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Hey there I've been working with one CPA for couple months now and my paperwork is still not finished. I paid them $250 by credit card. I'm wondering what should I do. At this point I would go to a brand new CPA and demand return of $250 from the current one. Here is how it goes over emails:

Feb 1 (me): Hi CPA, I would like to schedule tax filling appointment with you. During 2016 I worked for 1 employer, however I got 2 months paternity leave, and that was covered by another company. I also need ITIN numbers for my kids. I have all W2 forms already. Also, I do have bank accounts in *EUROPE*. Do I need to report them again, even if I did that last year? Are you available any Tuesday or Friday?

Feb 6 (CPA): Hello! I have been slammed, my apologies on the delay.  Yes, we still need to report the accounts if they had $10k or more on any given day.  We can start the process of filling out the paperwork for the children. I know some rules have changed, so I will look it up! Thank you, CPA

Feb 6 (me): CPA, I called your office and scheduled an appointment at Friday Feb 10th, 2PM. I tried to do ITIN for my kids earlier, as we discussed over email, but govt representative over the phone said I couldn't do that without tax return. So we will have to do that. Should I bring any additional documents? Passports of my kids maybe?

Feb 9 (me): CPA, I will bring all tax documents + passports of my kids. Is that all I need? Let me know if I should bring something else.

Feb 9 (CPA): Please see the form w7 for any additional docs to bring in.  See you tomorrow!

Feb 10: <we have face to face meeting, we go over 2016 tax return; I got instruction on how to do ITIN numbers. Also, employee SPP/RSU program run by UBS was not done - she said she couldn't do it based on 7 statements I printed, she wanted 1099 form>

Feb 13 (me): CPA, I just got 1099 from UBS, attached. I've scheduled ITIN meeting with IRS at <address> at Feb 28th.

Feb 15 (me): Hi CPA, do you think we should address that 1099 (UBS, employee stocks) before I go to do ITINs, or after?

Feb 16 (CPA): Yes, I will get this fixed and reprinted in the next day

Feb 20 (CPA): Hi there, I just added the sales from employer...do you have your basis for some of those, it shows a gain of $4k, which would reduce your refund to $242.  Let me know so I can print for you!

Feb 20 (me): What do you mean by basis? I can fetch any documents from UBS website if needed. 

Feb 20 (CPA): Basis is what you bought the stock at before you sold it, so if you bought at $1,000 and you sold for $1000, no tax consequence.  Otherwise it is a loss or a gain and gains have taxes.

Feb 21 (me): CPA, I downloaded statements from UBS. Searched over them for keyword 'basis' and they all have table with column 'Cost basis ($)'. I don't know which one of them you are looking for. (attached 7 statemens)

Mar 1 (me): CPA, I did the meeting at IRS (<address> ). They took my paperwork. Do you want me to email you confirmation? What would you advise I do about the 'basis' in UBS account?

Mar 1 (me): Yes, we will just amend it when you get the TINS.  You will owe some money on the sales. 

Apr 11 (me): CPA, I have ITIN numbers for my kids. We also need to fix the UBS and the basis problem. What do you advise? (attached ITINs)

Apr 13 (me): Hey CPA, did you have a chance to look into it?

Apr 16 (CPA): Hey there, I will try and get completed today/tomorrow!

Apr 16 (me): Awesome, let me know how it went. I have attached docs, they all contain a table with 'basis'. Unfortunately I don't know which one is the one you are looking for. Just do 'ctrl + f' and type 'basis' to find it. (attached 7 UBS statements again)

May 2 (me): CPA, shall we finish this up? I have gotten a check from IRS, attached. (attached check from IRS with return of ~$1500) 

May 5 (CPA): Hello, Yes, I will work on finalizing it this next week!  Thank you!

May 18 (me): Hey CPA, I need to finish up the tax statement. Can we get down to it? Do you need any other paperwork from me other than already sent?

May 23 (me): Hey CPA, it's been long time doing this tax return with you. Are you going to finish it up?

May 24 (CPA): My apologies on the delay. I will finish this up for you by tomorrow, I have been in an audit!

Jun 6 (me): Hey CPA, have you been able to get any further with tax return?

So far no answer. Phone calls don't work, as she doesn't answer them, always busy I guess. Am I freaking out, or it's normal that my 2016 tax return is not finished yet?

Member Summary
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I don't care. I didn't ask for discounts. I came to the office and wanted my tax return done completely, on time and wit... (more)

chrisdotdot (Jun. 24, 2017 @ 11:45p) |

What a sucker

bppcomplete (Jun. 25, 2017 @ 3:43a) |

To clarify my last posting: there's not a "do everything for me" experience available at your income level. When you wal... (more)

bppcomplete (Jun. 25, 2017 @ 3:45a) |

Error in thread title:  per subsequent OP post, tax preparer is not a CPA.  https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/1571975?showmessage=198...
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rated:
No it is not normal for a CPA to be this late with your 2016 taxes. You realize you are late right? Or was an extension filed?

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jerosen said:   No it is not normal for a CPA to be this late with your 2016 taxes. You realize you are late right? Or was an extension filed?
  She said she was planning on amending the tax return. Just to clarify, I left all my paperwork at IRS office on Feb 28th while asking for ITIN numbers. So IRS has my return, I even got a check. However, the return is not finished as all my operations on stock account (UBS) were not part of it. 

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Seems like your cpa undercharged given your situation and is putting you at the back of the bus for that reason.

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chrisdotdot said:   jerosen said:   No it is not normal for a CPA to be this late with your 2016 taxes. You realize you are late right? Or was an extension filed?
  She said she was planning on amending the tax return. Just to clarify, I left all my paperwork at IRS office on Feb 28th while asking for ITIN numbers. So IRS has my return, I even got a check. However, the return is not finished as all my operations on stock account (UBS) were not part of it. 



So your return was filed but the stock sales at UBS were not included? Why not?

She should not be taking this long.

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jerosen said:   So your return was filed but the stock sales at UBS were not included? Why not?

She should not be taking this long.

  That happened on Feb 10. She said statements I printed from UBS website were not enough for her to include UBS data. She wanted 1099. 1099 came few days later, but I already had paperwork from her and she never updated it before I went to IRS on Feb 28th. 

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Your provider is terrible, but, your provider is severely undercharging you. Why did you give in your return to the IRS a month and a half early when you knew it was inaccurate/incomplete?

Also, if you do have foreign bank accounts in excess of $10k, make sure you file your FBARs as the penalties are egregious for not doing so.

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Rajjeq said:   Your provider is terrible, but, your provider is severely undercharging you. Why did you give in your return to the IRS a month and a half early when you knew it was inaccurate/incomplete?
  I was 3 weeks out of country April 25th - June 18th, anticipating international travel I started whole tax return thing early. My main purpose was to do ITIN numbers, as kids have to be present in person to do that and we do travel internationally every now and then. Also, she said it was all cool to leave UBS out of it for now. 

FBARs got filed. 

Regarding undercharging - I don't know whether she was planning on charging me again for amending the tax return. 

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chrisdotdot said:   
Rajjeq said:   Your provider is terrible, but, your provider is severely undercharging you. Why did you give in your return to the IRS a month and a half early when you knew it was inaccurate/incomplete?
  I was 3 weeks out of country April 25th - June 18th, anticipating international travel I started whole tax return thing early. My main purpose was to do ITIN numbers, as kids have to be present in person to do that and we do travel internationally every now and then. Also, she said it was all cool to leave UBS out of it for now. 

FBARs got filed. 

  Your CPA signed a tax return that she knew didn't list all of your income? Hmm, is she actually a CPA or are you using that designation as a generic for return preparer? Is your summary the exact words from the CPA? Most wouldn't write that way.

Apart from that I agree you're not paying near what you should for this. How'd you find this person? When did you pay the $250?

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Has your CPA asked you to 'loan' $250,000 for a Skilled Nursing Facility yet?

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marginoferror said:   
 
  Your CPA signed a tax return that she knew didn't list all of your income? Hmm, is she actually a CPA or are you using that designation as a generic for return preparer? Is your summary the exact words from the CPA? Most wouldn't write that way.

Apart from that I agree you're not paying near what you should for this. How'd you find this person? When did you pay the $250?

    You got me curious. They are regular company with nice office in one of the skyscrapers in California, 4.5/5 starts on Yelp, 40+ reviews. My friend from work recommended her, never had any trouble before. I did my tax return with her last year as well and all was good. I checked her linked in and it says 'Enrolled Agent' and 'California Tax Preparer' in certifications section, so it's not CPA then. I paid $250 on Feb 10 right after face to face meeting that lasted around 40min. For me it feels like I paid $250 as 1 hour charge. Timewise, she could have finished the UBS numbers on that face to face meeting had she not wanted 1099.

1st post is whole email thread between me and her, I just cut names and other sensitive information.

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SPP / RSU can get a bit complex so its quite feasible that she really did need more than the 1099's. If your friend at work uses her then she should be aware of how the stock plan details work and know how to do it. Seems on Feb 20 she said she did add the stock sales, ie. that would be included in the 2016 forms you filed. However she said you showed a gain and she wanted the specifics from the 1099 to get the basis right.

Was your refund check for the amount ~$242 ?

She may have filed it knowing the basis wasn't right (not in your favor) expecting to amend it later when you got her the right basis info. Thats not really a rush job. But she should be going faster than 2 months.. OTOH if you got her the right info up front you'd have been done in Feb. Not blaming you here, its complex, but its not all just her negligence or anything.

If your forms aren't more complex than a W2 and stock sales then 250 isn't necessarily under priced , IMO. Mine are 3-4 times as complex and I pay double that.

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jerosen said:   OTOH if you got her the right info up front you'd have been done in Feb. Not blaming you here, its complex, but its not all just her negligence or anything.
  That's the thing, I didn't have UBS 1099 on Feb 10 when meeting face to face. In 2016 I got 1099 very late in May or June. This year, anticipating travel and the necessity of ITINs I really wanted to start early.

The refund check I got was around $1500. 

Anyway, what do I do? I'm relatively new to American culture and resolving disputes like that. 

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OP, sounds like a combination of things.  Perhaps your tax preparer has messed up, but in your initial post you state - 
"Mar 1 (me): CPA, I did the meeting at IRS (<address> ). They took my paperwork. Do you want me to email you confirmation? What would you advise I do about the 'basis' in UBS account?"

Am I misunderstanding, or does this mean you filed your return and/or other paperwork in-person with the IRS without first making a copy for yourself?  Never, never do that!

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jerosen said:   
If your forms aren't more complex than a W2 and stock sales then 250 isn't necessarily under priced , IMO. Mine are 3-4 times as complex and I pay double that.

  My forms consist of:
- W2 from 1 employer + W2 from another company that paid me paternity leave
- UBS stocks
- ITIN numbers

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fw9999 said:   
Am I misunderstanding, or does this mean you filed your return and/or other paperwork in-person with the IRS without first making a copy for yourself?  Never, never do that!

  I think I got 2 copies from "CPA" and 1 got filed, another got stamped and returned to me. I will double-check my TAX drawer at home. 

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chrisdotdot said:   
jerosen said:   OTOH if you got her the right info up front you'd have been done in Feb. Not blaming you here, its complex, but its not all just her negligence or anything.
  That's the thing, I didn't have UBS 1099 on Feb 10 when meeting face to face. In 2016 I got 1099 very late in May or June. This year, anticipating travel and the necessity of ITINs I really wanted to start early.

The refund check I got was around $1500. 

Anyway, what do I do? I'm relatively new to American culture and resolving disputes like that. 

  

1099's should be available before April.    You can usualy download direct from UBS website by at least Feb and they send a copy in the mail at some point too.   If you didn't get them from UBS until May or June then somethings wrong there but thats UBS f'up, not your CPAs or yours.   Unless something unusual is going on.   

I'm guessing your tax preparer put in best figures she had for the basis but needs to revise it with the exact figures from UBS.


What to do at this point?   That depends I think.    

How much is filing that amended return going to matter?   Do you know?     


AT this point it seems your choices are :
1. keep nagging the preparer until she does it.  Maybe complain to her supervisor/management if she keeps ignoring you.
2. fire her and go pay someone else to file an amended return at your expense.   

In my opinion you don't have a good argument to demand a refund of your $250 since she actually already filed your return and you got what you paid for actually.    The need for an amended return really wasn't her fault it doesn't seem.

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I'm not looking for any adventures here, I'm fine trying to make it work with her. Will keep on sending emails and then will try manager/supervisor approach. Thanks for your insights, very appreciated!

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For your future reference, it is both easier and less potentially troublesome to file an extension than to deliberately file an incorrect return and then amend it.

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Rajjeq said:   For your future reference, it is both easier and less potentially troublesome to file an extension than to deliberately file an incorrect return and then amend it.
  +1
Of course, as part of filing for extension, make a good faith estimate of tax owed and make the payment on time.

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I don't know tax rules very well, that's why I work with professionals. I'm not sure whether I would have been able to file for an extension AND have my kids on the return at the same time. Remember, my kids didn't have ITIN number at the beginning of this year. I'm not US citizen, I'm here on visa, yet I maintain a status of US resident for tax purposes. 

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Considering the relative simplicity of your tax return and the amount of time you've already spent on it, you could have probably just purchased some tax software and done it correctly yourself.

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scripta said:   Considering the relative simplicity of your tax return and the amount of time you've already spent on it, you could have probably just purchased some tax software and done it correctly yourself.
  
I second this. If you want somebody else to do the taxes for you, you have to get organized and have all your paperwork ready. And once you have that, the tax software these days makes it relatively easy to do the taxes. Having long cycle conversations with a 3rd party would just kill me.

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I've worked in a CPA's office in the past, and the rule was if a client said they had additional information not on hand, you were to stop work on the return until the information was received. It didn't matter whether they needed it the next day to fill out a FAFSA, bring to an audit, or avoid deportation; when a preparer signs a return they are verifying that all information contained therein is accurate to the best of their knowledge. If they know that there's another 1099 floating around and do not put the information on the return, they're committing perjury. Based on the fact that she knowingly signed her name to an inaccurate return, I'd drop her ASAP.

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What was her total fee last year for filing your tax return?

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fwuser12 said:   
Rajjeq said:   For your future reference, it is both easier and less potentially troublesome to file an extension than to deliberately file an incorrect return and then amend it.
  +1
Of course, as part of filing for extension, make a good faith estimate of tax owed and make the payment on time.

  The extension is still valid if you have good faith, bad faith or no faith at all.  You will just owe late payment penalty and interest, based on the tax that wasn't paid by the original due date.

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Regarding the whole ITIN thing -- The easiest way to obtain ITINs for the kids is to file the return WITHOUT THE ITINS, along with a W-7 and certified copy of foreign passport for each kid.  The IRS will process the return, and mail you ITINs to be used on SUBSEQUENT years' returns.

Curious as to whether your return preparer advised you to go in person to the IRS office, or was that something you did on your own initiative?

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I would agree completely, undercharge, this is more like 800+ range.  I'm based in NYC so even though I'm close to what you have+ a few other issues you were undercharged 

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Does this method work for adults

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RagingBull said:   What was her total fee last year for filing your tax return?
  $250

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babalooie21204 said:   I would agree completely, undercharge, this is more like 800+ range.  I'm based in NYC so even though I'm close to what you have+ a few other issues you were undercharged 
  I don't care. I didn't ask for discounts. I came to the office and wanted my tax return done completely, on time and with no hassle. She could have charged me more. I did not hide anything, I explained my situation best to my knowledge. I just wanted 'do everything for me' experience and was willing to pay for it.

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chrisdotdot said:   
babalooie21204 said:   I would agree completely, undercharge, this is more like 800+ range.  I'm based in NYC so even though I'm close to what you have+ a few other issues you were undercharged 
  I don't care. I didn't ask for discounts. I came to the office and wanted my tax return done completely, on time and with no hassle. She could have charged me more. I did not hide anything, I explained my situation best to my knowledge. I just wanted 'do everything for me' experience and was willing to pay for it.

 What a sucker

rated:
chrisdotdot said:   
babalooie21204 said:   I would agree completely, undercharge, this is more like 800+ range.  I'm based in NYC so even though I'm close to what you have+ a few other issues you were undercharged 
  I don't care. I didn't ask for discounts. I came to the office and wanted my tax return done completely, on time and with no hassle. She could have charged me more. I did not hide anything, I explained my situation best to my knowledge. I just wanted 'do everything for me' experience and was willing to pay for it.

  
To clarify my last posting: there's not a "do everything for me" experience available at your income level. When you walk into a retail store and literally tell them "I have no idea what I want to buy, but I'm willing to pay any amount", do you really not expect to be scammed?

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