Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I got some response to my post on “And You Wonder Why I Do Not Use Tax Preparation Software”.

The first came from the author of the article in the PA-NATP chapter newsletter that “inspired” the post, the newsletter’s editor Samuel A Wingard.

I enjoyed your ‘Wondering Tax Pro’ piece. You very accurately stated what I have long thought to be the downsides of tax prep software. It does tend to make preparers lazy and certainly its supposed time savings are much overrated. I recall from my early years in this business (working for H&R Block) when we switched from manual to computer returns. We all thought we would be able to do so much more in less time. Well, it didn’t happen. The time not spent doing hand calculations was spent trying to figure out how to get the software to do the job. That said; I still would not want to go back to doing returns by hand.”

In my case I never stopped doing returns by hand – so I would have to waste time to learn the software from scratch.

And my occasional verbal, or rather written, sparring partner – although we are now both on the same side of the IRS tax pro regulation issue - Joe Kristan of the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG weighed in -

Robert passes on a tax software horror story, which we all have.  Yet for all of its flaws, there is a reason most practitioners use tax software.  It saves an enormous amount of duplicative work, avoids the vast majority of math errors, and enables you to get much more done.  But you don’t want to cheap out on your software — you get what you pay for.

Robert is welcome to his hand-crafted returns, but I’d quit rather than do a 20-state 1065 by hand.”

My reply to Joe –


I would never take on a 20-state 1065 in any situation. I am happy with 1040s – enough to have to know.

I will be glad to pass along any 20-state (or even 2 state) 1065s that come knocking at my door to you!

I do not think TPS would save me any time whatsoever. And it certainly would waste three times as much paper! The ONLY advantage is if I have to make a small correction I just have to re-enter one number and just re-print the return. And it allows for electronic submission, doing away with an underpaid civil servant middle-man.

And I am not sure it really avoids a majority of potential math errors.”

Does anyone else out there want to join the discussion?


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