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Old 02-23-2016, 10:08 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Buckeye View Post
Yes, I'm sure that's what the accountant will claim. If he can pull the annual questionaire out of his files as proof, then case closed. If there is no proof the question was asked, let the judge decide!



Why would E&O insurance exist if the client is always 100% responsible after signing the return?

Two separate issues. Insurance protects the preparer. Your covenant with IRS is another thing.

This us why younger folks should start doing their taxes. Why get involved with paying for it, when you are responsible and must sign?
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:19 AM   #22
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We have never received an annual questionnaire (is that out of the norm? this is the only tax guy I've used. Appointments can be made with him, but never thought it was needed. It's just been the process of giving his front desk all of my paperwork and including a sticky note of anything I want to inform him of. Then he calls if there is a question. Court case would probably just be a he said he said, but he does not have proof he ever asked. I don't think I am looking at a whole bunch of money in fees. With a 3 mo old, it's tough to find time to do anything. I'm sure the wife would rather just pay it up and be done with it. I know I will be making an appmt every year with whoever I use from now on.
Your situation is exactly why a structured questionaire is reguired. I'm sure the tax program he uses to input your information and e-file your return asks him whether you have contributed to Traditional or Roth IRA's.

Every tax program on the market sends you through a structured interview so nothing gets missed. Buy one of the tax programs (I love TaxAct but many others like TurboTax) and walk through the process/interview even if you don't use it to submit your taxes. It's quite simple unless you have a business or rental properties. Even then, the software will take you through the forms.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:26 AM   #23
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Two separate issues. Insurance protects the preparer. Your covenant with IRS is another thing.

This us why younger folks should start doing their taxes. Why get involved with paying for it, when you are responsible and must sign?
Yes, I agree the taxpayer has to pay whatever is owed the IRS no matter who is at fault. After everything is paid, I would look to recover any penalties and interest I incurred due to the preparer's sloppy work.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:28 AM   #24
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...
Every tax program on the market sends you through a structured interview so nothing gets missed. Buy one of the tax programs (I love TaxAct but many others like TurboTax) and walk through the process/interview even if you don't use it to submit your taxes. It's quite simple unless you have a business or rental properties. Even then, the software will take you through the forms.
Putting myself at risk of being characterized as an old codger, I would go so far as to recommend doing an educational run of one year's return with a pencil and paper (maybe before turning to a program for filing for that year). If you don't have a good working knowledge of the Code and Regs pertinent to your situation, the software packages are a bit of a black box--and I'm guessing particularly so if you do the so-called "interview" mode.

I recently had a similar conversation with late-20s Son and his S.O., both talented at math even for S.V. engineers. They did not understand standard deductions and how that played with itemized deductions; always just did the software. (Now, they are investigating implications of MFJ for two high CA incomes--fun times!)

OK, you can play on my lawn now.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:49 AM   #25
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Our taxes are done by an accountant down the street. He never asked if we made IRA contributions, and we didn't know we needed to tell him. If he had asked, we could have caught this a long time ago and vice versa. He hasn't been any help on trying to get this fixed.


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Your current tax accountant needs to pay up. I'm sure he carries Errors and Omissions insurance but the only way to access the insurance is to sue him. Small claims court? Hopefully, you are under the amount that's allowed by small claims!
The OP wouldn't have to sue for all years if it was over the small claims amount in his location. Just an idea.

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Tax preparer will say the question was asked. When you reviewed the tax forms and signed, it is your responsibility now.
The accountant is supposed to be the expert, so I'm not sure that a case would be thrown-out because the OP signed-off on the end product.

If you were a hands-off tax couple and did the "shoe box" thing, where you dump a shoe box full of forms off at the tax preparation office, then most likely you included the 5498 form from yours and your wife's custodian. If you have any proof at all that you did that, then you stand a good chance to win in your small claim.

Do you have any records of what information/paperwork you supplied to the accountant for the problem tax years?
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:52 AM   #26
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The structured interview is not enough. There should be a checklist of the questions and items you need. I see this online for turbotax, as a pdf download.
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Old 02-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #27
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Putting myself at risk of being characterized as an old codger, I would go so far as to recommend doing an educational run of one year's return with a pencil and paper (maybe before turning to a program for filing for that year). If you don't have a good working knowledge of the Code and Regs pertinent to your situation, the software packages are a bit of a black box--and I'm guessing particularly so if you do the so-called "interview" mode.

I recently had a similar conversation with late-20s Son and his S.O., both talented at math even for S.V. engineers. They did not understand standard deductions and how that played with itemized deductions; always just did the software. (Now, they are investigating implications of MFJ for two high CA incomes--fun times!)

OK, you can play on my lawn now.
Yes, definitely the best option but I'm afraid we would lose OP if we asked him to do this!

Another option is to do the return via interview and have it as a cheat sheet while attempting pencil and paper with a blank printed form. He could go to the IRS website and have the line by line instructions (Pub 17) open on his computer screen. If he got stuck, he could go to the finished form and see what the 'correct' answer was and hopefully back into how it got onto the line.

Also, OP might already have his 2015 form done by his preparer and he could compare that to what he generates via the software/interview.
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