5 steps to driving your tax preparer crazy

The agony of doing taxes is just about over for another year. I have only five tax returns left to do, and all the extensions have been filed, so we've got plenty of time. I don't do many tax returns anymore, and I'm thankful. I don't think I have the patience to do a lot of them.

Hopefully your tax preparer has more patience than I do, but you can test the waters with these five simple ways to drive her or him crazy:

1. Open all the envelopes that have your tax documents in them (W-2s, interest statements, dividend statements, mortgage statements, etc) and then stuff the items back into the envelopes for your tax preparer. Torn envelopes are very valuable to a tax preparer, and they wouldn't like it if they didn't get to take everything out of those envelopes and throw the envelopes away.
2. Call your tax preparer at the last minute and demand to get an appointment right away. Surely you (and everyone else) has a perfectly reasonable excuse why you couldn't come in earlier, and your tax preparer has been reserving some last-minute time just for your tax return.

3. Bring all your stuff to the office in a shoebox or a really big envelope, preferably overstuffed and disorganized. Don't sort any of the items. It's better if they're mixed up really well, as it adds some variety to the normally boring task of tax preparation.

4. Leave out some items that will be key to your tax return. After you meet with your tax preparer and make a list of the items you've left out, be sure to lose this list and contact the tax preparer to find out what was on it. When you're gathering the items from the list, email or fax them one by one, on various days. Don't even think of gathering them all and sending them at once... that's too boring.

5. Call and email your tax preparer regularly while they're trying to prepare your tax return, "just to see if it's done yet." I'm sure your tax preparer has no plan to contact you when he or she is done, so your repeated phone calls and emails are necessary to make sure that you know the minute your tax return is ready. The tax preparer also welcomes this interruption. If you really want to spice things up, leave a lengthy voicemail that is completely irrelevant.

See, every tax preparer needs a little spice to their life. You can add just a dash of excitement to their tax season!

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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