DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: For the past two years our son has insisted on letting his own “tax guy” prepare his taxes.
This “tax guy” is someone he knows from work, who put in one season at one of those storefront tax prep chains, and who thinks he’s a tax prep expert.
The guy only charges our son a couple cases of beer, and for both years he did our son’s taxes our son ended up owing both federal and state taxes, which may have nothing to do with the preparation, but you have to wonder.
We offered to set our son up with our CPA, and even to cover her fee, but he stubbornly wants to stay with the guy who may have cost him much more than the price of some beer.
How do we get our son to go with a pro, especially since it won’t cost him anything, and will maybe even save him some money? --- FRIEND’S NO ACCOUNTANT
DEAR FRIEND’S NO ACCOUNTANT: As you allow, the buddy may not be the reason your son’s owed on his taxes two years running. It’s possible the fault lies not with the preparer, but with how your son’s set up his payroll deductions and/or estimated taxes. Granted, a properly qualified tax preparer should be able to help counsel your son on necessary adjustments; but as he’s run into a shortfall twice in a row, it’s on your son to do what he needs to in order to avoid this happening again. I’m guessing there’s a chance he was hit with an underpayment penalty; but like some people, he could be thinking that he’d rather pay what he owes once and have a little extra money each paycheck throughout the year, even though the underpayment ends up costing him.
You’ve made your offer to cover the price of a CPA. Now it’s entirely up to your son to decide if he wants to accept it or not.