I WON'T PREPARE, DON'T ASK ME!
It is truly odd that many people seem to think because a person is an expert, or highly competent, in the preparation of one type of government form, or in one type of tax, that person MUST also be expert in all other government forms and all other types of taxes. This is obviously not true.
Over the years clients and others have come to me to prepare all kinds of government and banking forms and applications – many of which are truly Greek to me. I do realize that some preparers have added preparation of college financial aid forms and applications and other forms and applications to their “repertoire”, I certainly do not have the time to waste with these forms and applications during the tax filing season – and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to deal with them at any time of the year. Keeping current on 1040 preparation is enough for me.
My annual January letter to clients includes the following -
“I am trained, experienced, and knowledgeable in, and remain current on, federal and New Jersey state income tax returns and federal and New Jersey state payroll tax returns, and, to a lesser and more limited extent, New York State and business entity income tax returns. Period.
I am NOT trained, experienced, or knowledgeable in, nor do I remain current on, any other kind of tax or government program – other than perhaps having a very, very, very basic knowledge.
I know nothing more than you do about mortgage or loan applications, student financial aid applications or programs, New Jersey senior and low income benefit and property tax relief applications and programs, census forms, etc, etc, etc than you do – and often you probably know more than I do. I do not prepare any of these applications and forms. So please – don’t ask me to prepare any forms other than your federal and state individual income tax returns.
I do want you to take advantage of all the government benefit programs to which you are entitled. It is not that I don’t want to help you – I don’t want my inexperience and lack of knowledge to cause you to miss out on or lose any eligible benefits. There are other sources for help in preparing these forms.
The most I can do is provide you with information from your tax return that may be needed for the preparation of applications.”
As I have indicated, I will provide clients with information needed for such forms and applications that comes directly from the tax return – and in the case of the NJ Property Tax Reimbursement application I will complete the income schedule. But my involvement ends there.
Just curious – what do you have to say about this topic?