Tax Season is in full swing and your accountant is probably really busy.
Like most people, you’re seeing countless ads online and on TV that offer ways to maximize your tax refund, because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as getting a check in the mail from Uncle Sam. However much you want to add a few extra deductions when filing, there are legal limits on what qualifies as a deduction and what your accountant is ethically responsible to file. So we spoke with an accountant on how his tax season is going. He let us know a few things accountants have grown tired of hearing from clients during tax season.
Phil has been an accountant in New York for over 25 years and is a partner at his own firm. This tax season he will be busy with business filings until around March 15th, and then will shift focus to personal tax filings until April 15th. He told us that January to April is around 1.5x busier than the rest of the year, and 5x more stressful because of the tax filing deadlines that need to be met. Outside of “tax season”, Phil spends the remainder of the year consulting, bookeeping, auditing and filing taxes for those who file quarterly. And just so you know, Phil files his own taxes (for free!). These are the 6 things Phil said your accountant doesn’t want to hear from clients this tax season:
“Can I claim my vet bills as medical deductions?”
Unfortunately pets cannot be claimed as dependents. As much as we love our pets, they will never impact our tax refunds as much as children do.
“I earned an extra $50,000 off the books. Do I have to claim that income?”
Book a ton of freelance work last year? There are better ways to declare that income than ignoring it on your tax forms. Maybe think about legitimizing your side business. Open a business checking account, save the receipts from your business expenses and bring them with you when you file your taxes. Maybe even consider setting up an LLC for your company. Ask your accountant for advice on your best option.
“I saw a commercial for a tax software which says it can help me complete my return for free. Could you do that too?”
There’s a reason your accountant paid tens of thousands of dollars in tuition for their degree. Leave taxes to the professionals and spend a fraction of your refund to make sure they’re properly filed. You will probably receive a better refund and minimize the chance of errors.
“Can I claim my next door neighbor’s kids as dependents since I am always feeding and babysitting them?”
Unfortunately someone is already claiming the kids next door as dependents. Though, apparently you could receive a small tax credit if you host an exchange student in your home.
“My friend says that their accountant gets them a huge refund every year. What can you do to get me a huge refund too?”
There’s really nothing your accountant can do to get you a “huge refund”. You can only receive back a portion of what you paid in taxes for the year you’re filing. Stop distracting your accountant with an anecdotal story about your friend’s refund, accountants are 1.5 – 2 times busier in tax season than the rest of the year because of the deadlines.
“Just do what my old accountant did, he just made up the numbers every year!”
In this case, you probably needed a new accountant because the old one is in jail. Your accountant will not just make up some numbers and file your taxes. This will most likely land both you, and the accountant in some hot water.
Are you an accountant? In the comments section below, let us know a few additional sentences you’re sick of hearing.