Inn allows guests to check in and get their taxes checked out

Thursday, April 10, 2003

GRANBY, Conn. -- Checking their bags and settling in for a mini-vacation at the Dutch Iris Inn Bed and Breakfast was going to be a taxing experience for Patrick and Diane Sullivan.

But that's what drew them to this quaint inn's doorstep.

The Simsbury couple was taking advantage of a rather unusual travel offer: Host Kevin Marshall, a certified public accountant, promised to give them a night's rest, breakfast for two and a completed federal Form 1040 at checkout.

"Our tax file has been sitting in the dining room since January 31st," Diane said, leaning back on a living room couch to begin knitting in front of a fire.

"It seemed like a great way to pass it off to someone else."

Marshall, who has worked in big firms and owned his own small West Hartford business, said his favorite part of accounting had been talking to his clients -- a natural segue into innkeeping.

"I never got the chance to do that all the time in accounting," he said.

The inn began offering the tax package this year after two clients suggested Marshall's accounting experience would provide the perfect extra amenity. While the offer is limited this year to Connecticut residents filing individual returns, Marshall said he is planning to expand the offer to residents across the country next year.

The cost of the stay is tax-deductible -- on next year's return -- because it is a tax preparation charge, Marshall said.

Room rates vary from $109 to $139 a night.

For the Sullivans, the offer was too good to pass up. Having left their three boys with their grandmother while they escaped for the evening, there was only one more thing they could ask for.

"There's a guarantee on the refund, right, Kevin?" Patrick Sullivan asked.

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