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Untrue but Common Misconceptions

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 the most important misconception to squash. Preparers differ in many ways including costs, timeliness, and quality. Make sure you can trust your preparer.
  • It takes just the click of a button to prepare a tax return, in other words, computers do all the work – This misconception is interesting because it wasn’t until recently that the accounting industry utilized programs like QuickBooks, which automates some accounting tasks. In the future, it may be just that easy to prepare a tax return but that is certainly not the case today.
  • There is no training needed to prepare taxes, that is to say, anyone could do it – This perception is flat out false. Not just anyone can perform the essential tasks of a preparer and you shouldn’t want “just anyone” to. For example, if you have stayed up-to-date on new tax laws you will have noticed, they can be very confusing. Therefore, consulting an expert, like Jeri, is ideal when preparing your taxes.
  • Tax preparers are a part of the IRS and their work is a government service – This perception is also untrue. If all accountants worked for the IRS, then the IRS would certainly not be understaffed like it is today.
  • All tax returns are the same – There are many types of tax returns. For example, form 1040 is for individual tax returns. Form 1040EZ is for single or joint filers with no dependents.
  • Not getting audited means the preparer is doing a good job – Note the IRS can take up to three years to audit someone based on a previous return. This means you could think your books or taxes are fine for three years only to find out later that you are getting audited.

Somewhat True Perceptions

  • Fees for preparing taxes are too high – This claim depends on the firm you use. There are definitely firms out there that overcharge. Be sure to check competing firms in the area to make sure you get a fair price. Also, note if a task like bookkeeping is done by the hour, make sure that firm does bookkeeping in a timely manner.
  • Preparers only work during tax season – This is false, preparers can work year-round or just during tax season. Just take Andrews Tax Accounting for example. We are a firm open all year.

Links for your Convenience

View more misconceptions from Accounting Today!

Additionally, you can learn more about our tax services on our Tax Preparation page.