I have prepared your taxes for the past twelve years. I thought you understood some "givens" about my services, but it seems I have been mistaken. Therefore, I will list them in the simplest terms:
1. If you send me your bank statements each month so that I can post your expenditures and income, I charge a flat monthly rate. If you hand me all your canceled checks for the year when you secure my tax prep services, I will charge you hourly for the time it takes to sift through each one and determine your deductible expenses. If you don't list in the memo of the check what you were buying, that check will be disallowed. I understand that the information is the same, regardless of whether it is spread out in twelve segments throughout the year, or dumped together in one package, but my time becomes more valuable when you say you would like the return finished in a week. Expect that the hourly amount will more than double what you would pay had you forwarded your statements each month.
2. It really makes no difference to me if you are remaining married or getting divorced. I won't hurry because then I make mistakes--not acceptable to me or to the IRS. Tell the divorce court that we're waiting because of your tardiness in turning in the information to me.
3. If you don't itemize your deposits, and you won't tell me what they're for, I include them all as business income, which means you get taxed on that money. Please be more polite when I call with questions--or it will cost you money. I only charge for phone calls if I am treated rudely.
4. A farm can only be considered a business if it shows some sort of income. If you take expenses for consecutive years, but don't make any sales, that's called a hobby and your expenses will be disallowed. I won't include those expenses, nor will I prepare a farm schedule if it looks like you're trying to commit fraud. And don't argue with me--my first commandment of Good Business Practices is: Never go to jail for a client.
5. I won't release your return unless you pay for it first. I don't care if you're getting a sizable refund and would like to pay me when you receive that. I don't care if you're a little short on cash. The return will be in your hands when it's paid for. You don't buy supplies from Walmart and offer to pay when your tax return comes in. Pretend I expect payment for my services, just as they do.
6. Never cry in my office when you drive up in a 2008 vehicle. Go sell your truck and use the proceeds to buy a less expensive car which gets better gas mileage--and pay your bill to me.
7. A box of potatoes or oranges will not soften my position about this.
Amazing Financial Advisor and Tax Preparer Extraordinaire
P.S. If you disagree with my stance on this, I'm perfectly willing to chalk my time up to a bad debt, and return all your documents so that you can prepare your taxes yourself or go to someone else. However, in that event, I plan to keep the potatoes and oranges.