Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I am NOT Happy With Our Accountant

We got a call last week saying our taxes were ready and we would be getting a refund from the federal government...YEAH!!

However, included with all of our tax stuff was a bill! And we were not expecting that.

Several years ago when Ted's dad was very ill, Ted's brother Tim contacted an accountant to take care of the farm books. No problem. It had to be done and we all knew that. None of us were "informed" enough to be able to take care of that kind of stuff in addition to taking care of what we each had going on in our lives, and spending time at the hospital with my father-in-law.

After Ted's dad passed away, our attorney strongly suggested that we keep the accountant for a while, as the estate was going to be pretty complicated. Okay, that was a great idea. So we kept him.

The estate took a couple of years to settle, and we decided to sell some land. Due to appraisals of this, that, and everything else, our accountant became very knowledgeable with our case. We also have a realtor involved due to the selling of the land. About 2/3 of the land has been sold off so far, but due to the complexities of the situation we were advised to retain our accountant.

Since there was so much involved in this whole situation, there were several "things" that would be covered by the fees charged by both the attorney and the accountant. We have been absolutely thrilled with the attorney...he has called us on the weekends just to check on things, and has encouraged us to call him at any time of the day or night with any questions. Tim called him one Sunday evening from our house to check on the validity of a formal document we were supposed to sign. Everyone's name was typed and we were to each sign below it. All of their formal names were used, except mine. They also had my "nickname" spelled incorrectly. Our attorney was glad that we had called, as someone else in his office had typed the paper and obviously made a few mistakes.

Our attorney also told all six of us that we needed to have updated wills, based on the inheritances from the estate, and he included that. And took care of it in a very timely fashion.

However, our accountant has done a few things that I'm not too happy about. He was going to do our taxes for several years at no additional charge. He was so familiar with the situation that we thought it was a good idea. He had told us that the first year he did them, we were all going to get hammered due to all the land and the estate and the value of property, etc. He gave each of us a ballpark figure that we would end up owing the government.

I had been off work because of my bout with colon cancer, and recovering from the surgeries. I had run out of sick days a little over 5 months earlier, and therefore had no income. Additionally, since I had no income from the school system, I was required to pay my own insurance. My insurance is absolutely wonderful, and covered soooooooo much of all of my cancer stuff, BUT it was costing us almost $1000 a MONTH.

So the five figure "ballpark" amount that we were going to end up owing the government was weighing heavy on my mind. I called the accountant several times between the beginning of February and the beginning of April to find out what the exact amount was going to be. He always said "he was working on it" and would get back to me as soon as it was done.

Just a few days before the deadline, Mr. Accountant called. "Hey Cindi...I've had your taxes done for a few days, but was afraid to call you "

"Just tell me how much we owe."

He cleared his throat and started off with a comment about the land, telling me that we were paying taxes on the land now, but when it was sold, we wouldn't be paying them.


He mentioned a figure that was DOUBLE what the "ballpark" figure was!

At first I was in shock. Then I said, "You can't get blood from a turnip. I'm not working and I'm paying my own insurance AND we're making two house payments right now." (We had just moved into the new home we'd had built and our old house had just gone on the market the week before, but wasn't yet sold.)

"You'll need to file an extension for us. We were prepared to pay what you told us earlier, but not double that amount."

Then I asked him how on earth it could happen that the exact figure would be double what he thought it might be. He told me that he had only given us a ballpark figure and that there were a lot of things that he hadn't figured in.


He filed the extension, and we paid the rest of what we owed a few months later.

Then last year...way too long of a story, but I wasn't happy with him again.

But at least we didn't have a separate bill to pay to have our taxes done.

Now this year...yes, we're getting money back, thank goodness, but to include a huge bill in the packet? Without giving us any notice that we were now going to be receiving a bill for his services? We were under the impression that he would be doing our taxes without any additional charges until the rest of the land sold.

Apparently that's not the case. But wouldn't you at least notify a client that there will be separate charges a little bit ahead of time?? Not just include it??

I can't wait until all this land is sold and we can go back to our old tax guy. He's fabulous.

I know I've rambled on and on about this, but I'm mad and I may just have to call this accountant and give him a piece of my mind.



Paulie said...

be careful -- he might charge you taxes on that piece of mind you plan to give him!