    Publication 17 is your best friend if YOU are doing your own tax return, plus the instruction publication for the 1040 return. I’d also mention you need some familiarity with the 71,000 +/- page tax law (only reported to be 20 million words). Bear in mind though IRS conducted a survey of DIYers in recent years and found that of the top 5 errors recorded DIYers accounted for 84% (and another 10% by paid tax preparers). In short . . . tax laws are constantly changing (even we EA’s have a hard time keeping up) and what you did last year that went through might not make it this year. Seems like the small price of a qualified paid tax preparer might be a great investment on your part. You get to sleep at night regardless of how old your mattress is!

  4. Dan Drew

    You left out “Stop blaming Obamacare for your tax season woes.” Spring 2015, your publication moaned and groaned about Obamacare. I wrote to your publication and asked that someone please explain the hardship Obamacare was placing upon their tax season. I explained that most clients who can afford a CPA can also afford medical insurance, therefore, the CPA/tax preparer merely checks a “yes” box on form 1095-A, and that’s the end of the CPA/tax preparer’s Obamacare-related issue. If you don’t like Obamacare, or Obama, that’s fine, but blaming your tax season difficulties on a simple 5-second box-check matter makes no sense.

  5. Joe

    If I hear one more time it’s a simple return, I am going to scream, if it is so simple then do it yourself, or better yet, I don’t know anything about taxes but yet they seem to know what it should cost? Really? lol

  6. Jason

    Where does it say that accountants need to say “yes” to every request made by a client or potential client and then work 24/7 to get it done? We’re not saving lives here. No one is going to die of terminal debits and credits, if they have to wait for something. Have some self respect.

  7. Scott

    I try to continuously keep in contact with clients, but some just don’t take the matters seriously enough. Plus, the ones that grind my pencil lead are the clients that say they are coming in, have us do an extension, then never show again. So we are dealt with having to sift through mounds of extensions to determine which are valid and which just used us for our extension filing. Plus, with being chronically understaffed, this just wastes time that could have been utilized elsewhere in the firm.

    • Forrest H.

      Last tax season I began charging $100 to file an extension for any new client. The payment is credited towards the preparation of their tax return. No one complained and they all came in at a later date to complete their return. Note the charge is only for new clients.

  8. John

    Can’t tell you how many phone calls, texts and emails don’t get returned by my clients. What else do you want me to do? Still have clients that haven’t picked up their 2014 tax returns because they owe a lot of money. Communication is a two way street which I stress with my clients. I’m available 24/7 so they have no excuses.

    • Greg F.

      Unfortunately this is so often true when it comes to taxes. There are some everything has to be done “that day” the day they come in – or you could put a bottle in the lake and get better results – even though it’s to the client’s benefit – dropping off needed paperwork, turning in requested information, and so forth. Fortunately, this number is fairly small – but they are the ones you remember.

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