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They’re All Certified Pain in the Asses
My father was a CPA. He referred to those working in that field as Certified Pains in the Ass. We all dread tax season. When it comes to paying taxes, we love to hate our CPAs. Here is what it is like growing up in a CPA Family.
Two Became CPAs, And Two Were Smart
We are truly a CPA family. In addition to my father, two of my sisters followed in his footsteps. My older sister and I are not CPAs. My father used to tell anyone and everyone that of his four daughters, two became CPAs, and two were smart. Personally, I think we were smart not to go into a field that consumes your life for months on end. On the other hand, they think they were smart by becoming CPAs. Lord knows, it is an ongoing argument about what my father meant. He would never tell and took it to his grave. But boy, he’d laugh every time he made that comment.
Tax Season is Mentally Taxing
Tax season demands on CPAs, accountants, and anyone who works for them is complicated. It is taxing for those of us related to them. All I know of growing up in a CPA family is the following:
- They are unavailable from mid-February through after April 30th (corporate payroll tax deadline)
- Holidays will be scheduled around their deadlines. That is especially applicable for Easter and Passover. They will remind you of all the upcoming deadlines, including April 15th, April 30th, June 30th, September 15th, October 15th, and the end of year tax planning deadline.
- If it is anyone in their family’s birthday, anniversary, or special day during the few weeks leading up to April 15th, birthday celebrations will need to be postponed. Ironically, both of my accounting sisters each had a child during tax season while they were working… one on April 10th and the other on April 11th. Pretty sure their boss was none too pleased when they went into labor the week before April 15th.
- Approximately one month before Tax Day, they begin working 7 days a week so forget seeing your family during that time or having any significant conversations.
- Count on a call if (a) their software crashes a few days before April 15th, (b) they’ve been on hold for hours waiting to speak to someone with the IRS (unless they have concierge service (c) The return will not e-file, (d) Their clients are texting them before 7 am and after 8 pm (e) their server went down (or any other electrical device goes down)
- You will be put on extension.
- Your tax return will yield the best outcome. The major advantage of having so many CPAs in the family is that they will always give you the soundest advice.
Why Is The Tax Deadline April 15th?
There are many resources for determining how April 15th became the deadline for filing returns. But it goes back to 1913 with the 16th Amendment, allowing Congress to levy taxes on corporate and individual income tax. Congress chose March 1 as the deadline for filing returns. The date was changed with the Revenue Act of 918, which moved the date forward to March 15th.
It was not until 1955 that the date was moved to April 15th due to tax-code revisions. According to Ed McCaffery, a University of Southern California law professor and tax guru, since the income tax applied to more of the middle class, the government had to issue more refunds. Pushing the deadline back gives the government more time to hold on to the money.
Why Can’t The Process Be Less Complicated?
As a family member who annually witnesses the toll tax season plays, I often wonder why there is still a hard tax deadline. IMO why not tie the tax deadline into your birthday month, for example.
The government has the authority to change deadlines. Most recently, the deadline changed in 2020 due to the pandemic and then again in 2021.
We already know that there is a backlog of 2020 returns and tax correspondence. Additionally, it is common knowledge that the IRS is understaffed. And forget trying to get through to speak to live IRS agents. The hold time can be close to an hour if you are lucky. I know of CPAs who pay for the service CallenQ that expedites their call to the IRS.
According to the IRS, the 1955 date change was done to “spread out the peak workload.” It seems logical to me that staff shortages, combined with changing tax rules and a backlog, would support spreading out the peak workload.
Of course, the transition may be annoying to those born at the beginning of the year, but it could be rolled out in the first year, where filers would have until April 15th. I have heard concerns about how this would impact getting financial documents and W-2s, but any change has its own set of challenges.
Tax Season Care Packages
For the past 30+ years, my non-CPA sister and I have always sent a care package to our CPA dad and sisters. Some of them were huge productions with themes. We even got all our kids involved when they were all young. There was a Star Wars theme, Denim Theme, Men in Black, and Mambo #5, to name a few. Growing up in a CPA family meant trying to keep them all calm and nourished.
All of the care packages were filled with snacks. Cookies, Candy, snack bars. More recently, with my father gone, we now send my sisters a gift card for a Mani/Pedi after tax season, and an Uber Eats gift card so they don’t skip dinner working 12-hour days.
This year my sister had several clients give her care packages this year. It certainly is nice to know that there are clients that truly appreciate all the time and effort you put into their return.
Getting my Family Back
Growing up in a CPA family means when April 30th passes, I get to have normal conversations with the other half of my family. And that is when they can socialize or get away for a vacation, provided another tax deadline is not approaching. The window seems to get shorter and shorter each year. Of our eight kids, my nephew was the only one who followed in the family’s footsteps. My father was so immensely proud to see his legacy continue. The rest of us were all smart to steer clear of that profession. Just like my father said.