The tax software companies want you to believe that their software’s interview process is all you need to prepare your own taxes and it is very convincing. After all, that’s what marketing does; convinces you that their product will work for you.
They try to say it is a one size fits all. It’s like you thinking you should get the same refund or pay less tax just like your neighbor. You have no idea about their tax situation so how can an off the shelf software know? Whether software’s interview covers all the bases, your answers are where the problems lie. If you don’t understand the question, how can your answer be valid?
How many times have you purchased something based on an ad and discovered the product was garbage?
Tax jargon is a language unto itself. Even simplified, it is confusing. People don’t know the difference between an exemption on a W4 vs. the exemptions on a 1040 vs the exemption on the new ACA forms. They aren’t the same yet all use the same word: Exemption. If the word pops up on your software interview, will you know which exemption it refers to? No.
That is just the beginning of a tricky situation and there are many in the world of tax preparation.
If you have any doubts that there are parts of your financial life you’re not covering in your tax return, or if you find yourself going beyond the simplest income forms, you should consider using a professional tax preparer. Forcing your way through this process blindly is worth neither the hassle nor the potential for error. In addition to saving you time, a good professional will walk you through the complexities of your individual situation in an uncomplicated way, show you things you overlooked, and remain an advisor throughout the year, not just at the tax deadline—You won’t be treated like a user agreement you need to click through to finish. When you file with an enrolled agent (EA), with an established tax practice, you’ll save time, headaches, and possibly some money.
Would you buy off-the-shelf software and rewire your house?
When so much is at stake, wouldn’t you prefer an Enrolled Agent standing between you and the IRS? An Enrolled Agent is the breaker box that can save you when something short circuits. Will boxed software do that for you?
Don’t buy into marketing hype that wants you to think it’s easy enough to do it on your own.
It’s not easy. It shouldn’t be. EAs answer 300 questions on tax, ethics and IRS procedure. No other test does that (the CPA test in FL has only 60 questions). The Enrolled Agent license is the only license that requires tax continuing education.
Enrolled Agents: the ONLY Federally Authorized and credentialed tax professionals. – The highest credential issued by the US Government…
Jeffrey Schneider, EA, CTRS, NTPI Fellow, firstname.lastname@example.org, 772-337-1040