I haven’t done the sales taxes for any clients in months; the boss hired a new person to be in charge of all of them. Which was a good thing, as the tax rush left me little time for anything else.
Today my supervisor called me in to her office and asked if I’d done any of the taxes for Client X. Nope, not I—I’d been doing the expenses and reports, but none of their taxes.
She handed me copies of the sales reports they’d sent us for the last few months, and asked me to work up the sales taxes on them and see what I got.
Our normal procedure for doing sales taxes is to set up a spreadsheet for them. The initial set-up is a bit of work, making sure you’re including all the appropriate tax calculations and detailing which part of the tax form they go into. After that it’s pretty easy, just plug in the new numbers each month and the spreadsheet does the math for you. But as with any computation, computer or otherwise, you have to make sure you’re putting in the correct numbers if you want the correct answer.
Clearly my supervisor had doubts that the new girl was coming up with the correct answer for this particular case, so I didn’t use her spreadsheet. Instead I set up a new one from scratch, doing a little research online to make sure I was taxing what should be taxed and not taxing what shouldn’t. The client had circled one of the numbers on his reports, but it wasn’t the number I wanted. He had circled his gross profits, not his sales, and some of his sales weren’t taxable and weren’t to be included. He also had a “total sales” number off to the side that didn’t appear to be related to anything else on his report; after some poring over it, I gave up trying to figure out how he’d come up with that number and just went with his base sales figures. I picked out the numbers I needed and set up my little spreadsheets, then brought them back to my supervisor.
“This is what I get,” I showed her. “I used these sales numbers here; I don’t know where he got those totals on the side—”
“So it wasn’t just me!” she interjected. “I couldn’t figure out where those numbers came from either.”
We determined that my numbers for sales taxes were considerably lower than the other girl’s, because she was using the “gross profits” number that the client had circled, and that number included sales that he didn’t need to pay taxes on. “That’s why I wanted you to double-check it,” said my supervisor, “because you’re good about going online and researching things you’re not sure about.” We showed it to the other girl so she could correct her spreadsheet, and all was well. (Fortunately Client X pays quarterly so we hadn’t yet actually sent in that overly high tax payment.)
Turns out having your supervisor use you as a check to see if other people are doing it right makes you feel pretty smart. *brainflex*