October 23, 2018

An Open Letter to Anyone Thinking of Asking the Accountant in Their Life for Help on a Tax Return

accountant tax return

Dear friend,

There’s an accountant in your life. He or she may be a relative, acquaintance, or someone who foolishly answered your terrible icebreaker “So, what do you do for a living?” honestly.

It dawned on you that tax season will soon be upon us. You have probably received documentation informing you that a precise amount of income has been reported to the IRS. You may be remembering, just now actually, that you haven’t filed a tax return in three years. No, four. No, no, no. Five years. Yes, that’s it. You meant well; things just get overlooked; you were busy.

You have a duty to file a tax return, perhaps several, as it happens, and you could really use some help. You may be thinking, “Maybe this accountant would be willing to guide me on this important and perilous journey. They’re an accountant, a CPA as I recall, don’t they have a duty to help taxpayers in need? I am a taxpayer in need. They would probably love to help me.”

I’m sorry to have to break this to you, friend, but this accountant does not want to help you prepare your tax return. For starters, he or she may not even prepare tax returns. I know this runs contrary to your feeble understanding of what an accountant is or does, but it’s true, some accountants do not prepare tax returns. Not even their own! Yes, it’s true.

In fact, most accountants would rather do a number of other terrible things other than your tax return, including:

  1. Give up coffee.
  2. Spend all of busy season using a dial-up Internet connection
  3. Quit using Excel
  4. Quit using acronyms
  5. Fill out their timesheet
  6. Fill out their co-worker’s timesheet
  7. Eat one hour for every hour worked
  8. Sit for the CPA exam again
  9. Work at H&R Block
  10. Work at KPMG

You are not an accountant, and therefore may not understand why some of these tasks or sacrifices are so awful, but I assure you, any accountant worth their salt understands. I invite you to share this list with your accountant friend or perfect stranger and see how they react. I think you’ll find that he or she will agree that everything on this list is preferable to dealing with your stupid-ass tax return.

“Now, wait,” you might be saying, “I know a great guy who DOES prepare tax returns and he’s helped me out in the past.” Let me break something to you: He hates you, pal. You’re wasting his time. Do him and everyone else a favor and take your shoebox full of receipts to the Statue of Liberty doing acrobats down the street.

So, to all of you thinking about approaching that accountant. Don’t. Leave that accountant alone. They’re busy. They’re tired. But Godspeed on your quest to find someone to deal with your tax return. Truly.

Actually, no. Hopefully, the IRS kicks down your door and drags you off in the middle of the night.

Sincerely,

A guy who knows that most accountants are too nice to say anything

Image: iStock/Malkovstock

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