Reflections from Another Tax Season

by Gregory Debski, CPA, Esq., LLM-Tax, editor-in-chief, | April 4, 2019

As CPAs and accounting professionals, we hear it all during tax time. Let’s face it. For some clients you must gently warn of the potential downsides of aggressive tax positions; for others, you must read them the federal sentencing guidelines. During tax season, the public accounting analog to “will you love me in the morning?” is “will you still employ me after April 15?”

As another tax busy season slogs to a close, CPAs have lots of interesting memories to share. Here are mine. See if they ring true for you: 

  • Client: “Why must I give you the same forms that I gave to you last year? Can’t you just use those?”
  • My wife on March 20: “I booked our vacation for April 1-7; we got a great rate!”
  • A client on March 25: “I want to thank you for the great job on my taxes. How about dinner the first week of April?”
  • Client: “Why must I pay? I don’t like what the government does with my money!”
  • Client: “I realize you’re 5 days from a final deadline but I really wanna talk about tax planning for next year. Would you call me in the next hour?”
  • Client: “In response to your request for my wage statements, I enclose all of my charitable contributions. I trust you now have everything and can complete my return.”
  • Client: “Hi. I dropped my taxes off this morning and was wondering if I could pick up my returns now.”
  • To client: “We need your brokerage statements to complete your return.” (client): “Okay. What do you need to complete my return?”
  • Client email: I still have to get you the remainder of my tax papers. :) And the deadline is only 2 weeks away. :)  I’ll be on vacation next week in the Bahamas. I’ll get you everything when I get back. Boy, I bet you could use a vacation!
  • Client: “I only gave 4 of the 24 pages of my brokerage statement to you as I did not want to overwhelm you. I also figured that this would keep the bill for your services down. You’re welcome.”
  • Client: “Is a deposit on my grave tax-deductible?”  Yes, in the after-life.
  • Client: “I tagged and identified what each self-explanatory document is (1099, w-2, etc.) just in case you couldn’t understand them. But I threw my receipts in an envelope and assume you can figure them out.”
  • Client: “I got your voicemail about brokerage statements and to answer your question, I included the food store flier as I took advantage of their 10% Off Sale and wasn’t sure if that had tax implications.
  • Client: “This is unbelievable. You mean I owe $200,000 of taxes on 1 million dollars of income??!!?? I can’t comprehend this misfortune!!! WHY??!!??”
  • For a deceased client’s final return, what address do you use? Heaven? Hell? How about their occupation? Corpse?
  • Client: “I know you might be busy as it’s April 10 but I got the 17th and final notice before levy for me to file a franchise tax return for 2 years ago. I didn’t give you the prior 16 notices as I assumed this would all blow over. They gave us 10 days from receipt to file which means it must be submitted tomorrow.”
  • Client: “I don’t mind [sort of] paying you for your services but my refund was only $300; isn’t your fee of $200 a bit much compared to my refund?”
  • The client from March 25 above: “I haven’t heard from you. May I presume Friday night, April 1?”
  • Client: “My taxes this year should be easy as there’s not much to report: most of my income was paid in cash.”
  • Client: “It’s so stressful trying to get my papers to you. How do you do it?”

A complete version of this missive can be found at

Gregory J. Debski

Gregory J. Debski

Greg Debski, CPA, Esq., LLM-Tax (nom de plume "I.M. Windee") is the editor-in-chief and primary contributor to as well as a CPA and tax attorney in New Jersey.

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