Watch Out For Accountants’ Gimmicks

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Oh yes, even accountants have gimmicks they employ to try and get you to use their services.  Let’s not say that they will come right out and lie, there are honest accountants after all, but they won’t try to dissuade you from some of the following inaccurate beliefs.

Accountants want you to believe that your income tax return is too difficult for you to file yourself.  With the rates a CPA will charge you to file your income tax return, they must have some special sort of trick up their sleeves, right?

Well, under certain circumstances you can probably file your own income tax return just as effectively as any accountant.  If you rent, work for someone else, and don’t have an investment income, you can file a 1040EZ with the Internal Revenue Service.  A 1040EZ is just that; it’s easy.  There is no reason you would need an accountant or anyone else to file forms for you under these circumstances.  They do not have any mystical tax talents to create a tax break where one does not exist.  Even if your circumstances are a little more complicated, like you meet the previous criteria but you do have some investments, the Turbo Tax program will cost you about $50 to prepare such a return.  The accountant will charge you more than that for you to walk through his door and sit in his chair.  Even if you have your own business, Turbo tax will prepare the return for around $110.  Still, far less than a CPA.

Next, they want you to believe that you could make a mistake.  On this one they are right.  Guess what?  They could make a mistake too, and they often do.  In a limited study of national tax preparing services, the Government Accountability Office found that all of the returns filed from metropolitan errors had errors.  That number, again, was all the returns.  Yeah, you could make a mistake.  So, what?

Next, the accountants will infer that if you do not use a CPA, you will get audited.  No one knows the standards the IRS uses to determine who and when to audit, but who prepared your return probably isn’t one of them.  Of taxpayers with earnings under $100,000, only about one percent get audited every year.  I’ll take a one percent chance against a CPA’s rates any day.  How about you?

Now, they’ll tell you that you get more personalized service.  While I admit that a computer program isn’t nearly as engaging as a human individual, the one preparing the return with a Turbo Tax program is you.  I respectfully suggest that it just doesn’t get any more personalized than that.  Secondly, accountants are like doctors, the more people they see the more money they make.  Do you think they want to spend extra time with you?

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