Prep

Accounting Today - - Taxpractice - From page 14

In­come Tax Ser­vice in An­them, Ari­zona, has ev­ery client sign an en­gage­ment let­ter in which he ex­plains “not only the client’s re­spon­si­bil­ity but my pro­tec­tions for them and the reme­dies af­forded them,” he said.

Trust

“When they tell me about crooked tax pre­par­ers, they al­ways say that’s why they come to me be­cause they trust me,” said Kathy Haw­boldt of Haw­boldt’s Tax Ser­vice, in Louisville, Ken­tucky.

“They’re usu­ally telling us that they are glad they don’t have to worry,” added Mar­i­lyn Mered­ith at Michi­gan-based Mered­ith Tax Ser­vice.

“Sev­eral of my clients have per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with ei­ther crooked pre­par­ers or ones that just re­ally don’t know what they’re do­ing. I think the work that I do and my rep­u­ta­tion is re­as­sur­ance for them,” said EA Lau­rie Ziegler at Sass Ac­count­ing in Saukville, Wis­con­sin. “About 80 per­cent of my new clients come from re­fer­rals. Cur­rent clients wouldn’t be send­ing their friends and/or rel­a­tives to me if they didn’t trust me them­selves.”

“I pre­pare ap­prox­i­mately 450 re­turns a year. This is my 19th year, and I can safely say that I’ve only heard that con­cern from less than 10 clients,” said Frederick Reynolds, an EA in Utica, N.Y. “I put those with a con­cern at ease by telling them that I work for a rep­utable na­tional tax com­pany and that I’m an EA and am held to high prepa­ra­tion stan­dards.”

“So the client asked me how she knew she could trust me. I ex­plained that I was li­censed by the IRS and was in busi­ness 15 years (at that time). And I had a good rep with the IRS. That worked, and I’m still do­ing her taxes eight years later. And yes, we did fix the is­sue with the bad pre­parer,” Penn­syl­va­nia’s O’plan­ick said.

Is that enough?

“Any­one can do il­le­gal things and it doesn’t mat­ter if you are a non-en­rolled pre­parer, a CPA or an EA,” Con­necti­cut’s Arm­strong added. “Those mea­sure ed­u­ca­tion achieve­ments and hold you to var­i­ous stan­dards. The best mea­sure is some­one who is full-time and has been around for quite a few years. Cre­den­tials don’t make any­one eth­i­cal. It’s much deeper than that.”

AT

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