Preparing your own income tax return can be a task that leaves you with more questions than answers. According to a study released by the US Government's General Accounting Office, most taxpayers (77% of 71 million taxpayers) believe they benefited from using a professional tax preparer.
Furthermore, in our experience, nearly every self-prepared return or return prepared by a H&R Block type firm has been incorrect in some way, shape, or form. Do these mistakes matter? In some cases, they may be small mistakes, but in others, they may be massive.
Saving on tax preparation fees by using a low cost shop may seem like a good idea, but from our experience, the risk of making a mistake so massive that it may take you years or most likely decades to break even generally outweighs the benefits of low cost tax preparation. We have seen several cases where relatively simple mistakes resulted in overpayment of taxes by $7,000-$9,000 per year. With dollar amounts that large, paying a bit extra for your tax preparation each year will easily pay for itself by avoiding these kinds of issues when they do pop up.
Whether we like it or not, today's tax laws are so complicated that filing a relatively simple return can be confusing. It is just too easy to overlook deductions and credits to which you are entitled. Even if you use a computer software program there's no substitute for the assistance of an experienced tax professional.
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