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Writing Off Expenses on a Martian Farm: The Trouble with Oscar-Nominated Clients

LeoIt’s Oscar season, and this year’s list of nominated films includes many characters you definitely wouldn’t want to meet in your reception area on a frantic Saturday morning. As busy season gets into full swing, here are some potential nightmare clients from current and past Oscar-nominated movies that you’ll be happy you don’t have to face in person.

Hugh Glass, “The Revenant.” The bearskin coat kind of says it all, doesn’t it? It’s certainly going to set this man apart from most of the usual clients. Glass is a fur trapper who’s left for dead and faces extraordinary hardships during a long, harrowing journey through the wilderness. At some point he wins a tough fight with a grizzly and uses its skin as a coat. Understandably, he’s not a big talker, so it will be hard to determine his long- and short-term financial goals. You also have to expect that much of his documentation for income and expenses is hard to locate.  

Mark Watney, “The Martian.” Talking about working with a client remotely! This takes virtual services to a new level. And while you may have wrestled with the complications of filing for U.S. expatriate or foreign clients before, when you deal with interplanetary tax situations you’re really breaking new ground. Another wrinkle: Where and how are you supposed to report information on income and expenses from Watney’s Martian farm?

Vito Corleone, “The Godfather.” He seems like a nice enough older gentleman, but the sullen associates who accompany him at all times are downright creepy. Since this crime boss’s must famous quote is, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” you may want to think twice about saying no to him. Other complications might include a very spotty paper trail for the family’s businesses and trouble getting in touch with various family members or business associates because they tend to, umm, disappear.   

Llewellyn Moss, “No Country for Old Men.” He runs into your office clutching a bag of cash, $2.4 million to be exact. He seems extremely nervous, almost as if someone is following him. That’s because the main character in this movie, which received the best picture award in 2007, has stolen the money that was left behind when a drug deal went horribly wrong. This man could be the poster boy for the section of your client acceptance checklist marked “Decline.”

Gollum, “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” In this 2003 best picture winner, Gollum remains as shifty and unreliable as ever. Because he’s obsessed with a ring that he calls his “precious,” it may be quite a challenge to get him to focus on sound financial planning and asset management, especially since his age and expected retirement date could be hard to estimate. It might also be tough to get any final decisions out of him and his kindly alter ego, Sméagol. And definitely don’t let him take you on any walking tours of volcanoes.  

Matthew Burry, “The Big Short.” He spends his days slamming on his drum set along with loud heavy metal music. He prefers not to wear shoes. He’s also a genius who was one of the few people who anticipated one of the worst financial crises in history and chalked up returns of nearly 500% on his hedge fund as a result. Given his mix of outstanding success and strong and eccentric personality, he will definitely be a client who will inspire mixed feelings and require more than the usual hand-holding.

Which famous movie character would you least like to see walking through your door? Considering that question with other firm members could be a fun activity during busy season. It will definitely help you appreciate your real clients even more!


Leonardo DiCaprio image courtesy of Shutterstock


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