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Can I fire my tax guy?

April 4th, 2011 at 02:30 pm

I sent him everything Feb. 15. Since then, nothing unless I initiate contact. Every time I contact him, he's almost done and just about to send me everything.

I don't want to stiff him for the work he's already done, but at this point I feel like maybe I should just take care of it myself this year; ignore NT's UK income until next year, and find someone else to do it. But I don't know if or how to get out of this.

Only one other year did I leave my taxes until April. Even if I don't send them in right away, I like to know what I owe or get back.

I emailed him this morning to see when I could hear from him, or even if he could give me a rough estimate of what I owe him and the government. So far, nothing.

I guess I'll call him tomorrow first thing, and ask if I can terminate our relationship if he doesn't have them to me by close of business day. Is that too harsh?

11 Responses to “Can I fire my tax guy?”

  1. A Says:

    Honey, the answer is yes, a thousand times yes! If a waiter had treated us this way at a restaurant we would've walked out ages ago. I would be happy (thrilled, in fact) to fire him myself if you want.

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    Yes, you certainly can.

    Yes, he is swamped right now. But a simple "Hey CJ, your return will be done by Date X" is not too much to ask.

    If you had sent your info in last week, I would say you were being unreasonable. But you sent it in Feb 15th. He's had plenty of time to get your returns prepared, or get back to you if there is something missing or some sort of problem.

    If today were March 16th, I'd say give him a chance, he has only now finished his corporate returns. But we're 3 weeks past that.

    He may be a great preparer who simply has more clients than he can handle. That's no reason for you to accept poor service.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Personally, I think that is pretty harsh. Just as being someone in the industry and being on the other side. Adding the fact that foreign taxes add a HUGE level of complexity. So, to me it's: Do you want them done fast or do you want them done right? My contract with my clients is to get them done April 15th. I've never had anyone call me April 4th and tell me they were going to fire me if I couldn't get them done that day. I'd probably think, "Geez, good riddance." Just because it would feel so out of the blue. What the heck?

    I guess I believe in communication!

    As a tip - I would call and express my concerns. The squeaky wheel ALWAYS gets the grease. Start calling and asking about it every day - it will be done in no time. Either that or you should get a better explanation about what is taking so long. Express your concerns, but getting them done at the end of the business day is probably impossible.

    It's April 4th - he may literally not have a break to respond until the evening. I'd give him a little more time.

    Not saying you should stick with him if you are unhappy, but I do think you need to speak up more about your concerns, reasonably.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I am answering knowing a little about your tax situation and how complex it probably is.

    If you had a W-2 and that was it, that would be another story. Then I'd probably say fire the dude - plenty of fish in the sea! In your case? Not so many fish?

  5. creditcardfree Says:

    Yes you can fire him, but I tend to agree with Monkey Mama on this. Tax professionals work VERY long hours this time of year. I think a short deadline is unreasonable, particularly with your type of return.

    I don't think he's your guy for next year, unless you make an agreement with him at the beginning of tax season with what your expectations are for your return.

    I do hope he returns your phone call as a simple courtesy, but he's got to be very busy!

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Thanks guys. I will have another talk with him tomorrow and decide what to do.

    MM, I know it sounds harsh. I kind of doubt I could do it like that. But let me explain a bit more. It's not that he gave me the expectation they would be done April 15.

    I put them in the mail Feb. 15. On March 4, I realized I'd left one donation off the list, so I emailed him with that info and said "I hope my packet is making sense; let me know if you have any questions." No reply, so I assumed he didn't have any questions.

    I emailed him on March 19 just to see if there had been any progress, and he wrote back in 2 hours:
    "I have them back from processing and need to review them hope to have that done this weekend. I will call you when they are completed." Never heard anything that weekend, or the next. So I called him on April 1.

    He sounded kind of guilty and apologized even though I was being nice. I said "it's fine, just wanted to make sure my taxes didn't get lost in the shuffle or anything." He had like 5 questions that took 3 phone calls to remember to ask me. If they had gone through processing, when was he going to ask me these questions so he could actually do my real taxes? And they were info-gathering questions; I really lucked out that I was able to find the information quickly. It could've been much more time-consuming.

    At the end of the last conversation he definitely gave the impression that he was putting the finishing touches on them. He also expressed understanding (before I even mentioned it) that he was going to have to mail them to me; his office is too far away for me to reasonably go pick them up. He also said several times that it was very unusual for it to take him this long. So I was really expecting to at least get an update today.

    When I emailed him this morning, I only asked for a timeline and a rough estimate of what he was going to charge me and/or what I might owe the government. No response so far.

    So, several times, he raised my expectations that it was going to be done before April 15. If he'd laid that out: "Look, it may take me until April 15," at any time during this process, I would be WAY more understanding. But he has led me to believe that I'd have plenty of time to review his work, so I'm slightly freaking out. If I can't trust him to give me an accurate forecast and communicate regularly, it makes me question what else I might not be able to trust.

  7. ceejay74 Says:

    Update: He left a message while I was cooking to say they were done and he's putting them in the mail to me. Whew! So as long as I get them within the next few days, I won't have to contemplate this uncomfortable scenario anymore.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    I hope you see them soon, too. Based on your further explanation, I can see why you are annoyed and frustrated with him.

  9. My English Castle Says:

    Glad they're done! I hate waiting.

  10. baselle Says:

    Not yet whew. Whew when you see them and they look reasonable. That non-communication was a little weird though. I had odd schedules and an IRA conversion, so I had them done by an EA. The guy called me after a couple of days with questions. Nothing terrible, but you got the feeling he was on it.

  11. patientsaver Says:

    I think you are being extremely reasonable. I mean, you gave him your paperwork mid-February and 2 months later, you're still waiting??

    Obviously, he took on more work than he could handle. I don't think that's being fair to you, his customer.

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