Sample client letter: Why your bill just went up 1000%

Below is a sample client letter that we know you would really like to send to your clients this tax season:

Dear _________:

We’re happy to tell you that we were FINALLY able to file your 2021 tax returns and “resolve” your issue with the IRS notice you forwarded on to us. Unfortunately, due to late breaking legislation, new IRS and FTB filing requirements, and tax agency staffing shortages, processing your return and resolving your IRS notice issue took significantly longer than anticipated. Below is a breakdown of the increased hours we spent ensuring you paid the correct amount of tax this year:

  • The 10 phone calls to the IRS regarding erroneous notices (because they still haven’t actually looked at the return you filed two years ago):
    • Six phone calls (three plus hours each) where we never got through;
    • Two phone calls (four hours each) where we got through but then got disconnected; 
    • One phone call (hung up after four hours) where they said they had to speak with a supervisor and never came back; and
    • Final “successful” phone call (one hour) where they told us there was nothing you need to do because last year’s return is still sitting in a mail truck in the now-closed Fresno processing center parking lot.
  • The eight hours spent trying to file the return that the software company kept rejecting;
  • The 12 hours we spent researching the new K-2/K-3 filing requirements, only to find out a week later when the IRS issued additional guidance that there is no need to file this return for you this year;
  • The 15 hours spent trying to get the passthrough entity tax calculation to work, then realizing that it will be weeks from now before the FTB updates the forms to reflect the recent law changes that dramatically altered how the new tax and credit work; and
  • The six hours spent on the phone with the software company trying to understand why the forms needed to file the California individual tax return still are not available.

That totals 72 hours to complete your return. We have enclosed a return envelope for you to send us your payment:

Time spent Hourly Rate Amount
72 hours $225 $16,200
Client loyalty discount   ($50)
Balance due (upon receipt)   $16,150


Your Tax Professional

Man reading

Spidell’s OG conformity guide

During a recent office cleaning, Renée Rodda unearthed a piece of Spidell history: the first special report that Spidell published. In 1976, the very first version of what is now “Spidell’s Quick Guide to California Nonconformity” was born.

There has been some argument about which 70s font is being used (Cooper? ITC Souvenir Bold?), but we all agree the cover color is perfectly 70s.

Did you have a copy of this resource back in the day? (Or maybe you still do…?)

Spidell's California Tax Changes book

Gavin … your other left

The iconic bronze bear statue that guards the Governor’s Office has moved to its new temporary home as the Capitol Annex undergoes a renovation project that will take at least four years to complete.1

In 2009, then-Governor Schwarzenegger was at a fundraiser in Aspen and the bear statue caught his eye in a gallery window, so he dropped $20,000 of his personal money to acquire the 800-pound symbol of California.2 The statue has resided at the Capitol ever since, through the two subsequent administrations.

Get my good side

California has used some version of the Bear Flag since 1846,3 when it was drawn using blackberry juice. That flag was a nod to California’s Lone Star Flag, adding the bear to represent strength and unyielding resistance.

But a review of the iterations of the Bear Flag show that the placement of the bear has not changed over the last 174 years: the bear faces left. So when Governor Newsom was beginning his run for Sacramento in 2018, his campaign logo raised some eyebrows with a right-facing bear, which was immediately flipped, but not before evidence could be collected. The internet does not forget.

Gavin for Governor logo

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Sandy Weiner, J.D.Sandy Weiner, J.D., as California editor, loves all things California. Whether it's hiking at Big Sur or playing at the beach in San Diego where she lives, Sandy takes full advantage of all that California has to offer as a way to clear her head after trying to comprehend and explain California's Revenue & Taxation Code.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

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