I have to take issue with Jason Ackerman’s column, “It’s Time to Fire Bad Clients” on “firing” bad clients (October 2018, http://bit.ly/2LwbKYu), This suggestion is flawed because the problem he states—that some clients are continually late providing tax input data for their individual tax return—is perhaps not the client’s fault in most instances. Often, it’s the tax preparer’s fault for not emphasizing the importance of vital data being provided in a timely manner. Many clients may take the attitude that the preparer will allow them to wait until the last moment to file, which, in fact, is not true.
To firmly inform all clients on this matter is the responsibility of the tax preparer. In addition, tax preparers who accept these clients should inform them that late filers will pay an additional fee—sort of a preparation penalty—for the additional effort. Of course, if the culprit client is a relative, good luck collecting!
Lastly, many clients I have worked for over my 60 years of tax prep had financial problems, family health problems, or other extenuating and continual circumstances, including client investments where the third-party tax preparer responsible for providing the investment information is delayed completing the needed K-1 in a timely manner. On some occasions, the culprit client has referred a friend or an investment to my firm that has ultimately been a far better client and resulted in a greater fee because of patience and understanding of my original client’s situation.
Patience is a virtue; don’t slam the door on it.