I got into an argument with a client today. He (or she) was one of those people who wax very indignant when the subject is income taxes. The issue wasn’t even close---the client felt that all his retirement distributions should be excluded from income when the rules clearly stated that only some of them were excludable. (I should add that the argument concerned a non-California state return and did not affect Federal Form 1040. Also, less than $500 of state income taxes was at stake.)
After a frustrating discussion I said that I would recalculate the state tax return according to the client’s wishes, remove my name as preparer, not bill for any of my services, and terminate our professional relationship. There are maddening, even incomprehensible inconsistencies in tax laws, and it’s easy to become incensed by their seeming unfairness, but the law’s the law. The law is also an ass, which description may refer to the governed as well.