The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants – AICPA – has received an appellate court victory that will positively affect many US taxpayers. The issue: the knowledge and ability of a tax preparer to correctly and effectively complete your tax return.
The primary issues here are experience and applicable fundamental accounting knowledge. The IRS approved a program that allowed any person, without accounting education or experience or an appropriately credentialed background to take 18 hours of continuing education, sit for a 100 question test and if they pass receive credentials that allow them to prepare IRS tax returns with the agency’s stamp of approval.
Taxpayers would have a stamp from the IRS that told them the preparer was a certified expert, and assume that they were receiving professional service from a trusted provider.
This strategy would ensure that the IRS equipped a cast of tax preparers who would miss many important tax issues and strategies beneficial to the US taxpayer, resulting in the taxpayer owing a much higher tax bill than they should have paid based upon general accounting principles and US tax law.
The net result: the IRS garners substantially higher revenues at the expense of US taxpayers who thought their return was being handled by an expert.
Far from it. One recent specific example might highlight the issue:
A return was brought in for my review – the type of work that one would expect from a tax preparer who did not have years of real life tax, legal and accounting experience and expertise. The primary issue was deductions, which are the central means for reducing a taxpayers bill. The issue on this return was how the deductions were structured, and which spouse they were associated with. A straight forward assesment by one of our senior staff quickly recognized the underlying issue. The resulting change to the return generated a savings of $12,000 in the amount of tax owed. If the taxpayer had simply accepted the quality of work of a national tax preparer, they would have paid $12,000 more than they owed, based upon one single error.
Tax preparation is a serious issue, and if you have anything more than a five figure W-2 you should consider the value and protections provided by experienced, seasoned and credentialed tax preparation. If you are a business owner, have offshore bank accounts or investments, or simply earn a substantial amount of money we invite you to contact us for a free and substantive consultation at 866-631-3470. We consistently save our tax clients a substantial amount of money.
The order of the Appellate Court provides legal “standing” for the AICPA to challenge the IRS’ plans in Court. The IRS is accusing the AICPA of trying to eliminate less expensive competition from certified public accountants. Ask yourself two simple questions:
Whose best interest would be served by the certification of tax preparers without adequate accounting and tax expertise? Do you believe the IRS is concerned with the cost of tax preparation for US taxpayers?
The IRS has one mission: increase the amount of taxes collected into the US Treasury. The program under challenge by the AICPA is simply another strategy to reduce the genuine knowledge, assistance and tax savings available to the general public. It is designed to increase the amount of taxes you pay.