Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Never Too Late

Once or twice a week I get a request to prepare five or more years back tax returns. I like the work. It is steady all year round and I enjoy the summer work. I also require a retainer, so I know I’ll get paid.

Many people are shocked when I tell them I take in about 100 clients a year this way. “How can they get away with that?” I am asked. “They don’t,” I reply. “That is why they are calling me. Something changed to make them want to file.” Getting a mortgage requires completed tax return. And IRS letters bring me frantic calls.

Other accountants tell me they don’t get as many new clients per year as I do with multiple returns to file. I don’t know why I get so many, other than to say, I let people know I specialize in unique tax situations. Since starting this blog a few months ago, three new clients with five or more returns to file called me. One became a client. Old habits die hard.

Too many of these people are repeat offenders. I don’t keep statistics on this, but it feels like about half fall off the wagon within a year or two. The sad part is many have refunds and the statute of limitations expires and they lose the refund. I just can’t feel sorry for people that do this.

My advice if you missed the tax extension deadline: Call your local, friendly accountant and set an appointment. The longer you wait, the greater the risk. Tax pros are here to help and we are qualified to do so. Make sure you call a CPA or enrolled agent. They should also have a few years experience, too.

Don’t be embarrassed because you haven’t files since 2002. Accountants don’t care why; all they want to do is get you filed. We have seen it all before.

Remember, if you are required to file and don’t, it is a crime; you can go to jail. If you can’t pay, there are options. So file.

I see someone at the back of the room picking up the phone. Good man.

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