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September 20, 2007


Robert D Flach

Once again, Trish, I “feel your pain”.

First, I hate GD extensions. When the tax filing season ends on April 15th (or 16th or 17th) I want it to be truly over. After 2½ months of doing nothing but 1040s (and 1040As) for 12 or more hours a day, 7 days a week I do not want to look at another 1040 for a very long time.

I have mixed feelings about the automatic 6-month extension. While I like the fact that I do not have to deal with two additional deadlines, and file for a second extension, which had to be approved by the IRS (although most were), if necessary – less work for me – I do agree that it increases the potential for increased client procrastination.

If there is a legitimate reason for filing an extension, such as medical complications, a family emergency, a death in the family, or missing information (such as the perennial late Form K-1) that is one thing, and I can sympathize and cooperate with the client. However if it is just procrastination - and the client simply waits until the last minute to get their “stuff” together – than tough toenails! I am not going to drop everything and rush through a return received during the first week of October to get it done and back to the client in time for an October 15th filing. If it gets done, it gets done. If not, too bad.

The same applies for clients who got their stuff to me earlier in the year, but from whom I needed additional information and I have notified them via email or postal mail in detail just what I need. If these clients get the missing information to me promptly I will respond in kind by finishing the return promptly. But if they “drag their feet” and wait till the last minute it is not my problem. I am not going to chase them down to get the information. They know what I need – and if they do not get it to me in a reasonable enough time it is just too bad.

I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on planning your year. I give up February 1 through April 15 completely to 1040 preparation, and, as you say, “the rest of the year is mine”! You owe nothing to the procrastinating client.

If a client gets a stiffer penalty from the IRS (5% per month of the balance due vs .5% - ½ of 1%) or the state because their return was filed after the October 15th deadline due to their laziness than maybe they will wake up and be sure to get their “stuff” to you on time next year!



Here here, sister. Then there are the clients who are great and on time with their information but you have to wait for one stinkin' K-1 for a guy who says, "I will do it in August. I don't understand why everyone is in such a hurry to pay Uncle Sam."

To which I replied, "These people are getting a refund, you lazy hack." I may only have said that last part in my mind, I'm not sure. Oh, and "August" turned out to be September 17th. I guess I am supposed to be happy it was not October 15th. Sheesh.

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