8 ways to frustrate your CPA this tax season

February 9th, 2013 → 8:16 am @



Here are 8 ways you can frustrate your CPA this tax season.

Please don’t try all these at once, unless your really trying to drive up your tax preparation bill!


 #1: Think estimates are OK.

CPA: What was your mileage this year?

Taxpayer: Oh, it was 6,000 miles for  January through June and about the same for July through December.

CPA: (sigh) Estimates are not allowed. I need to report your exact mileage. Did you keep a mileage log (to self: like I told you to do last year when this happened)?


 #2 Have no records

Taxpayer: Well I spent mega bucks on this and that. I don’t have the receipt. My wife cleaned out the glove box where I stash them.

CPA: (sigh) Do you have another record, maybe the credit card statement?

Taxpayer: No, I paid cash. Can I still deduct it?

#3 Keep your records organized by month not category

Taxpayer: Here are all my receipts organized by month!

CPA: Do you have these summarized by category? (knowing, but continually hoping, that they do not)

Taxpayer: No, this is how I organize my receipts. I thought you CPAs liked organization.

CPA: My bookkeeping fee to re-categorize these into categories of expenses for the tax form will be added to your tax preparation bill.


#4 Keep your records in a Word document not a spreadsheet

Taxayer: Here are my expenses for the year in a nice Word document.

CPA: Do you have these organized by category in a spreadsheet? (to self: so I can add them up by category)

Taxpayer: I don’t understand spreadsheets.

CPA: My bookkeeping fee to re-categorize these into areas of expense for the tax form will be added to your tax preparation bill.


# 5 Mix your personal and business expenses in the same account

CPA: I assume these payments from your business account to the grocery store and the pediatrician are personal expenses?

Taxpayer: Yeah.

CPA: My bookkeeping fee to untangle the personal and business expenses for the tax form will be added to your tax preparation bill.


 #6 Don’t believe your CPA knows what he or she is talking about

Taxpayer: I thought meals were always 100% deductible.

CPA: No, only 50% deductible.

Taxpayer: When did that change?

CPA (through gritted teeth): In 1986, when you were 11 years old!


#7 Ask, “Why didn’t I get a refund this year like last year?”

Taxpayer: I always have gotten a refund in the past. How come why not this year?

CPA: When you come in to pick up your return, I can explain all the factors that go into your tax due and your refund.

Taxpayer: “The-store-front-who-shall-not-be-named” always got me a tax refund.

CPA (sighing): You owe money largely because your new wife was self employed this year and you didn’t make any estimated payments to the IRS.

Taxpayer: I always got a refund before I married her.

CPA: (to self) Too bad she married a jerk.


#8 Care only about your refund, not the taxes you pay

Taxpayer: My refund is smaller this year.

CPA: Yes, but look at what you paid in income tax. See how it went down because of all the deductions you took (because I helped you with your record keeping)?

Taxpayer: My refund last year from “The-store-front-who-shall-not-be-named” was bigger.

CPA: (sighing and trying not to cry or gnash her teeth) I can arrange for more income tax to be withheld from your paycheck and you’ll get a bigger refund.


So that’s a look into my world as a tax preparer.

Please take pity on your tax preparer this tax season. We’d like to make it through the season without too many sighs, tears, or gnashing of teeth.


Carol Topp, CPA

Carol really enjoys helping her tax clients and no one portrayed in this blog post even remotely resembles her current tax clients. 🙂

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