Not everyone has a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to prepare their taxes. Many people prepare their taxes themselves; others use tax preparation software or chain tax preparation services such as Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block, or Liberty Tax Service to prepare their taxes. This can be a huge issue as preparation software has the base rules but cannot always tell the consumer of all other possible deductions they are eligible for because things like that are on a per person basis.
Chain preparation services are a calamity waiting to happen in many ways; every year they get hundreds of freshly trained tax preparers, and thousands of seasonal workers, who work with oodles of new people on a daily basis and whom they are not looking out for their best interest but just trying to complete the preparation in a timely fashion so they can help the next customer. Furthermore these inexperienced trainees are not fluent in current tax laws and are much more likely to make mistakes. Quality control in these systems is limited and has led to multiple suits over discrepancies.
These reasons alone build a strong case for getting a CPA that specializes in tax preparation to assist you. The process followed at your CPA’s office can vary but usually someone will prepare your taxes, they or your CPA will contact you with questions and verify various pieces of information, and those taxes will be reviewed by two or more people before being signed.
Additionally you will likely form a bond with your CPA and they are looking out for your best interests in most cases and will spend more time with you than preparers at chain tax preparation services will allow. Though the CPA is more expensive they can also represent you in IRS hearings which are an added advantage. It is important to pick a CPA that is dedicated to what is best for you and your future. In further articles we will discuss what to look for in a CPA so that you can choose one that is right for you.