Are Other Tax Pros Screening EIC Clients?

I’m curious to know if other tax pros are doing any kind of screening of clients and refusing to serve those who qualify for the Earned Income Credit?

And if so, how does that work?

Like I said in my post-tax-season recap, returns claiming the EIC make me extremely nervous. I know that all of the EIC returns that I prepared are legitimate. But I still lose sleep — truly — over these returns.

My life would be much easier without EIC clients. But how do you screen them out? Is it ethical to do so?

In MANY cases, I don’t even know a person qualifies for EIC until after they’ve given me their documents and I’ve started working on their return. They have entrusted me with preparing their return. What am I supposed to say? “Sorry, I discovered that you qualify for EIC, so I can’t prepare your return. Come pick up your documents and go somewhere else”?

Most of my EIC clients are hardworking people who have kids and just happen to be in the income range for qualifying for EIC. They are honest people.

Some are sole proprietors whose business income was such that they happen to qualify this year but probably won’t next year. They are honest people.

I have found that many of my EIC clients don’t even know they qualify for EIC, even if they’ve claimed it in the past. And they certainly have no concept of “gaming the system.” They are honest people.

Am I supposed to just say “sorry, find someone else to do this return”?

That’s my conundrum.

I truly freak out about EIC returns. Form 8867 and the things I’m supposed to be asking and documenting seriously scares me.

But the EIC returns I file are legitimate, and the taxpayers are honest people.

So, what are other pros doing in regards to EIC? How are you reducing the stress and risk involved with EIC claims? And if you’re screening people or flat-out refusing service to EIC clients, how do you go about this process?

Actually, I would like to start screening ALL potential new tax clients but I’m not exactly how that would work in the heat of tax season when I’m busy with dozens of other things and people call wanting me to do their taxes. How do I “screen” potential clients? But that’s another blog post for another day.

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”

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  1. Should preparers run away from earned-income credit clients? « Roth & Company, P.C - April 22, 2013

    [...] Jason Dinesen asks  Are Other Tax Pros Screening EIC Clients? [...]