Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
beth65
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 1:51 pm

Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by beth65 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:50 pm

Has anyone ever had a CPA not complete their taxes while they were there at the appointment? I’ve done my taxes for 19 years in three states, and never had an accountant just tell me to leave the paperwork and they would mail it to me to sign, and still charge me the full fee. I took time off of work, sat with him for 5 minutes, and he just told me he would mail it to me to sign when he was done (without giving a specific date). Thoughts?

User avatar
bostondan
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:21 pm
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by bostondan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:54 pm

That seems pretty standard. I’ve never had a CPA do anything while I was there.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

pshonore
Posts: 6022
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:21 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by pshonore » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:57 pm

As a preparer, I cannot remember many tax returns where something did not come up during an "interview". Perhaps if the CPA has been doing your taxes for many years, that approach might work. I also used that time to ask about IRAs, why they weren't maxing out 401Ks, checking for RMDs, letting them know this was their last year for Child Tax credit, etc.

cusetownusa
Posts: 245
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:54 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by cusetownusa » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:57 pm

I don't even bother with an appointment. I just download all of my relevant tax documents and email them over to him. I never thought to actually drive to his office and sit there while he completes my taxes.

beth65
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 1:51 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by beth65 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:58 pm

My accountants have all sat with me through the appointment for about 30 minutes, complete the forms, had me sign and e-file immediately. I always receive my refund within about 2 weeks from my appointment with my accountant. I moved to a new state and was recommended an accountant, but I was not aware that they don’t just complete and file your taxes while you are there.

beth65
Posts: 34
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 1:51 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by beth65 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:59 pm

cusetownusa wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:57 pm
I don't even bother with an appointment. I just download all of my relevant tax documents and email them over to him. I never thought to actually drive to his office and sit there while he completes my taxes.
That was the strange part. He required me to come in for the appointment, but then only spent 5 minutes and told me he would mail me forms to sign, but didn’t give me a date. If he was going to just have me mail it in, I could have just scanned and emailed or faxed all documentation.

renue74
Posts: 968
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by renue74 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:00 pm

I haven't seen my accountant in 6 or 7 years.

I send her all the documents electronically and she sends me a review copy of my return and then I digitally sign. Could be weeks before she does them.

Nate79
Posts: 1796
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Nate79 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:02 pm

I have never heard of an accountant doing the tax returns as you sit there in the office. Typically they only meet with the client at drop off to discuss all the details prior to working on it and then another meeting after they are finished. Potentially with phone calls during if there are questions. In particular this is how a number of services work, including some by family members of mine. Especially for many of these services due to the short amount of time and a very large number of clients they work very long hours. My father, who runs his own accounting service for example would be doing tax returns until midnight. Want to meet with them at midnight?

Traveller
Posts: 650
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:47 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Traveller » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:03 pm

The last thing I would want to do is sit there while my accountant does my return! (admittedly, my returns are fairly complex)

The process I have with my accountant is:
1) I submit all my information and documentation.
2) we have a quick meeting to review and answer any questions they may have of me.
3) I may or may not be contacted with additional questions.
4) I receive a draft copy of my return.
5) we have a quick meeting to review the return / answer any of my question, and to discuss any strategies or recommendations for next year.
6) done.
Last edited by Traveller on Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Alexa9
Posts: 768
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Alexa9 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:05 pm

To me it would seem awkward for them to do them while you sit there and wait. Like they would have to multi task making conversation while filling things out. Seems like a waste of time and they don't want to waste your time. It's pretty boring stuff honestly. Although if you would prefer to be there while they do them, you should tell them.

User avatar
Clever_Username
Posts: 777
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:24 am
Location: Southern California

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Clever_Username » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:08 pm

I hire an EA. He sends me an electronic organizer. I send him that filled out (takes me maybe 30 minutes), then the documents, and any questions I may have.
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, [i]Layer Cake[/i]

Gnirk
Posts: 729
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:11 am
Location: Western Washington

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Gnirk » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:00 pm

We are snowbirds, so I mail all of our documents to our accountant, along with a note anticipating our buy, sells, EE and iBond maturities that may affect next year’s taxes. This allows him to adjust our quarterlies, as necessary.
CPA mails back our return, we approve it and he files it electronically. If DH didn’t have a Vanguard brokerage account, we could do it a lot sooner. Though we seldom receive a refund.

OnTrack2020
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:24 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by OnTrack2020 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:31 pm

I take all our paperwork in and sit down with our CPA for an hour. She asks me questions; I ask her questions. She runs through the numbers on paper and tells me what we will owe/get owed and also goes over any changes we should making in the future. They have a small staff that enters the numbers. Then in about 2 weeks, I get a call letting us know they are completed and we go into sign and they e-file. We've done it this way for years, and it works well for us.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2715
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by lthenderson » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:43 pm

beth65 wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:50 pm
Has anyone ever had a CPA not complete their taxes while they were there at the appointment?
Were they a CPA or an Independent Accountant like you might find at chain tax places like H&R Block? There is a big difference in skill sets and how they go about doing taxes. In my experience, CPA's do exactly what you described for a new customer. Perhaps in the past you have been using Independent Accountants at chain tax places which set up half hour appointments and do your taxes while you sit there.

Scrapr
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 9:19 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Scrapr » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:59 pm

the CPA likely has a Junior Accountant entering data and asking for more info if needed. If the CPA was doing all of it your return would be much higher cost. That's the way our CPA does it. Head partner reviews it and is familiar as they send it on to you

User avatar
SeeMoe
Posts: 885
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:30 am
Location: Near Philly..

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by SeeMoe » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:00 pm

bostondan wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:54 pm
That seems pretty standard. I’ve never had a CPA do anything while I was there.
Agree. Our CPA calls when it is done, or if there are questions. If we send the taxes via Electronic means we have to stop by the office and sign off. (Usually send by snail mail though.) then she bills us later.

SeeMoe.. :mrgreen:
"By gnawing through a dike, even a Rat can destroy a nation ." {Edmund Burke}

HIinvestor
Posts: 1401
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:50 pm

Our CPAs all have us discuss our documents during our appointment with them and then call us up to pick up the documents and provide any checks and sign anything that needs a signature sometime in April before taxes (or extension) are due. I haven't had any of our preparers do our returns while we are sitting there. They sometimes call us for clarification of anything that needs additional explanations or any missing documents. (Our returns are about 1/2 inch thick including attachments.)

User avatar
StevieG72
Posts: 682
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:00 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by StevieG72 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:59 pm

Fairly standard procedure unless your taxes are so simple that you should not be using a CPA.

Your paperwork should be organized and complete. The CPA will contact you if any additional information is needed.

If I paid a CPA I would not want to sit with them while they did my taxes, however I would like them to review my taxes with me once complete prior to me signing and having them sent to the IRS.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

User avatar
Rainier
Posts: 1279
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:59 am

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Rainier » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:00 pm

It takes us 8 months to do some tax returns.
- Bill

123
Posts: 2835
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by 123 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:04 pm

Perhaps he doesn't want you watching while he uses TurboTax or a similar licensed product. If he could whip it out and be done in 5 to 15 minutes you wouldn't feel he really earned his fee, better for the CPA to keep the "magic" behind a curtain.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

ImaBeginner
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:21 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by ImaBeginner » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:05 pm

I have never met my accountant, after the initial visit 10 years ago. She sends me timely reminders, advice on what to fund at year end, and receives my scanned forms yearly. She fires off 1-2 emails every March with questions and suggestions, and we are good to go. If I have questions I get a well thought out response that is very specific to me.

I would picture her as a very nervous quiet perfectionist with a social disorder had I not met her that once and found quite the opposite to be true.

For me, it would be strange to watch her watching her underling type all my info into TurboTax 😂.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 3645
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Accountant not doing taxes while you are there

Post by Pajamas » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:11 pm

Most professionals of all sorts meet with you and then complete needed tasks while you aren't there. Lawyers, doctors, clergy, accountants, professors, etc.

Maybe he had something more immediate to do or his computer needed to be restarted or he was hungry or your cologne or perfume was giving him a headache or he had another client waiting. Maybe the printer was broken.

Not sure why you would expect that this would affect the amount of his fee. Sometimes there is even an extra charge for services requiring an immediate appointment or fast completion.

Post Reply