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Well, here's this week's horrors from the front lines. This one is a bit of a rant.

Why do folks think a professional's time and knowledge is theirs to use for free? I had two people this week who were unhappy with their refunds and wanted to get a second opinion.

I spend 30 - 45 minutes of my time gathering your information, asking some questions, and putting the data into my tax program. I compare things to last year, looking for anything that might have been missed, and for the changes that made this year different from last year.

I try to say in every different way that I can that your refund is going to be different when you earn 50% more income, but have 25% LESS withheld.

I try to listen with compassion when you tell me that your lout of a husband doesn't help support you or your children. But that still doesn't make you a head of household on your tax return. You are the one that won't divorce him AND let him move back in with you. I know that you were H of H last year when he was living with his drinking buddies all year. But you changed things this year, and that changes your tax return.

Your changes are not my fault. I give you a bill for my services, but you refuse to pay because you aren't happy with the result. Now you'll have to go through the same stuff with another preparer. Perhaps you'll remember what lies to tell them to get the result you want. But there are only so many ways to add up 3 W-2's and a pile of rent receipts. I simply can't add more withholding on to your W-2 to get you a bigger refund.

--Peter <== needing some sleep to improve his outlook
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