Tax Season 2013: Mostly Unpleasant, And I’m Glad It’s Over

I’m glad tax season is over.

This was my fifth tax season on my own, and it’s the first time where I can honestly say, I didn’t have fun during the season.

It wasn’t all bad, of course. There was good along the way. But taken as a whole, tax season 2013 was mostly unpleasant.

The Good

  • I made a bunch of new connections and picked up some great new clients this year.
  • 95% of the clients who used my services in 2012 and earlier returned this year.
  • My client count grew by a net of 40% over last year.
  • My billings for tax preparation work increased by 113% over ALL of my billings last year for all types of work. In other words, if you took my 2012 gross billings for tax preparation, audit defense, bookkeeping, tax advising, business advising, etc., and doubled it (and then some), that would equal what I billed just for tax preparation work alone this tax season. That’s in about a 2-month timeframe. Which leads to….

The Bad

  • Crushing workload. I felt unprepared all tax season. The late start to the season and all the form delays played a big role. Add to that the fact that my business grew so quickly, and I was out of sorts all tax season. People who know me know that I am usually over-prepared. I don’t like feeling out of sorts and unprepared. But I fell behind immediately this season, never caught up and never really felt like I was in control of anything. I don’t tolerate that at all, so I’m already plotting ways to make sure next tax season runs better.
  • Weird techno-glitches. Whether it was my cell phone (which doubles as my business phone) glitching out for an entire week or my tax software glitching out or my computer system dying in the heat of tax season, or my toddler dunking my business tablet in the cat water, it was a bad season for technology. (The tablet survived, except that the speakers got fried.) Also, the IRS e-file system, which had been running fast most of the season, came to a screeching halt towards the end. E-file confirmations — especially for state returns — at times took almost a WEEK to come back.
  • Earned Income Credit. Every EIC claim I filed was legitimate, of course. But every single EIC claim I filed made me nervous. I truly lost sleep over returns with EIC on them, thanks to the new IRS “due diligence” requirements imposed on preparers. I’m beginning to think Robert Flach is right — don’t take on any EIC clients in the future, no matter how legitimate the EIC claim. I’m not sure I’ll do this, but it sounds really tempting.
  • Crabby people. Without getting into specifics, it sure seemed to me that many people were just plain crabby this tax season.

I’m curious to know what others thought of the season, whether tax pro or ordinary taxpayer. Am I alone in thinking this was a clunker of a season?