General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

You're a great friend, but how good at your job are you?

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I am an accountant and I use TurboTax for our personal return.  You can pick it up for $49 at Sam's Club and it should only take an hour or so to run through your return, unless you have some particularly complex situation.  That's a pretty cheap and easy way to double check what your friend is doing so you will know if you have something that needs addressing with him.

I'd run it through Turbo Tax at a minimum to make sure he's not doing anything just flat out wrong. If you go through the web, unless you file, it's free (you pay right before you file, but can see your outcome first).

I agree, though, bad to mix business and friends. In fact, the mixing being a bad idea may be something you can use as leverage/excuse for backing out of the transaction altogether.

Does your DH agree that the numbers are a bit hinky when compared to last year?  Have you showed your husband last year's tax return and compared it with the numbers for this year?  That would be my first step.

You shouldn't have to "hint" to your DH that the numbers look skewed.  If you file a joint return, your name is on it and you will be held liable if there are any mistakes.

You've gotten some good advice, and so I just wanted to pitch in my experience/perspective as someone who has had an accountant for several years.  This year, with the feds dinking around so much on multiple fronts (fiscal cliff, anyone?) my accountant told me at our annual check-in that it was becoming extremely difficult to predict taxes with accuracy.  It was a bunch of if-they-then-you-but-if-not-then-maybe that was only further complicated by any actual complications the individual experienced (like us - for personal reasons our income is lower this year than in past years, which made estimating quarterly taxes challenging already).  For these reasons, we're in refund status, which annoys the heck out of my accountant - she likes to be conservative but cut it close so that I'm not handing out an interest free loan.

All of that to say, although your husband's friend MIGHT be doing it wrong, he also might be getting yanked around by the powers-that-be.

My accountant was my accountant first and is now also a friend, so I'm not quite as opposed to business/personal relationships, but I did find it helpful to get some general answers to questions so I knew we were on the same page/had the same approach.  We both prefer to play it safe in terms of not expensing things that are.....teeechhhnnically legal.  We both prefer to pay a little at the end of the year as long as we're not in a situation where we could get dinged for not paying enough on estimations.  Those kinds of questions helped me understand her mindset, and I think are important to determine if you can have a good working relationship.  The numbers after that are just numbers.

We had that happen the first year we were married. With our accountant -- my MIL.

Oh, the joy of telling her that she would not be doing our taxes again as she'd made such a HUGE mistake the previous year. (Luckily, I caught the mistake myself. It was so incredibly obvious and commonsensical that honestly, it made me doubt if she should be doing anyone's taxes.)

But I'm not pussyfooting around when it comes to taxes and those sorts of financial and legal burdens/consequences. I was polite about it (my dh was not particularly polite about it), but that was the end of that.


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