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Our Staff

Susan M. Watson, CPA
Principal
518-372-9518 ext. 303
susan@watsonpeterson.com

Heather A. Peterson, CPA
Principal 518-372-9518 ext. 302
heather@watsonpeterson.com

Christine A. Gorgen, Accountant
Sr. Staff Accountant
518-372-9518 ext. 301
chris@watsonpeterson.com

Susan A. Alexson
Administrative Assistant
518-372-9518 ext. 300
sue@watsonpeterson.co

Kenneth C. Ashe, CPA
Staff CPA
518-372-9518 ext. 304
ken@watsonpeterson.com

 

 

 

Watson, Peterson & Company Humor

Every January we send out tax organizers to our clients. Most do not really care about the organizer but rather the cover letter that accompanies it. Here are the letters, dating back to 2005...


Waterson, Peterson & Company 158 LaFayette Street, Schenectady, NY 12305
518.372.9518 | Fax: 518.372.9590
Susan M. Watson, CPA
Heather A. Peterson, CPA
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January 2014

Clients,

Welcome back for another fun and exciting income tax season. We are in our 22nd year of business and continue to stay on the cutting edge of technology and pop culture. We constantly fight the stereotypes that portray accountants as boring nerds with calculators. In our quest to keep up with the youth of today, we have incorporated some of the most popular "tech terms" into our office jargon. Here are some expressions that you may hear around the conference table this year.

  • "Did your mileage figure come from The Cloud?" This means that we believe your business mileage figures may be a bit fluffy. We would like you to consult your "earthly" mileage log.
  • "We are going to defrag those numbers a bit." This means your tax return is going to stay with us just a bit longer. We will also be asking for all the receipts that you have accumulated on your dresser and between your car seats. We are going to need them.
  • "TMI." This means that you have to stop talking immediately. You can't tell us that you worked at your cousin's bar all summer under the table and not expect to pay tax on your earnings.
  • "You really twerked those credits." This means that you qualified for an obscene amount of tax credits. In all likelihood you have at least one child in college and can use the extra money to buy food for yourself.
  • "Let's have a snap chat." This is a quick meeting when you pick up your tax return. Don't panic - we would not give you bad news during a snap chat. Be more concerned if we call you in for a deep dive meeting.

When you have a majority of your information together, mail it in or drop it off. If you prefer to interface, call for an appointment sooner rather tha later. We have a mail slot if you prefer to surf by after hours. Extensions will be prepared for folks who do not have their papers in house before april 1st. Those who think it would be fun to dangle their W-2s in the door after April 5th will be hashed and tagged... in that order.

The back of this letter contains a list of the basic items to bring with you. Payment (cash, check or credit card) is due when your return is picked up. There are generally a couple of open meters to park at in front of the building.

Both of us along with Ken, Chris, Susan A., and Becky are your very own tax team. For those who are new to our firm, welcome. If you enjoyed this crazy letter, you can find several more on our website under "Tools and Resources". See you soon.

LOL,

Susan and Heather :-)

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January 2013

Greetings and salutations from your friends at the Watson Peterson Firm!

The last couple of months have taught us something about human nature. We want drama; we crave it. There is no better example of this than the hype that surrounded the "fiscal cliff" or even better "taxmageddon". Few were able to escape the media temptress and all her wicked banter. As you know, we have always tried to give our clients what they want; "fair and balanced returns and no fear of auditors." We understand that tax sensationalism is an oxymoron; however, in the spirit of delivering a truly dramatic tax experience, we have made a few changes.

  1. For those of you who feel the need for a "strategic tax planning session" call Sue A when you are ready to schedule.
  2. We will spend plenty of time telling you all the awful things that could happen if you do not file your tax return on time even though you will likely be filed on time without any ill effects.
  3. We will play the theme song to Mission Impossible to foster the feeling of urgency. The volumee will
    s-l-o-w-l-y increase every day.
  4. Susan and Heather will disagree with each other about everything and complain about each one's inabililty to get anything done. This of course will be done in a bipartisan and cooperative spirit.
  5. On Tuesdays, we will host several "experts" at the office, randomly selected from passersby in front of our establishment. They will have absolutely no useful information to share and nothing intelligent to say, but we will encourage them to talk anyway.
  6. If you procrastinate and find yourself coming in after April 1st, we will initiate the protocol known as
    Overt Hyper Crisis Rapid Accountant Procedures.

We hope that these changes will quench your desire for a dramatic experience at your accountant's office. When you have most of your information together, please call for an appointment, mail it in or drop it by. We also have a mail slot for after hours deliveries. For those of you who are eternal procrastinaros, your drop dead date is April 1st before an extension will be necessary. Those of you who come in after the 1st may be greeted by a staff member that will make the Mayan calendar scare look warm and fuzzy.

We look forward to anohter year of hard work and fun along the way. The back of this letter contains a list of the basic items to bring with you. See you all soon.

Susan & Heather

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January 2012

Dear Client,

Greetings and a Happy New Year from the Watson Peterson Firm!  Folks, we survived floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, political unrest and a lame royal kiss.  We are all on the same page when we bid adieu to 2011.  We are going to grab hold of this new year with a positive attitude and resolve to make it better than the last.  As your accountants, we will do our part to prepare the most accurate returns possible while making the most of every deduction.  That being said, we would like to review some common tax misconceptions:

  1. Pets are never deductions.  It does not matter if you give them a first and middle name, send them to daycare or dress them up.
  2. It is not a bad debt loss if you pay for your child to get an engineering degree and he/she decides to become a musician.
  3. The amount you spend on lottery tickets is not considered a contribution to your retirement account.
  4. Receipts for business deductions should never be written on cocktail napkins.
  5. Qualifying for “head of household” filing status goes way beyond who “wears the pants” in the family.
  6. The educator expense deduction is not the cost of elaborate gifts you gave your professor to get a good grade.
  7. You throw $100 cash in the church collection plate every week.  Really?
  8. Mileage logs are not an urban legend.  They are actual books where the taxpayer records their business, medical and volunteer miles.  
  9. Blood donations do not qualify as a “depletion allowance”.
  10. The amount you spend to drink Red Bull does not qualify for an energy tax credit.

We hope this quick refresher will avoid some embarrassing conversations around the conference room table.  When you have most of your information together, please call for an appointment, mail it in or drop it by. We have a slot in the front door for night deliveries.  For those of you who are perpetual procrastinators, your drop dead date is April 5th.  After that date an extension will  be necessary. For those who come in after the 5th, you should consider having a bouquet of flowers precede you as you enter the building. 

Christine, Susan A., and Ken join us in welcoming you back for yet another year of fun and excitement in the world of income taxation.  Let the games begin!  The back of this letter contains a list of the basic items to bring with you. See you all soon.

Susan & Heather 

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January 2011

Dear Clients,

Guess what time it is? We look forward to another year of serving you in this our 20th year of doing business! As you know, we are always looking at ways to serve our community and the world around us. This year our firm is "Going Green". As usual, this is a team effort. In order to include you in the movement, we want to give you a heads up on these bold and innovative changes so you are prepared for them.

  • Bring back your 2009 tax return so we can use the other side for the 2010 return.
  • The lights in the conference room are now powered by a stationary bicycle. As our energy must be conserved for pencil pushing, you will be the one pedaling. A candlelight meeting can serve as an alternative for those who are unable to talk and pedal at the same time.
  • Questionable charitable deductions and bogus mileage logs will be burned for heat.
  • Speaking of heat, it will be turned off at noon to conserve energy. There will be a corporate "Snuggle" available for those who choose a late afternoon appointment. A brisk walk around the building before your appointment is recommended.
  • Pencil shavings will be recycled into next year's tax return folders. This should make for a new and interesting color to look forward to.
  • To cut down on carbon dioxide emissions, Sue will shorten her telephone greeting. Besides, you may not be having a good morning or afternoon, so why have it thrust upon you if you are already in an emotionally fragile state.
  • Our printer ink is now made from a biodegradable and nontoxic material. Unfortunately, it also disappears within four years, so let's keep our fingers crossed you will not need your return after year three.

We are hopeful that these simple measures will go far to making our firm's carbon footprint just a little smaller. When you have a majority of your information together, please call for an appointment, mail it in or drop it by. For those who like to push the limits, your magical date is April 5th before an extension will be necessary. For those who come in after the 5th, you will be forced to stir the compost pile behind the building.

Christine, Susan A., Carolyn and Ken again make up "Team Green". We all look forward to another year of hard work and laughs along the way. The back of this letter contains a recycled list of the basic items to bring with you. See you all soon.

Susan & Heather 

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January 2010

Dear Clients,                                                                                                  

Welcome to a new and magical tax season.  Enclosed is your 2009 tax organizer.   The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is packed with tax law changes.  To help us help you, please take the time to complete the questionnaire.

            Although we are excited to see each and every one of you, we are aware the world is on the verge of a pandemic.  Our firm has always taken its social responsibility seriously.  We are determined to do our part to prevent the spread of the H1N1 Virus.  It is our understanding that otherwise healthy taxpayers awaiting news from their accountants often experience symptoms similar to those of the Swine Flu.  These symptoms may include:  headaches, chills, shortness of breath, confusion and irritability.  We do not believe in taking chances with your fiscal or physical health. Since the symptoms could be swine or tax related, we have instituted the following policies for safety’s sake:

  • Clients are asked to keep their hands in their pockets at all time.  The only exception will be for the payment of our bill which is due upon pickup.  
  • There will be a bottle of Germ-X at the office entrance.  Clients who choose not to “d-germ” upon entering will be involuntarily doused with Lysol.  We have chosen a clean linen scent to be fair to both sexes.
  • The yellow biohazard jumpsuits the staff will be wearing are functional but not very attractive.  We would appreciate any fashion jokes to be kept to yourself.
  • If you must use the phone, a staff member will hold the receiver no less than six inches from your mouth and instruct you to talk loudly.
  • If a sneeze comes on, we ask that you hold your sneeze until you have exited the building.  We do not buy the whole “sneeze in your elbow” theory.  Many of you are huggers and we can not take that kind of chance.
  • An appointment is not worth the lives of our staff and healthy clients.  If you are sick, reschedule.  Any client who comes in exhibiting flu symptoms (Swine or otherwise) will immediately be escorted to our “sick room”.  This containment area is made of plexi-glass and vents directly outside.  Clients who bring their tax information after April 1st will serve time in this area as well.  The later the date, the longer the stay.

              Once the mail carrier has “coughed up” a majority of your tax-related papers, feel free to make an appointment, drop off or mail in your packets.  Be sure to take a look at the back of this letter and include whatever extras that pertain to you. 

            As you see in the letterhead, Heather became my partner this year.  Although the name has changed, the players are all the same.  To celebrate, the “& Company” part of the firm wanted to give away a free trip to the Bahamas.  We thought this was a great idea……for another firm.  Instead, we will be handing out some lovely new pens that are hygienically sealed.  Christine, Susan A, Ken, Carolyn and Karen join us in welcoming you back. We look forward to seeing you soon. 

Susan & Heather 

January 2009          

Dear Clients,

            Here we are again.  This past year we saw war, rising and falling gas prices, a historical presidential election, and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  In light of the pinch that is being felt, we have decided to hold our costs down.  That being said, we must remind you that there is no such thing as a free lunch and we need your help.  In order to accomplish this, we have instituted the following cost saving measures to compensate for our rising costs:  

  • We will only be printing every other page of each tax return.  You may choose your preference of either odd or even pages.
  • Appointments will be limited to 50 minutes.  A blinking light will indicate a five minute warning before the conference room lights are turned off.
  • The magazines in the waiting area will be the same as last tax season.  On the positive side, the news was much happier then. 
  • We ask that each client bring in four staples, three paper clips and two sticky notes.
  • Clients are encouraged to bring in their own colored folder.  The chosen color this year is black.
  • We will be recycling coffee grounds.  If you prefer a more robust cup of coffee, it is in your best interest to book a morning appointment.  There will be an extra charge for creamer and sugar substitutes.
  • The last client of each evening will be responsible for emptying the trash cans.

            In all seriousness, we have been working over the summer to make ourselves more efficient.  We now have a voice mail system so you can leave detailed information for any one of us if we are unavailable.  We are making better use of email to communicate with all of you who are technologically inclined.  For those of you who find it hard to pop by, we can mail the completed returns to you for added convenience. 

Our letter would not be complete if we did not reiterate our payment and scheduling policies.  Payment is due upon presentation of the tax return.  Returns will not be e-filed until payment has been made.  We will consider extenuating circumstances but only if accompanied by a doctor’s note.  For those of our clients who are habitual procrastinators, the drop dead date for bringing information to us is April 1st.  Anyone who dares to tempt fate and show up on the 2nd will be escorted to our file room and be forced to watch a tape we made of all three of the last presidential debates.  This is by far worse than the trap door that took a few of you last year. 

My crew of Heather, Christine, Susan, Carolyn and Ken all look forward to serving you this tax season.  Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to do some serious work and have fun along the way.  The back of this letter contains information that was just not funny enough to be called front page material.  Are we looking forward to seeing you?  You betcha!

Sincerely,

SUSAN M. WATSON, CPA

January 2008

Dear Clients:

            Not even the strong pen of the Writers Guild of America could prevent this year’s letter from being written.  Last month we thought Congress was going to hold us up with the heated Alternative Minimum Tax debate.  At last, they resolved the issue by deciding not to make a decision at this time. 

            The show must go on regardless of striking writers or indecisive lawmakers, so enclosed is your 2007 Tax Organizer.  If you have not yet embraced the organizer, at least be brave and open the envelope this year.  If you find yourself with a renewed sense of strength to continue, please review the first few pages and complete the questionnaire.  Feel free to express yourself by using different colored pens, pencils or crayons. 

            If you are a new client (and still want to come and see us after receiving your first organizer letter) do not feel overwhelmed.  Simply make an appointment with Susan or Heather when you have a majority of your information and we will go through the packet together.  On the back of this letter there is a list of items we would like you to bring to our office. 

            A majority of the tax returns we prepare are filed electronically.  We have been E-filing returns for several years and have found the process to be safer and more efficient with each year.  If you are still not comfortable with the idea of E-filing, let us know. 

            Please have your tax information to our office by March 30th.  We have installed a trap door in the reception area.  Any wiseacre that tries to sneak in after the 5th of April without a peace offering or a good excuse will plummet six feet to the basement below.   

            We accept VISA, Master Card, Discover, checks and cash.  Payment is due when the return is picked up. Your return will not be E-filed until payment has been received unless you have made an E-arrangement with Susan. 

            This year’s team has grown to include Heather, Chris, Susan A., Ken, Carolyn and me.  We will see you before you can say “refund”.

Sincerely,

SUSAN M. WATSON, CPA            

January 2007

Dear Clients:

            Here it is folks…… the much anticipated 2006 Tax Organizer.  We thought you might be looking for something to do since there is no snow to shovel.  If you choose not to fill out the organizer in its entirety (and you know who you are), please take the time to update the client information on the first few pages and complete the questionnaire.  These sections are best done at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee or brandy since it is a review of what happened in the prior year.

            If you are a new client or wish to come in and go through the organizer with us, call and make an appointment when you have a majority of your information.  We can prepare the return and then drop in the information that comes later. On the back of this letter there is a list of items we would like you to bring to our office.

            Both the IRS and New York State are getting very pushy about electronic filing.  We have been e-filing returns for several years and have found the process to be safer and more efficient with each year.  If you are still not comfortable with the idea of e-filing, let us know.  We do not charge extra for this service.

            Please have your tax information to our office by March 30th.  Cheerful personalities and pleasant smiles begin to phase out on April 1st.  Clients who think it might be fun to drop their tax return information on April 10th, may wish to reconsider.  Have you ever seen a zookeeper feed a lion raw meat past lunchtime?  That is all we have to say about that!

            We accept VISA, Master Card, checks and cash.  Payment must be made when the return is picked up unless some arrangement involving dish washing has been made with Susan. 

            All kidding aside, Heather, Chris, Sue A, Ken and I are looking forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

SUSAN M. WATSON, CPA            

January 2006

Dear Clients:

            It’s beginning to look a lot like tax time!  You can stop checking your mailbox, enclosed is the 2005 Tax Organizer.  Even if you decide to go on a tax strike and refuse to fill out the organizer, please go through the first few pages to update the client information and complete the questionnaire. 

            If you are a new client or wish to come in and go through the organizer with us, call and make an appointment when you have a majority of your information.  We can prepare the return and then drop in the information that comes later. On the back of this letter there is a list of items we would like you to bring to our office.

            Both the IRS and New York State encourage electronic filing.  We have been e-filing returns for several years and have found the process to be safer and more efficient with each year.  If you are still not comfortable with the idea of e-filing, let’s talk. Some returns cannot be e-filed.

            Are you eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption? You may be able to sign up to have the tax department directly submit information to the town clerk which will automatically renew your exemption.  No more crazy forms to fill out, no more March 1st deadline, no more making copies of your tax returns and no more personal visits to Town Hall.  Let us know if you are interested in signing up for the program.

Please have your tax information to our office by March 30th.  Clients who stroll in after April 1st may wish to simply open the front door, drop their information and run back to their cars in order to avoid an ugly scene. 

            We accept VISA, Master Charge, checks and cash as payment.  Please, no live chickens in exchange for services.  Payment must be made when the return is picked up.  Those who forget their wallets may be asked to leave their shoes until payment has been made.  All kidding aside, Heather, Chris, our new Sue A. and I are looking forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

SUSAN M. WATSON, CPA

January, 2005

Dear Clients:

            Once again, the time has come.  The "highly anticipated" 2004 Tax Organizer is enclosed.  Pay special attention to the obvious information such as the social security numbers, addresses, dependents, etc.  Also go through the questionnaire to see if any of the items apply to you.  If you are feeling ambitious, you may use the packet to organize the tax documents as they come in.  If you prefer, we can fill it in together over a cup of coffee when we meet.

            For our meeting, bring the following information:

  • The enclosed organizer (either blank or filled in)
  • A copy of your 2003 tax return, only if it was not prepared by this office.
  • Form(s) W-2 (wages, etc.).
  • Form(s) 1099 (interest, dividends, pensions, stocks sales, etc.).
  • Schedule(s) K-1 (income/loss from partnerships, S corporations, estates, trusts, etc.)
  • Form(s) 1098 (mortgage interest) and property tax statements.
  • Closing statements pertaining to real estate transactions.
  • Any tax notices received from the IRS or other taxing authorities.
  • Documentation for any substantial charitable gifts.

Call for an appointment with either Heather or myself when you are well rested and ready for the fun to begin.  If you are waiting for one or two documents that usually arrive late (like a K-1), call for an appointment early.  We can at least get the majority of your information in the system and be poised at the fax machine to await the remaining items.  We urge you to call at your earliest convenience to allow time to resolve any outstanding issues and to avoid last minute delays. 

In order to file your return in a timely manner we must have your tax information no later than March 30th.  Anyone who walks in the door after April 1st should be bearing gifts and a doctor’s note.  Clients who are eligible for the enhanced STAR exemption should try to get their information to us in early February to meet the March deadline. 

We accept VISA and Master Charge.  Payment is required at the time you pick up your returns unless other arrangements are made in advance.  Please contact us if you need further assistance.  Heather, Chris, Cathy and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Sincerely,

SUSAN M. WATSON, CPA

 

 
Watson, Peterson & Company CPAs, PLLC : : 158 LaFayette Street, Schenectady, NY 12305 : : Ph: (518) 372-9518 : : Fx: (518) 372-9590