Monday, January 11, 2016
FINDING A TAX PROFESSIONAL
About 60% of taxpayers turn to professional tax preparers for help in filing their federal and state income tax returns each year.
While some attempt to use a “box” to prepare their tax returns, it is important to understand that no software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code. And no tax software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.
Don’t listen to the ads that appear at tax time and tell you that using a particular tax preparation software package is “easy”. Let’s face it – taxes ain’t easy. If they were there would not be close to a million professional preparers out there. To say that using a specific tax software package makes a complicated subject easy is nonsense!
As with any software program the rule is "garbage in - garbage out". If you don't know how to enter the information, or what information to enter, you will not get the best, or even a correct, answer.
IRS statistics indicate that taxpayers using do-it-yourself tax software spend an average of between 6 and 10+ hours longer preparing their tax returns (depending on the number of worksheets and schedules) than taxpayers who do manual calculations. Further, the IRS estimates that do-it-yourself software users spend an average of 10 to over 20 hours longer on the return than if they used a paid tax preparer, again depending on the returns’ complexity.
When the IRS comes after you for errors on your tax return you can’t blame it on the software (unless you are a government official). The US Tax Court has on several occasions rejected the "Turbo-Tax Defense" when a taxpayer attempted to blame tax preparation software for a negligent tax return.
You don’t save any time or get any added guarantees of accuracy. Paying a competent tax professional to do your return is ultimately much cheaper than taking a chance with a tax software package or an online service!
If you need to find a qualified and competent tax professional to prepare your 2015 tax returns you can begin your search at my website FIND A TAX PROFESSIONAL.
The site includes many articles with advice and information on choosing a tax pro, including –
ALPHABET SOUP - What do all the initials mean?
DON'T ASSUME - A CPA is not automatically a 1040 tax expert, and Henry and Richard Ain't Cheap!
CHOOSING A TAX PROFESSIONAL - What to avoid.
WHAT TO ASK A PREPARER - Questions to ask a potential tax preparer.
THE COST OF TAX PREPARATION - How much will a tax preparer charge?
It also includes links to some databases of tax professionals.
Once you have found a tax pro there is information on –
WHAT TO GIVE YOUR TAX PROFESSIONAL - Make sure you provide your tax pro with everything he/she needs to properly prepare your return.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE! - Regardless of who prepares your return you are responsible for everything on it.
WHEN TO CONTACT YOUR TAX PRO - Call your tax pro if any of these events happen.
The site also contains details on online and print tax planning and preparation resources.
So go to FIND A TAX PROFESSIONAL now – and good luck with your search.