I know absolutely nothing about financial stuff. Nothing. Nada. I used to do my own taxes back when I was making 14 grand a year and it was easy. Once it got even a bit complicated with investments and loans and such, I needed help.
I had a funny Woody Allen type accountant on the Upper West Side do it for me for a few years. He'd crack corny joke after corny joke when I would call him each year. Good times.
After I met SHR, we had a guy at her old music company do it for us for a couple of years for a nice bottle of wine. Once she left that company, that sweet deal dried up.
Recently, we've been going to a great place in Park Slope as recommended to us by Chris and Mary. For some reason, this year, we didn't call to set up an appointment and we thought we wouldn't be able to get one in enough time. So a little over a week ago, we went to an H & R Block in our neighborhood.
Our "tax advisor" was a complete nightmare. From the very first moment. As he hunted and pecked his way through adding our information, SHR had to keep gently letting him know that he was typing in a lot of wrong information. Among some of his offenses:
- It took him close to 90 minutes to type in what should have maybe taken 20 minutes.
- He was utterly shocked that SHR had hyphenated her name when we got married and was worried that it might mess up the whole thing.
- Assured us at one point that a typo he made didn't matter because the IRS only looks at numbers not words.
- Could not understand that one of the fields he had filled out wasn't going through properly because he didn't have a hyphen even though it clearly stated to add a hyphen. SHR told him that she thought he needed a hyphen. He replied, "No I don't think so" before repeatedly trying to force it through another time after already failing 3 or 4 times before. Finally, he added the hyphen and miraculously it went through!
- Regarding our mortgage, he told us that it didn't matter how many months we actually owned our place as long as we had moved in by 12/31. We said, "Really?" And he assured us yes. He even made a big show multiplying on the paper and said, "Next year when you do your taxes, the person can look at my writing and know how to do it!" Wonderful!
So eventually he gave us our tally. According to him, we owed 5 grand.
What the fuck?
We told him that that didn't seem right. He didn't know what to say to us and kind of just pointed at the computer in a "That's what the computer says" kind of way. He could sense we were annoyed and about to bag it after two wasted hours. He called his manager over. She looked at the computer and at least could explain why we owed 5 grand using her words rather than shrugs. Granted, she was explaining the results from the numbers he had added.
We left and she told us to come back once we were ready to finish up.
We went home and immediately called for an appointment at the place in Park Slope. They had an opening later in the week.
I went on Thursday afternoon. It was absolutely packed. The phone was ringing off the hook with people trying to make last minute appointments. But there weren't any more available until after the 15th. The take-no-shit receptionist spent a lot of time yelling at rude customers over the phone. But she was super sweet to the respectful folks in the waiting area who were too scared to cross her after hearing her deal with people on the phone. There were none too subtle signs posted all over with sayings like "Just because you procrastinated doesn't mean we need to be pressured by you."
Within the first few minutes of meeting with an accountant, I was asked about the writing on our mortgage sheet. When I told him that someone at H & R Block had done it, he said, "He did it completely wrong. You only have owned for 9 months but he has you down as 12 months. Not to mention, the correct total is on this other form so he didn't even need to write anything down to figure it out."
The final tally at the real place? We are owed $2,300. A little bit better than owing 5 grand.
The manager at H & R Block has called twice in the past few days wondering when we are going to come back in to finish our taxes. What a joke.
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