Friday, December 18, 2009
Over the holidays we send an organizer to all our clients with last year’s data in the margin to facilitate information gathering for this year. We also include a three page questionnaire.
Before we even sit down with the client we require the questionnaire be filled out. Without a few simple questions answered, we can’t do our job; and if we can’t do our job, we may as well go home.
About 80% of the people come in without the questionnaire filled out. Some grumble when asked to fill it out in the waiting area. I am amazed by this response. Our job is to help you pay the least amount of taxes allowed by law and you don’t want to answer a few questions? My doctor has me fill out a form listing my medical concerns/issues every time I visit. To this day I have never heard someone in the doctor’s office complain about filling out the form. In medicine, they call it: prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. The same applies to accounting/bookkeeping/payroll/tax preparation. If you prepare your own return online, the computer asks so many questions, many people start pulling out their hair. But the computer needs to know how to prepare the return. Live, flesh and blood, tax preparers can focus on your personal tax situation better than a computer, but we still need questions answered. By answering some questions in advance, we can jump to the appropriate action and save you money.
If your tax preparer doesn’t require you to answer some questions, you need a new tax preparer. It is the tax preparer’s job to serve you for the fee you pay them. Without information service is impossible.
When you see your friendly tax pro this year, be prepared to answer questions. Don’t act disgusted. We are doing our job. Don’t tempt us to take a short cut.