Drake Software blog for tax pros, covering tax, IRS news, and more

Dear Office Manager...

The Tax Pro's Advice Column

This time of year, spring stirs, creating problems for the dedicated tax professional or tax software support person, who has no time left in the day to tend personal matters. I offer you answers to the following problems.

Problem: My grass is growing like crazy, and I won't have time during tax season to mow before it gets over my knees. Grass-dwelling things will take up residence and greet me when I go home after a long day in the tax shop.

Answer: This is an annual planning issue that you haven't handled properly and you're paying the price now, as spring collides with tax season. Your lawn maintenance activities over the last year should have included these measures:

  • Walk on the grass as much as possible, taking care not to disturb the moles. Remove any fences or other obstructions and encourage your family, visitors and anyone else in the area to walk on your lawn. Talk to your neighbors and get the sandlot ball games and yard sales transferred to your yard (your neighbors' names are probably on the county tax map).
  • Don't be putting out lime or anything like fertilizer, and don't water your lawn, ever.
  • In high-growth problem areas, seed or sod with one of the low-to-the-ground grass varieties available from your local lawn and garden supply, such as crabgrass. It's a popular choice, as you see it almost everywhere, and maintenance is low, very low.

Problem: I find myself looking out of the window and daydreaming about summer.

Answer: This is what blinds and shutters are for. Otherwise, rearrange your desk – face it against a wall without a window, cover the wall with IRS publications and push the desk up to the wall. Now look at the wall and try to daydream.

Problem: How do I find time to arrange for

  • new tires on my car
  • new shoes, clothing or carry-on luggage.

Answer: You think you need these things? Stop thinking it.

Problem: I need a week's vacation in Ireland.

Answer: This explains the "new carry-on luggage" item in the preceding problem. Try one of these popular remedies:

  • Forget it.
  • Aesop's fox's remedy – you can't afford it, and you wouldn't enjoy it anyway. People in Ireland probably speak Irish and you don't, so how are you going to get a meal or a place to stay? Anyhow, there's a lot of tall grass in Ireland that will remind you of your own lawn and make you morose. You'd be worse-off after a vacation.
  • The Virtual Remedy – grab photos of Irish scenes from the internet and edit yourself into them. Get glossies made, hang framed 8X10s in your office and carry wallet photos. Make up a story to go with them, and talk about your trip whenever you get an opening in conversation.

Problem: How do I find time to do my own tax return?

Answer: A no-brainer – file an extension like you did last year.

Problem: But I...

Answer: Be still, I'm not finished yet. If you have a big refund coming and want it ASAP, you have only yourself to blame. Next year watch more carefully over the tax revenues you are sending away from home. But for now, go ahead and rush out your return to get that big refund. You can always amend it a couple of times. However, when that collides with your summer vacation schedule, don't look to me for advice. I'll be out walking on my lawn, ignoring calls and visitors.

Posted by Doug Crockett

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The Taxing Subjects staff is proud to cover the latest in tax-industry-related news, from tax law and IRS updates to technology and business strategies. If you have questions about an article or just want to reach out to the Taxing Subjects staff, email comments@taxingsubjects.com.

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