|Tax season is Mayclin’s prime time of the year
Rohnert Park CPA has seen several strange requests for tax deductions over the past 30 years
By Dave Williams
Don’t expect to see much of Tim Mayclin after April 15.
The certified public accountant and Rohnert Park resident will be finished with his massive workload of filing his clients’ income taxes and he’ll either hibernate in a deep sleep at home or maybe he’ll find rest and relaxation by skipping town.
Until that time, however, Mayclin and just about everyone else who prepares income taxes will be extremely busy.
“The busy time’s usually Feb. 1 through April 15…people wait for their W2s and all that other stuff that comes in the mail,” said Mayclin, who has been preparing taxes for more than 30 years.
Weather prompts move out west
Mayclin, a Minnesota native, grew up in the suburbs outside Minneapolis. He attended the University of Minnesota for a year before transferring to Metropolitan University in Minnesota. He came to California for one simple reason.
“Oh, the weather,” he said. “I don’t mind the cold in Minnesota, but shoveling snow is a pain in the butt. So, I was like, ‘let’s get the heck out of here.’”
He and his wife, Charlene, have four children and eight grandchildren. Mayclin has been involved with the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Knights of Columbus, an organization that has performed numerous acts of charity and service.
During his time preparing taxes, Mayclin has seen some rather unusual requests for deductions but takes it all with a laugh.
“One guy wanted to deduct his dog for security purposes,” he said. “I had another one who wanted to deduct his automobile because he put a sign on it and wanted the deduction as advertising. I’ve had a few people who have wanted to deduct dogs as dependents. When I see things like that, I just tell them, ‘here are the rules.’”
There was a time, back in the 1980s, when such deductions would not draw a second look from the Internal Revenue Service. But the rules have been tightened and such deductions won’t pass muster.
“Back in the late 80s, you didn’t have to have a Social Security Number to take a dependent,” Mayclin said. “You could put the name and that was about it. The year the IRS forced everyone to have a Social Security Number when they put a dependent on a return, they lost like 3 million in dependents. There were a lot of people claiming dogs and sick kids.”
Returning clients to sanity
Mayclin has had clients who are strictly by the book when it comes to filing their returns and others who aren’t so forthcoming. When he comes across some who try to circumvent the rules, Mayclin said he has to bring them back to some semblance of sanity. Most of his clients don’t want to take the risk of going to jail.
But tax law, Mayclin says, can be tricky on a number of fronts.
“The thing about tax law is most of it is gray area,” Mayclin said “There are certain things that are left to interpretation. If we plan ahead, you might be able to change a few things and take another deduction rather than doing something a certain way and save some money.”
Even when tax laws are supposedly clarified by either the state legislature or Congress, there always seems to be a bit of confusion among taxpayers. And confusion usually results in a spike of business.
The biggest mistakes he said his clients make are trying to do their taxes themselves and doing no tax planning whatsoever. He also suggests people hire bookkeepers to help simplify things at tax time. Many times, he says clients put no thought into their tax preparation, as they wait for their forms to arrive in the mail and then give them to him and tell him to “do the best you can.”
Prepartion is key
Proper preparation, he says, can give a person access to money they’d have to wait months to get from the government. For example, twice in the last 15 years, California didn’t have money and delayed payment on tax refunds until October.
“A lot of people are afraid of money and don’t understand it,” Mayclin said. “They use withholding as a forced savings account so they can get that big refund check from the government. If you set it up correctly, you can have access to that money all year long instead of waiting to get it.
“We try to help people understand how to use numbers on financial statements so they can make and keep more of their money.”