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How to Annoy Your Tax Accountant

How to Annoy Your Tax Accountant in 6 Easy Steps

By Jason Watson, CPA

Posted October 3, 2023

While WCG clients are wonderful, occasionally a client of another CPA firm will ask us for advice. How should I set up my next business? Can I deduct donations made to United Way? (spoiler, Yes you may) At times these inquiring minds also ask us how to annoy their tax accountant for whatever reason. Being the helpful CPA firm that we are, WCG feels compelled to help those who ask. So, here it is- How to annoy your tax accountant in 6 easy steps.

Yes, we are being playful and having some fun here… a satire if you will. After all, we chose this profession!

Step 1: Don’t Read

Don’t fully read correspondence from your tax accountant yet respond with “Sounds good. Thanks.” Then, when a tax notice arrives about 2-3 months after the tax return has been filed, ask “I am not sure why the IRS says I owe them money.” You can also safely assume that any letter from the IRS means your tax accountant messed something up. Of course the IRS has the best computers and certainly the brightest accountants.

Step 2: Take Inventory in Others

Compare yourself to your neighbor or fellow co-worker. Believe everything they say is accurate and say to yourself “they are just like me. Yay!” Then ask your tax accountant why your neighbor only pays $50 in taxes while you pay so much more. Don’t consider that they might be married while you are single. Don’t consider that they might not actually know their own tax consequence but purport nonsense as hand on the bible fact. Don’t consider that there are at least a dozen variables that might make your tax world completely and materially different than theirs. You can also tell yourself that everyone should pay taxes except you.

tax code

Step 3: Doubt Water is Wet

Just like when you ask your surgeon what scalpel they intend to use or inquire about the exact chemistry behind anesthesia, ask your tax accountant how the tax was computed. Ask them to show you the tax rate tables including the capital gains worksheet, and then comment that your co-worker, who earns exactly the same as you to the penny, pays absolutely zero taxes. Ever. You can go in a different direction and tell your tax accountant that you aren’t asking for much explanation, but you do want to know “how taxes work” since synthesizing 4 millions words of tax code (excluding case law) into a 20 minute chat is an easy request. Seriously, what’s the big deal here? Sure, the King James Bible has 788,280 words; War and Peace runs 560,000 words; and the entire Harry Potter series is just over 1 million words. What’s another 3 million?

Step 4: Play Hide the Ball

Act completely surprised when your tax account asks for a brokerage statement that was on your prior year tax return but seems to be missing from your document upload. Even though you’ve supplied the same brokerage statement for 6 years running, respond with “I didn’t think you needed that.” Better yet, respond with “I am out of the country” which universally means while most of the free world has internet access, somehow being in a foreign country prevents a brokerage statement PDF from being downloaded and sent to your tax accountant.

Step 5: Ghost Your CPA

Be a champ by providing all your tax documents early, and then sit on your delivered tax return for several weeks. Of course you can’t be bothered since playoff hockey is right around the corner. Next, ignore the multiple emails, text messages and phone calls asking if you have any questions about the tax return. Then, on April 12 or so, email your tax accountant and request a tax return review. Act baffled how time just zipped by. If nothing else, claim both: time zipped by and you were out of the country. What’s the big deal? It’s only your wealth. It’s not like the club team coach needs you for something. When in doubt, you can also claim a monopoly on the human condition of being busy and use that as your reason. Just like Charlie says to Maverick, “So, you’re the one.”

Step 6: Be Unaware

Because YOUR tax returns are filed, email your tax accountant on April 12 and ask to discuss a rental property that you might buy at the end of the year, maybe. Ask about the zillion of tax deductions your bartender claims are 100% L-E-G-I-T on your hypothetical rental property. Ask if you should put the rental in a trust because you also heard you can save even more in taxes from the grocery store cashier the other day. Or was it an LLC? The possibilities are endless! Don’t wait to take your intellectual curiosity and execute some Google searches to find some basic answers, and then schedule a meaningful meeting in May, June or July. That’s crazy talk. Instead just pepper your tax accountant’s inbox on April 12. It’s a search bar after all, right? Use ASAP in your plea for information because you are going to start rental property shopping next week. Everyone loves that and springs into action; not just tax accountants.

How Tax Accountants Annoy Clients

In the interest of equal airtime, we will work on another blog post about how tax accountants annoy their clients. Some things that come to mind- radio silence, use industry jargon, incomplete answers to questions, use “audit risk” in every response. Oh, we’ll have some fun with this!

Jason Watson, CPA is a Senior Partner of WCG CPAs & Advisors, a business consultation and tax preparation CPA firm located in Colorado Springs, and is the author of Taxpayer’s Comprehensive Guide on LLC’s and S Corps which is available online and from mostly average retailers.