Recently, Accounting Today, a trade magazine, collected the many misconceptions about tax preparers. The following is a list of common beliefs the public has towards tax preparers.
- All tax preparers are equal – This is not true. Preparers differ in many ways including costs, timeliness, and quality. Make sure that you can trust your preparer and check others to make sure that you are getting a fair price.
- Computers do all the work – It wasn’t until recently that the accounting industry utilized programs like QuickBooks, which automates some accounting tasks. In the future some accounting tasks may be fully automated, but that is certainly not the case today.
- There is no training needed to prepare taxes, that anyone could do it – Anyone that has tried to stay up-to-date on the new tax laws have noticed they can be very confusing. Therefore consulting a professional can be very beneficial at tax time.
- Tax preparers are a part of the IRS and their work is a government service – While accountants must comply with IRS rules, our goal is to serve the public. Hence the term certified public accountant (CPA).
- All tax returns are the same – There are many types of tax returns. Most taxpayers are familiar with Form 1040 for individuals, but different returns are required for businesses and other entities.
- Not getting audited means the preparer is doing a good job – Note that the IRS can take up to three years to audit someone based on a previous return. For this reason it is important to keep most accounting records for at least three years, some for even longer.
- Preparers only work during tax season – This is false, for many CPA firms tax season is a year-round business. Merendino Accounting is always available to answer any questions you have.