Archive for the ‘Ruminations’ Category

A Windee Graduation Speech: Your Team For Success

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

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The following is one of a series published here every graduation season

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“Thank you for that roaring ovation. You really know how to appreciate a great commencement speaker.

Before I wax philosophical, I ask the graduating class to do what I asked my law school graduating class to do when I gave the speech as class president: please rise and give a standing ovation to the people that made it possible for you to be here today. Namely, your family, friends, spouses, loved ones, mentors, teachers and any other supporting cast who got you into this end-zone.Image result for endzone celebration steelers

To get into the end-zone of life, you’ll need a good team around you

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Because whether you realize it or not, you will not achieve success, however each of you define it, without the help of others.

To get here today, you had parents who sired you. And I heard pregnancy is no picnic so your mothers deserve honorable mention, to say the least. Thereafter, once you landed on this planet, you were raised. From diapers to adulthood, there was a lot done and much sacrifice by those who raised you. Sleepless nights at your birth and sleepless nights in your teenage years, sandwiching exasperation.

But here you are.

Yet your team of supporters will expand as you enter the world and pursue your callings. If you think you will succeed alone, think again.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong. who is the first-known human-being to set foot on the moon, said about that 1969 mission, and I quote, I was certainly aware that this was a culmination of the work of 300,000 or 400,000 people over a decade.” Mr. Armstrong recognized that when he set foot on the lunar dust, it was not the first seconds of an effort by one person but the culmination of many people’s efforts over a long period of time. So, too, will your lunar landings be the product of a team effort and not just solely your talent and energy. This reality cannot be lost especially in this age as individualism has increased to perhaps an all-time human high. There are even world leaders who claim that isolationism for their countries is the best path. Nothing could be more wrong. The human endeavor is a team sport. Individualism is an important aspect of advancing it but in the end, for us to win, it must be done as a team. So as you embark on your mission called life, remember to not only pick a good team, but also recognize and appreciate them.

That is all I have to say today but when I presented this speech to the administration they said it was a bit short and requested that I add to it and text was even provided.

With that said, I ask you to remember how much you have benefited from your education here at Currencia U. and that you give back and financially support your alma mater.

I should’ve written a longer speech.

Godspeed to you.”
-I.M. Windee

Reflections From Another Tax Season

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

THE FOLLOWING IS UPDATED AND PUBLISHED EVERY APRIL 15

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An accountant recalls (non) Kodak moments from another tax season

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As another tax busy season slogs to a close, this CPA has some memories:

  • (client) “Why must I give you the same forms that I gave to you last year? Can’t you just use those?”
  • (the wife on March 20) “I booked our vacation for April 1-7; we got a great rate!”
  • (a client on March 25) “I want to thank you for the great job on my taxes. How about dinner the first week of April?”
  • (client) “Why must I pay? I don’t like what the government does with my money!”

Recounting another tax season

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  • Some clients you must gently warn of the potential downsides of aggressive tax positions; others you must read the federal sentencing guidelines to.
  • The public accounting analog to “will you love me in the morning?” is “will you still employ me after April 15?”
  • (client) “Mr. Windee: in response to your request for my wage statements, I enclose all of my charitable contributions. I trust you now have everything and can complete my return.”
  • “Hi. I dropped my taxes off this morning and was wondering if I could pick  up my returns now.”
  • “I wasn’t expecting such a high quote of $400 to have your firm do my taxes. I think I’ll just go back to H&R Block and pay $500.”
  • Being a public-accountant is the art of wanting to tell some of your clients “go &@%#!$%!* yourself!!!” but instead saying “thank you for being my client.”
  • (partner) “Look, I know that Widget Corp. is and has been a tough client who had 3 bookkeepers last year, multiple staff turnover on our side and their books are a mess; not to mention that the owner is recalcitrant and disagrees with everything for the sake of disagreeing. BUT WHY ARE WE OVERBUDGET WITH THEM AND THEIR TAXES NOT COMPLETED??!!??”
  • During tax season, snow days reveal the inherent dichotomy between staff and management. For staff, a light dusting means staying home for a week and hoping the apocalypse will pass. For management, 3 feet of snow can be easily driven in if you have 4-wheel drive and good tires.
  • (partner) “I’m glad you came in on the new daylight savings time. But remember: at the end of the day it is really an hour earlier under the old time so feel free to stay and make it up.”
  • (to client): “We need your brokerage statements to complete your return.” (client): “Okay. What do you need to complete my return?”
  • (client e-mail) I still have to get you the remainder of my tax papers. :) And the deadline is only 2 weeks away. :) :)  I’ll be on vacation next week in the Bahamas. :) :) :) I’ll get you everything when I get back. :) :) :) :) Boy, I bet you could use a vacation! :) :) :) :) :)
  • (client) “I only gave 4 of the 24 pages of my brokerage statement to you as I did not want to overwhelm you. I also figured that this would keep the bill for your services down. You’re welcome.”
  • (client) “Is a deposit on my grave tax-deductible?”  Yes, in the after-life.
  • (client) “I tagged and identified what each self-explanatory document is (1099, w-2, etc.) just in case you couldn’t understand them. But I threw my receipts in an envelope and assume you can figure them out.”
  • (client) “Mr. Windee: I got your voicemail about brokerage statements and to answer your question, I included the food store flier as I took advantage of their 10% Off Sale and wasn’t sure if that had tax implications.
  • (client) “This is unbelievable. You mean I owe $200,000 of taxes on 1 million dollars of income??!!?? I can’t comprehend this misfortune!!!”
  • For a deceased client’s final return, what address do you use? Heaven? Hell? How about their occupation? Corpse?
  • (client) “I know you might be busy as it’s April 10 but I got the 17th and final notice before levy for me to file a franchise tax return for 2 years ago. I didn’t give you the prior 16 notices as I assumed this would all blow over. They gave us 10 days from receipt to file which means it must be submitted tomorrow.”
  • (client) “I don’t mind [sort of] paying you for your services but my refund was only $300; isn’t your fee of $200 a bit much compared to my refund?”
  • To the client who generously gave $20,000 of non-cash donations in the form of various household items: “Your New Jersey return shows a refund, would you like to donate to any of the charitable causes listed on it?” The answer is predictable.
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I haven’t heard from you. May I presume Friday night, April 1?”
  • (client) “Is there a box I may check on the return that switches me from Liberal to Conservative so I may pay less? Those wild-eyed Conservatives are starting to look more reasonable.”
  • (client) “My taxes this year should be easy as there’s not much to report: most of my income was paid in cash.”
  • A power outage made me appreciate auto-save and document recovery in many programs. How was it done before computers? A power outage meant all work on paper was lost, no doubt.
  • (client) “It’s so stressful trying to get my papers to you. How do you do it?”
  • When a partner tells you that you’re not paying for yourself when you work 50 hours a week and are billed out at 3 times what you are paid, you feel like the $4 candy bar that hotels claim they lose money on.
  • (the wife when working home): “DON’T TELL ME IT’S MARCH 30 AND YOU’RE BUSY WITH TAXES!! I SAW YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM WHICH IS NOT EXACTLY ‘WORKING FROM HOME’! Now the garage needs painting; put on your overalls and grab a brush. After that you’re take me shopping.”
  • (client)  “Did you e-file my returns yet?” IMW: “No, did you send back authorization to do so?” Client: “No, but why didn’t you e-file my returns yet?”
  • (an accounting firm partner calling on the phone) “I’m looking at line 17 of Schedule E of the Smith return. How did you get to that amount?!?…..What do you mean you can’t recall?!?….YOU PREPARED THE RETURN ONLY 2 MONTHS AGO!…..You want to refresh your memory?!?…..What do you think this is, the courtroom?!?…..I think you’re suffering from memory loss!”
  • (virtually any accounting firm partner in the full-heat portion of their career e-mailing a staff member) “We are in the business of providing answers to our clients. If every time they came to us with a question and we responded with a deer in the headlight look, they would not come back to us. Which means they would not pay us. Which means we would not pay you. I trust you see the interrelationship. If you are unable to immediately provide answers to complex, arcane and often unexplored questions of tax law, may I suggest another shop? Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block come to mind. At least there you would be only asked what the standard deduction amount is, although I’m not sure you could even handle that one given your recent performance. Please take this as all my remarks are intended: constructively.

-I. Beetum
Partner/Morale Director
cc:

1. Partners & Staff
2. Accounting Today
3. Journal of Accountancy

  • (client) “Thanks for doing our taxes again this year. When you get a chance, could you look into why you sent us a bill last year?”
  • (client) “No, I paid the balance from last year, but did not pay any of the “estimated” tax vouchers. Is that an issue?  I figured that was only a suggestion.”
  • A tax manager should remember that there’s a reviewer checklist to be strictly followed and adhered to when reviewing a staff-prepared return and that such list should be discarded when reviewing a return prepared by a partner. How could a partner be wrong?
  • (client) “I got the tax returns you prepared for me but the return I drafted on TurboTax not only produced a lower tax but no tax at all…”
  • (client) “I know I owed money from last year that you said would be offset against this year’s refund but I don’t understand why they took my refund this year? Would you explain it to me for the 17th time?”
  • (the memory loss partner) “Look, we encourage good health but why are you going to the doctor during tax season?!?…….Do you see me going?!?….Can’t you wait until April 15?!?……You should have stopped coughing up blood by then and you’ll save the co-pay!”
  • (the wife) “I don’t care what time of the year it is! The fertilizer must be laid down no later than April 14!”
  • (client) “Great to see you again, Mr. Windee. Seems like only a year ago we spoke.”
  • (client) “Hi Mr. Windee. I received my w-2s today. I have no idea what the next step is with them. Could you let me know what I do?”
  • [an accounting firm partner]: “What happened with the Widget Corporation return??!!?? It was a 20-hour job that I priced at 10 hours and budgeted to do in 5 yet you put 7 hours in on it!!!! Where’s the 2 hours over budget gonna come from??!!?? Your paycheck??!!??”
  • (client) “Wow! The way you just explained my return to me makes it sound so simple! I’m good at math. Maybe I should try doing my returns myself.”
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I figured it out; you’re on a diet and don’t want to eat out. How about a Yankees game on April 13? It’s against the Orioles, a great rivalry!”
  • (client) “Why do I have to make a payment when my neighbor doesn’t?”
  • (the wife on April 12) “I don’t care about your silly client meeting at 6 pm. You tell your client that every Friday night is pizza night with the family and you must be home early. Besides, your top client will understand, trust me.”
  • (client) “If I only supported the Iraq war but not Afghanistan, may I get a reduction on my taxes?”
  • [that accounting firm partner in a voicemail]: “Where are you? You may have 3 inches of snow where you live but there’s no snow here at the office! And I hear it’s 78 degrees and sunny in Hawaii. How can you not drive when it’s 78 degrees and sunny??!!??”
  • (client) “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I OWE??!!?? I THOUGHT YOU WERE A GOOD ACCOUNTANT!!!”
  • Starting in late March, my firm has a shoot-to-wound policy: any tax professional who strays too far from the building receives a leg shot that allows them to keep functioning in front of a keyboard……..at least until April 15.
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I’m disappointed having not heard from you and it’s mid-April. I’ll give you one last chance: how about snowboarding the first week of July?”

-I.M. Windee

Santa Flies into the Liberal State: Rudolph’s Big Carbon Footprint

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

THE FOLLOWING IS UPDATED AND PUBLISHED EVERY CHRISTMAS  SEASON

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North Pole (AP [Arctic Press]) – In what can best be described as one of Santa Claus’ worst weeks ever, the corporate conglomerate better known as  Kris Kringle Inc. (“KKI”) was on the receiving end of the wrath of the Obama Administration, Occupy Wall Street, congressional Democrats, organized labor and feminists.

On Monday morning, the Department of Justice led the charge by filing a suit in federal court alleging that KKI was, in fact, a monopoly. Attorney General Loretta Lynch took the reins (pardon the pun) and held a press conference explaining the action. ”One of the greatest threats to our economy is the erosion of free competition in our markets,” said Ms. Lynch. “And no one best exemplifies a lack of free competition better than Santa Claus and his corporate behemoth, Kris Kringle Inc. Think about it, is there any other entity out there that rides around the world on Christmas Eve and provides gifts to children? The answer is a resounding “NO!” And given that he does not charge anything for such gifts, we are looking into anti-dumping violations especially as we believe that some of his toys were not produced by his elves but in China.”

Image result for santa
Kris Kringle: terrorist, or worse, male chauvinist?

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The day only got worse as Monday afternoon saw the Environmental Protection Agency seek a court injunction against Mr. Claus’ Christmas Eve run. Apparently, the team of reindeer are considered “ruminant livestock” that are capable of producing tons of methane gas that contribute to global warming. In a press conference, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that global warming should not be a partisan issue and that all thinking people, who care about Mother Earth, should be against Rudolph and his methane-emitting co-conspirators (Afterwards, she admitted [off the record] that EPA press conferences emit more hot air into the atmosphere than do the other alleged sources).

Rounding out the Monday barrage, President Obama held an impromptu news conference and wondered aloud if Mr. Claus was paying “his fair share” in taxes. He then went on to say that to show his seriousness in the war on terror and ease public fear, he was going to have a squadron of F-16s escort Mr. Claus in his sled as he flew over the United States given that Santa is on the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List.

Tuesday turned out to be no better as members of congress got into the fracas. In Mr. Claus, they found their pigeon…err…man. Senator Schumer of New York thundered “Santa has to decide whether he is for the middle class or against it! George W. Bush, too! And throw in Richard Nixon for good measure.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi suggested that Santa’s operation may fall under financial services regulations and, if not, vowed to pass legislation so that it would be, until she remembered it was no longer 2010 and that she was no longer Speaker of the House.

Wednesday continued Mr. Claus’ lousy streak: Occupy Wall Street unearthed itself and got into the fray as only they can: “Occupy North Pole.” Actually, they could not get up there due to logistics and the fact that there are no Starbucks nor bodegas at the top of the world. But they were there in spirit, protesting, and held “virtual sit-ins” smack dab at the North Pole. And their message was clear as a frozen bell: Mr. Claus is worse than the 1% as he is the only one in his class. “ELITIST!!” they whined.

Thursday saw the leadership at the New Jersey Education Association assert that the fall of Santa shows how wrong Governor Chris Christie’s policies are. When pressed, they could not elaborate.

Then National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill asserted that Santa Claus could well be a male chauvinist as he keeps Mrs. Claus home to bake cookies, knit sweaters and maintain the home. Ms. O’Neill said an intervention is planned to rescue Mrs. Claus from “the surly bonds of 1950s male domination.”

Finally, on Friday, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, pointed out that Santa’s elves are not unionized and thus likely exploited. He went on to say “and to my fellow worker elves, we are with you, we feel your pain whether it exists or not, and UNION YES!!”

Sensing potential political downside to this onslaught on a Christmas icon, the Obama administration held a joint press conference with Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Secretary Moniz reassured Mr. Claus that if KKI had to abandon its “core business model” (he looked confused when he used such term), the Energy Department would help him get into the alternative energy industry. As if on cue, Secretary Perez urged congress for extended unemployment benefits legislation. But he went on to implicitly threaten Mr. Claus by saying that in the spirit of transparency, his operation would have to set up a website similar to ObamaCare’s. That caused a chill in the North Pole, no doubt.

Mr. Claus could not be reached for comment but reports say he was huddling with a team of lawyers planning his next moves.

-I.M. Windee

The Election Night Speech Trump Should Be Giving…

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

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…but will not

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[RABID APPLAUSE]

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! …..

No, please, no! Chant “AMERICA! AMERICA! AMERICA! ” because that is what tonight is about.

My fellow Americans, I want to thank you with extraordinary humility for giving me the great honor of the Presidency of the United States.

[TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! TRUMP! .....]

No! Please! As I made clear from the start of my campaign, this is not about me but about us, about this country, about the future of the United States and the world which looks to us for leadership.

First, I want to congratulate Hillary Clinton

[BOO!!!]

No, please, this is not what we’re about! The election is over and we must now unite and move this country forward.

As I started saying, I want to thank Mrs. Clinton on a campaign in which she gave her heart to and made sure that the great challenges and opportunities that this country faces were fully debated. It doesn’t matter if you agree with her or not, she threw herself into this campaign and made sure that the American voter was given the chance to exercise their right to self-governance and choose which direction this country should go.

When I began this campaign, I said that this country deserves better leadership and policies. There were those who predicted that I would resort to personal attacks but as even they now admit, I focused on what Americans rightfully care about: a strong economy, blind justice and unquestionable strength and leadership overseas.

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If only Mr. Trump chose the high road

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And I never strayed from the fact that this country is a nation of immigrants. Which means we are a nation of inclusion of all that dream the American Dream. There are those that wish for us to create great walls to keep people out. But what a contrast to the great Ronald Reagan who demanded that walls be torn down and humans have the dignity to traverse anywhere that they rightfully should. I embrace such vision and I will work to ensure that as many people who wish to share in the privilege that we Americans have to live in this country do so. In the end, all decent people in this world are Americans. They want the freedom and opportunity that this country offers and no countryman of mine should be repelled by such but should be humbled, grateful and appreciate the shared value. As the saying goes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

As to respecting each other, I’m glad I brought a laugh during the campaign. Yes, I can be a lapdog to the woman in my life but how many men out there can relate to that?!? [LAUGHTER]. I probably won more support with the revelation that my dates made me open the limo door and my wife makes me cook the Sunday family dinner than with my Make America Great! slogan.

Any person should be rewarded for the efforts of their labor. This does not mean that government or other forces should wrench from them what is arbitrarily seen as unfair gain. I made clear in the campaign and do so tonight that there is no 1%: I only see 100% of this country which is what a president is required to do. Taking from one to give to another is not fairness; it is self-serving politics in its lowest form. Those who are in need should be given a hand up so they may experience the dignity to sustain themselves. We must end grandiose policies which in turn makes people less self-sufficient and makes them in need of government help. The fate of Mother Earth 50 or 100 years from now is important but the fate of our fellow Americans today must take precedent.

To that end, I will reduce the shackles of government’s bonds on us by lowering the oppressive acts of taxing and regulating what we can and cannot do. Since King George, Americans have been at their best when allowed to act as free-acting individuals.

I begin a great mission: serving not only the people of today but also of the future. I hope the good lord will give me the wisdom and fortitude to serve as I should as well as your support as I need it.

Whatever else may be said, I hope I will be remembered for trying to lead a great country that perhaps no one deserves to but someone must.

Thank you and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

-I.M. Windee [Ghost Writer/Dreamer]

Windee Picks His Candidate

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

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Desperate times call for desperate choices

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dscf0941

Weekend at Tricky Dick’s?

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MISSION: TRUMP

Friday, October 21st, 2016

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*******  TOP SECRET   ********

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Good morning, Republican/Independent Voters (“RIVs”):

The major parties have inflicted an unprecedented bad choice on the electorate for the 2016 presidential race.

On the Democrat side is someone who the late William Saffire once dubbed, along with her husband and former president, a “congenital liar”: Hillary Clinton (Photo 1).

 

Image result for bill hillary clinton

Photo 1

Urgency and life-expectancy constraints don’t allow a listing of even major borderline-felony acts over the last 30 years committed by the 2, but for illustration, her latest known ethical dereliction was compromising national secrets in her e-mails, while Secretary of State, to foreign governments with interests adverse to the U.S. so that she could circumvent government disclosure laws. Of course, she downplays such and, compared to what she could do in the Oval Office, this could turn out to be one of her smaller improprieties. And her commitment to continue President Obama’s low-growth and dangerous foreign policies would only add to the havoc she would create.

Representing the Republicans is the mercurial and intemperate Donald Trump (Photo 2).

Image result for donald trump

Photo 2

He has been charitably described as a bombastic megalomaniac completely unknowing in world affairs, amongst other areas, and too intellectually uncurious to learn. For a period after as well as before his nomination as Republican candidate in July, he verbally-vomited on himself and detonated rhetorical suicide-vests on a near-daily basis which rightly made people question if he had the mindset and demeanor to be president. Fighting with a gold-star family is one of many examples (although intelligence indicates that he wanted to chastise a quadriplegic, who angered him in grade school, in person at a rally recently but chose not to so perhaps this was a turning point in the campaign for him to exercise discretion). In the last several weeks, he has been more even-keeled and staying on focus of issues that matter to voters and this country (our inside sources say a combination of re-calibrated medication and daily ego massages have toned him into a semi-lucid condition).

Your mission, RIVs, should you decide to accept it, is to end 8 years of hyper-liberal governance and terminate the Clinton’s multi-decade run of self-serving power acquisition obtained through a toxic combination of public office-holding and private interests and place what some have labelled “the Grifters” into permanent retirement once and for all by voting for Mr. Trump.

This endeavor will not be easy as it will require a high level of intestinal fortitude and the suppression of good values. In short, you will be choosing the least abysmal candidate.

Of course, whether Mr. Trump wins or loses, you can disavow ever voting for him.

Regardless of who is elected, this country could self-destruct 6 months into either of their terms.

Goodbye RIVs……..and good luck.

-I.M. Windee

The Wrath (and Duality) of Khan

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Last week at the Democratic National Convention, Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a U.S. serviceman killed in Iraq, gave a speech in prime time and pulled out a pocket copy of the Constitution, asking if Donald Trump ever read it. He went on to assert that Trump’s rhetoric and proposed policies on Muslims is bad for this country.

Mr. Trump, in characteristic uncouth and unleashed fashion, fired back about Mr. Khan’s wife being silent and not allowed to speak (a swipe at Islam). Mr. Trump should not have initially responded to Mr. Khan with anything other than “my deepest sympathy goes to them as grieving parents.” The worst thing a human being can endure is the death of a child.

Khizr Khan

If Khizr Khan chooses to join the political discussion, he cannot shield himself from criticism as a grieving parent

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But what is not said in polite company is that a point exists where Mr. Khan can move from grieving parent to political voice. It probably hasn’t happened yet despite being on CNN’s “State of the Union” over the weekend and its morning talk show today. But when Khan starts his book tour, all bets are off.

Mr. Khan can’t have it both ways: accusing Mr. Trump of not knowing the constitution and being a “dark soul” but expecting Trump not to respond because Khan is a grieving parent. Grieving parents grieve, not insult nor politically orate.

If Mr. Khan wants to educate us about tolerance for Muslims, great; it’s a lesson some need to be reminded of. But to snipe at Trump with attacks and then shield himself with his dead son is as morally questionable as he claims The Donald is.

-I.M. Windee

Reflections From Another Tax Season

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

THE FOLLOWING IS UPDATED AND PUBLISHED EVERY APRIL 15

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An accountant recalls (non) Kodak moments from another tax season

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As another tax busy season slogs to a close, this CPA has some memories:

  • (client) “Why must I give you the same forms that I gave to you last year? Can’t you just use those?”
  • (the wife on March 20) “I booked our vacation for April 1-7; we got a great rate!”
  • (a client on March 25) “I want to thank you for the great job on my taxes. How about dinner the first week of April?”
  • (client) “Why must I pay? I don’t like what the government does with my money!”

Recounting another tax season

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  • Some clients you must gently warn of the potential downsides of aggressive tax positions; others you must read the federal sentencing guidelines to.
  • The public accounting analog to “will you love me in the morning?” is “will you still employ me after April 15?”
  • (client) “Mr. Windee: in response to your request for my wage statements, I enclose all of my charitable contributions. I trust you now have everything and can complete my return.”
  • (client e-mail) I still have to get you the remainder of my tax papers. :) And the deadline is only 2 weeks away. :) :)  I’ll be on vacation next week in the Bahamas. :) :) :) I’ll get you everything when I get back. :) :) :) :) Boy, I bet you could use a vacation! :) :) :) :) :)
  • (client) “I only gave 4 of the 24 pages of my brokerage statement to you as I did not want to overwhelm you. I also figured that this would keep the bill for your services down…………….. You’re welcome.”
  • (client) “Is a deposit on my grave tax-deductible?”  Yes, in the after-life.
  • (client) “I tagged and identified what each document is (1099, w-2, etc.) just in case you couldn’t understand them. But I threw my receipts in an envelope and assume you can figure them out.”
  • (client) “Mr. Windee: I got your voicemail about brokerage statements and to answer your question, I included the food store flier as I took advantage of their 10% Off Sale and wasn’t sure if that had tax implications.
  • (client) “This is unbelievable. You mean I owe $200,000 of taxes on 1 million dollars of income??!!?? I can’t comprehend this misfortune!!!”
  • For a deceased client’s return, what address do you use? Heaven? Hell? How about their occupation? Corpse?
  • (client) “I know you might be busy as it’s April 10 but I got the 17th and final notice before levy for me to file a franchise tax return for 2 years ago. I didn’t give you the prior 16 notices as I assumed this would all blow over. They gave us 10 days from receipt to file which means it must be submitted tomorrow.”
  • (client) “I don’t mind [sort of] paying you for your services but my refund was only $300; isn’t your fee of $200 a bit much compared to my refund?”
  • To the client who generously gave $20,000 of non-cash donations in the form of various household items: “Your New Jersey return shows a refund, would you like to donate to any of the charitable causes listed on it?” The answer is predictable.
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I haven’t heard from you. May I presume Friday night, April 1?”
  • (client) “Is there a box I may check on the return that switches me from Liberal to Conservative so I may pay less? Those wild-eyed Conservatives are starting to look more reasonable.”
  • (client) “My taxes this year should be easy as there’s not much to report: most of my income was paid in cash.”
  • A power outage made me appreciate auto-save and document recovery in many programs. How was it done before computers? A power outage meant all work on paper was lost, no doubt.
  • (client) “It’s so stressful trying to get my papers to you. How do you do it?”
  • When a partner tells you that you’re not paying for yourself when you work 50 hours a week and are billed out at 3 times what you are paid, you feel like the $4 candy bar that hotels claim they lose money on.
  • (the wife when working home): “DON’T TELL ME IT’S MARCH 30 AND YOU’RE BUSY WITH TAXES!! I SAW YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM WHICH IS NOT EXACTLY ‘WORKING FROM HOME’! Now the garage needs painting; put on your overalls and grab a brush. After that you’re take me shopping.”
  • (the wife) “I don’t care what time of the year it is! The fertilizer must be laid down no later than April 14!”
  • (client)  “Did you e-file my returns yet?” IMW: “No, did you send back authorization to do so?” Client: “No, but why didn’t you e-file my returns yet?”
  • (an accounting firm partner calling on the phone) “I’m looking at line 17 of Schedule E of the Smith return. How did you get to that amount?!?…..What do you mean you can’t recall?!?….YOU PREPARED THE RETURN ONLY 2 MONTHS AGO!…..You want to refresh your memory?!?…..What do you think this is, the courtroom?!?…..I think you’re suffering from memory loss!”
  • (virtually any accounting firm partner in the full-heat portion of their career e-mailing a staff member) “We are in the business of providing answers to our clients. If every time they came to us with a question and we responded with a deer in the headlight look, they would not come back to us. Which means they would not pay us. Which means we would not pay you. I trust you see the interrelationship. If you are unable to immediately provide answers to complex, arcane and often unexplored questions of tax law, may I suggest another shop? Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block come to mind. At least there you would be only asked what the standard deduction amount is, although I’m not sure you could even handle that one given your recent performance. Please take this as all my remarks are intended: constructively.

-I. Beetum
Partner/Morale Director
cc:

1. Partners & Staff
2. Accounting Today
3. Journal of Accountancy

  • (client) “Thanks for doing our taxes again this year. When you get a chance, could you look into why you sent us a bill last year?”
  • (client) “No, I paid the balance from last year, but did not pay any of the “estimated” tax vouchers. Is that an issue?  I figured that was only a suggestion.”
  • A tax manager should remember that there’s a reviewer checklist to be strictly followed and adhered to when reviewing a staff-prepared return and that such list should be discarded when reviewing a return prepared by a partner. How could a partner be wrong?
  • (client) “I got the tax returns you prepared for me but the return I drafted on TurboTax not only produced a lower tax but no tax at all…”
  • (client) “I know I owed money from last year that you said would be offset against this year’s refund but I don’t understand why they took my refund this year? Would you explain it to me for the 17th time?”
  • (the memory loss partner) “Look, we encourage good health but why are you going to the doctor during tax season?!?…….Do you see me going?!?….Can’t you wait until April 15?!?……You should have stopped coughing up blood by then and you’ll save the co-pay!”
  • (client) “Great to see you again, Mr. Windee. Seems like only a year ago we spoke.”
  • (client) “Hi Mr. Windee. I received my w-2s today. I have no idea what the next step is with them. Could you let me know what I do?”
  • [an accounting firm partner]: “What happened with the Widget Corporation return??!!?? It was a 20-hour job that I priced at 10 hours and budgeted to do in 5 yet you put 7 hours in on it!!!! Where’s the 2 hours over budget gonna come from??!!?? Your paycheck??!!??”
  • (client) “Wow! The way you just explained my return to me makes it sound so simple! I’m good at math. Maybe I should try doing my returns myself.”
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I figured it out; you’re on a diet and don’t want to eat out. How about a Yankees game on April 13? It’s against the Orioles, a great rivalry!”
  • (client) “Why do I have to make a payment when my neighbor doesn’t?”
  • (the wife on April 12) “I don’t care about your silly client meeting at 6 pm. You tell your client that every Friday night is pizza night with the family and you must be home early. Besides, your top client will understand, trust me.”
  • (client) “If I only supported the Iraq war but not Afghanistan, may I get a reduction on my taxes?”
  • [that accounting firm partner in a voicemail]: “Where are you? You may have 3 inches of snow where you live but there’s no snow here at the office! And I hear it’s 78 degrees and sunny in Hawaii. How can you not drive when it’s 78 degrees and sunny??!!??”
  • (client) “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I OWE??!!?? I THOUGHT YOU WERE A GOOD ACCOUNTANT!!!”
  • Starting in late March, my firm has a shoot-to-wound policy: any tax professional who strays too far from the building receives a leg shot that allows them to keep functioning in front of a keyboard……..at least until April 15.
  • (the client from March 25 above) “I’m disappointed having not heard from you and it’s mid-April. I’ll give you one last chance: how about snowboarding the first week of July?”

-I.M. Windee

David Bowie: Cultural Vanguard

Monday, January 11th, 2016

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The iconic singer’s biggest contribution was not entertainment but pushing social acceptance

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David Bowie died over the weekend and while many will merely remember him as a wildly successful pop singer, his bigger contribution was promoting acceptance of all people.

In the 1970s, after the convulsive 1960s, the World War II generation and those who came of age in the 1960s were still entrenched in deep cultural disagreement, albeit much more quietly.

Homosexuality was clearly one of those topics that was to be ignored and rejected according to the older generation and even the children of the ’60s didn’t embrace the acceptance of gay people.

As many musicians do, David Bowie promoted social themes, one of which was the acceptance of people no matter how out of the mainstream they may seem

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Mr. Bowie led what was labelled the glam rock movement which was characterized by male performers wearing exaggeratedly flamboyant clothes and makeup. There was no missing the underlying as well as overt tones of the alternative lifestyle and its people.

By becoming famous and mainstream with his breakout album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, he showed that not only could what was considered abnormal be acceptable, it could also be celebrated.

This, coupled with the Stonewall Riots a few years earlier that was the birth of the modern gay movement, laid the groundwork for the ultimate acceptance of homosexuals as well as others.

While his music is not what this writer would ordinarily listen to, his social effects are greatly appreciated.

-I.M. Windee

Santa Flies into the Liberal State: Rudolph’s Big Carbon Footprint

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

THE FOLLOWING IS UPDATED AND PUBLISHED EVERY CHRISTMAS

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North Pole (AP [Arctic Press]) – In what can best be described as one of Santa Claus’ worst weeks ever, the corporate conglomerate better known as  Kris Kringle Inc. (“KKI”) was on the receiving end of the wrath of the Obama Administration, Occupy Wall Street, congressional Democrats, organized labor and feminists.

On Monday morning, the Department of Justice led the charge by filing a suit in federal court alleging that KKI was, in fact, a monopoly. Attorney General Loretta Lynch took the reins (pardon the pun) and held a press conference explaining the action. ”One of the greatest threats to our economy is the erosion of free competition in our markets,” said Ms. Lynch. “And no one best exemplifies a lack of free competition better than Santa Claus and his corporate behemoth, Kris Kringle Inc. Think about it, is there any other entity out there that rides around the world on Christmas Eve and provides gifts to children? The answer is a resounding “NO!” And given that he does not charge anything for such gifts, we are looking into anti-dumping violations especially as we believe that some of his toys were not produced by his elves but in China.”


Kris Kringle: terrorist or worse, male chauvinist?

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The day only got worse as Monday afternoon saw the Environmental Protection Agency seek a court injunction against Mr. Claus’ Christmas Eve run. Apparently, the team of reindeer are considered “ruminant livestock” that are capable of producing tons of methane gas that contribute to global warming. In a press conference, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said that global warming should not be a partisan issue and that all thinking people, who care about Mother Earth, should be against Rudolph and his methane-emitting co-conspirators (Afterwards, she admitted [off the record] that EPA press conferences emit more hot air into the atmosphere than do the other alleged sources).

Rounding out the Monday barrage, President Obama held an impromptu news conference and wondered aloud if Mr. Claus was paying “his fair share” in taxes. He then went on to say that to show his seriousness in the war on terror and ease public fear, he was going to have a squadron of F-16s escort Mr. Claus in his sled as he flew over the United States given that Santa is on the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List.

Tuesday turned out to be no better as members of congress got into the fracas. In Mr. Claus, they found their pigeon…err…man. Senator Schumer of New York thundered “Santa has to decide whether he is for the middle class or against it! George W. Bush, too! And throw in Richard Nixon for good measure.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi suggested that Santa’s operation may fall under financial services regulations and, if not, vowed to pass legislation so that it would be, until she remembered it was no longer 2010 and that she was no longer Speaker of the House.

Wednesday continued Mr. Claus’ lousy streak: Occupy Wall Street unearthed itself and got into the fray as only they can: “Occupy North Pole.” Actually, they could not get up there due to logistics and the fact that there are no Starbucks nor bodegas at the top of the world. But they were there in spirit, protesting, and held “virtual sit-ins” smack dab at the North Pole. Impressive. And their message was clear as a frozen bell: Mr. Claus is worse than the 1% as he is the only one in his class. “ELITIST!!” they whined.

Thursday saw the leadership at the New Jersey Education Association assert that the fall of Santa shows how wrong Governor Chris Christie’s policies are. When pressed, they could not elaborate.

Then National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill asserted that Santa Claus could well be a male chauvinist as he keeps Mrs. Claus home to bake cookies, knit sweaters and maintain the home. Ms. O’Neill said an intervention is planned to rescue Mrs. Claus from “the surly bonds of 1950s male domination.”

Finally, on Friday, Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President, pointed out that Santa’s elves are not unionized and thus likely exploited. He went on to say “and to my fellow worker elves, we are with you, we feel your pain whether it exists or not, and UNION YES!!”

Sensing potential political downside to this onslaught on a Christmas icon, the Obama administration held a joint press conference with Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Secretary Moniz reassured Mr. Claus that if KKI had to abandon its “core business model” (he looked confused when he used such term), the Energy Department would help him get into the alternative energy industry. As if on cue, Secretary Perez urged congress for extended unemployment benefits legislation. But he went on to implicitly threaten Mr. Claus by saying that in the spirit of transparency, his operation would have to set up a website similar to ObamaCare’s. That caused a chill in the North Pole, no doubt.

Mr. Claus could not be reached for comment but reports say he was huddling with a team of lawyers planning his next moves.

-I.M. Windee