I am the wife of an accountant, which means that this time if year is “busy season.” It also means that I function more like a single mom. Typically, at this time if year, my husband works 7 days a week and comes home after the kids are in bed.
I’m not gonna lie. It’s a tough time. I don’t know how single parents do it. By time April comes around, I’m ready to strangle someone.
So, since we’ve past the ides of March, I thought I would throw a few free tips out there for those of you who haven’t done your taxes yet. (What are you waiting for?)
- If the mention of the words “taxes” or “accountant” make you say things like “I still have to get my stuff ready for my accountant,” stop reading this post and get the darn information over to your accountant now. Seriously. You’re wasting valuable time. We’ll be here when you come back. (Also, I stopped listening after “Oh, your husband must be so busy right now. I need to….”)
- If your accountant has asked you for something in order to finish your return, get it for him (or her) and stop complaining. There’s a reason you hired an accountant in the first place. He’s on your side. Really.
- Talk with and listen to your accountant year round. Regular communication makes this time of year much easier on everyone.
- Dropping off something at your accountant’s office after 5:30pm on a Friday and expecting someone to be there to answer all your “quick” questions is never a good idea. Ever. Also, there’s no such thing as a quick question during tax season.
- Just because your accountant will answer your questions at 10:30pm on a Tuesday night doesn’t mean you should ask them at that time. Sometimes, he needs some time to do things like watch hockey or spend time with his wife.
- If you are planning on bringing a big box of receipts to your CPA’s office, you need a bookkeeper and not an accountant. You’ll just end up overpaying someone to go through expenses that should have been recorded in a real accounting program. Hire a bookkeeper to save time and money if you don’t want to do it. They’ll prep the info for your accountant to do your taxes. He likes that.
- Don’t waltz in your accountant’s office a few days before the tax deadline and expect to pick up a completed return the next day. Sure, we have a couple of extra days this year with Patriot’s Day and Emancipation Day – who the heck celebrates these holidays anyway? – but most firms stop completing new returns before the deadline to keep their sanity. How do you spell “late to the party?” – E-X-T-E-N-S-I-O-N.
Bonus Tip: At the end of tax season, thank your accountant. He (or she) worked hard over the past few months. Feel free to bring in a bottle of red wine in the office as a gift – maybe a Cabernet or a Syrah – before 5:00pm.
Disclosure: This post was written with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek. No research was conducted for this post, nor should you assume that any of this advice is actually helpful. If you are a client of my husband’s, go ahead and skip to the bonus tip. I’ll forgive you if you bring in a nice bottle of wine at the end of the season.
Have any real tax tips? Feel free to share them.