I just do taxes and bookkeeping/payroll. I deliberately don't do investments and insurance as many preparers do because I don't have the time to keep current in those areas the way I would want. But that does not stop clients for asking how they should invest or wanting me to explain an annuity. And there are always the questions about Social Security benefits, I.N.S. rules and labor laws. May be some people think, that if it has to do with the government, then the person who knows taxes will know about it. Sometimes I can help them if there is overlap with taxes or I can direct them to the correct web site.
But lately, I have been getting an even wider range of questions. In
the last hour, I have been asked to explain a child support
determination worksheet (she couldn't get a hold of her attorney). Then I
get questions about getting the forms needed to decommission an oil
well/tank. I couldn't do either. They are not my fields of expertise.
Why ask me? Sometimes for the client it is a logical step. I handle Social Security on their taxes so I should know how SS payback works. And I think the idea that if I know how one part of the government works then I will know how another part will work. But I think a good part of it is laziness on the part of the questioner. I am easier to find. I will try to get them some kind of information. If I can't help them at all, then all they have wasted is a few minutes of time.
But for me the problem is the not being asked questions out of my field but that non-tax experts are being asked to give info on taxes. Just as I don't know what are good investments, few brokers understand all the nuances of how a IRA distribution can effect a client's return. No one wants to say they don't know the answer and possibly lose business.So they give a general answer and at tax time I clean up the nuances. I don't really blame the other experts but the clients(mine included) who can't understand that knowledge in one area does not make you an expert in another. It just takes a minute to find the proper person to ask your questions.