We had Diane O’Brien, EA do our taxes last year and she made several careless errors that I caught, including one that would have caused us to pay $1000(!!!) in taxes we didn’t owe.
To her credit, she admitted the mistakes readily when I pointed them out, and given the number and impact of them, she offered to waive her fee.
However, it was still a bit alarming to think what would have happened had I not reviewed her work.
This year, when I was looking at our return again, I caught another set of errors – entries on a form that didn’t make any sense.
This was a form I wasn’t familiar with so I hadn’t paid much attention to it previously.
When I emailed her, she said she was stumped and didn’t know where her numbers could have come from, that the numbers on our return were simply what her program had spit out (even though they obviously didn’t seem right – there were lots of zeroes where actual numbers should have been).
She refused to look into it further and suggested we have another accountant try to figure it out because she couldn’t.
She said that she didn’t have time to rework our return and was not willing to help us figure out the right thing to file/amend, despite the fact that she was the one who had produced the inaccurate form, nor was she willing to help us find someone who could figure it out.
Throughout this ordeal, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.
In the end, I tried completing this one form by hand and asked if she could as well, to sanity check my numbers, and she refused to that as well – something that should have taken an experienced tax professional maybe 5-10 minutes to do?
Yes, she is very warm, friendly and helpful when you first meet her, and she genuinely seemed like a nice person.
I can also forgive some level of carelessness because I can imagine how stressful tax time is for tax preparers.
But I’m sorely disappointed to find out that when a real issue arises, Diane simply doesn’t seem to stand by her own work… And due to her errors, the time and headache this return has cost us are WAY more than if we had just done the taxes ourselves in the first place.
I would not wish this experience on anyone–consider yourselves warned!