3 Errors Ernst & Young Made on Our Income Taxes

We are finally getting ready to file our 2007 income taxes. Its been a long time in the making, but we finally got an initial cut at our tax return a couple weeks ago from Ernst & Young. EY was hired by my employer to handle our taxes as part of our international assignment package.

Once I got the returns I almost decided to just print them off and mail them in since we are running around trying to get settled into our new home. Reviewing tax returns didn't seem like something I wanted to put at the top of my todo list. However, I decided 1 night to pursue through them and identified a couple issues already with the returns:

  • My wife's $250 in educator expenses were treated as a misc deduction rather than deduct on line 23 of 1040.
  • My SEP contributions were incorrectly totaled because E&Y was suppose to provide me with the maximum contribution I could make. Well I didn't receive that max contribution so I had to estimate it myself. Needless to say the 2 numbers didn't match.
  • We had an asset placed into service as part of one of our business in 2007. The asset was setup with a 5yr deperciation schedule by E&Y even though it qualified for Section 179 expensing to fully depreciate it in 2007.
  • I also learned that my employer won't reimburse me (ie make my tax liability equivalent) for passive losses I can't write off in 2007 due to the additional expenses they paid for my assignment that are treated as income. These lossess can be carried forward to future years so I understand the logic, but don't agree with it. My understanding was my tax burden would be made equivalent to my hypothecial tax burden had I not done the assignment. This caught me offguard because I was never notified that I would have to absorb this. Guess this isn't a mistake, but certainly a communication gap and will likely affect our tax situation in 2008 as well.

I don't even understand a good part of the international taxes paperwork that goes along with it, so the number of issues concerns me about what else was missed in the parts that I don't really understand. Oh well - I'm crossing my fingers the rest was accurate.

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Comments (7)


you often mention your "business" or "businesses"...what is it that you are doing besides working at IBM? How profitable are these businesses?

I've been recently reading about large IBM layoffs (AKA resource actions) hitting software groups especially hard. How are you faring?

Isn't it Ernst and Young? Great job on the blog! I've been reading you since I saw you in Bus. Week a few years ago.

Your SEP contribution? How are you self employed if you work for IBM? Do you have a side business or are you a "real estate professional" ?

Chris -- thank you - typo on my part.

Anon/tax monkey - Yes I have self employment income mostly from several web sites that I run. I also have a couple rental properties. You can find more info on the side incomes here and scattered around this site.

Hi - i am in a similar situation of being an ex-pat abroad,,,

make sure that for any relocation bonus that was paid to you by your employer, if it was all spent on relocation, then none of it is included in income,,, those forms can get tricky,, your 2007 return is due on 1.31.09 so send it in soon if you havent.

Recently, Earnst and Young were auditing the company I work at. I have to say that I was actually quite dissapointed Fifel. As you all know E&Y is one of the nations premere accounting firms, however the employees are quite immature. My desk is near the audit room which the auditors had used throughout their stay. Instead of being a team, teasing, sarcasm, and negativity was all I ever heard coming out of his mouth. How does a company as big as them employ such a nasty immature person? Is that really what corporate America has become? Millions are out of jobs right now, and he is making a comfortable living. Doesn"t make alot of sense. Do you have something to say Mr. Mat Fifel?

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