Whenever I go to a social gathering and meet a person for the first time, usually the first question I am asked is “You are an accountant? May I ask you a personal tax question?” It seems everyone has a tax question for accountants. The questions range from asking how many exemptions they should put on their W-4 form for withholding taxes on their paycheck, to asking what expenses are deductible on their tax return. I was at a party and was introduced to a person who immediately began telling me of a tax problem he had which was affecting his ability to qualify for a mortgage to purchase a house. His previous tax returns were prepared by a tax preparation service not a CPA firm. During this conversation, I discovered he had additional tax problems that would need to be addressed. He instantly wanted our firm to prepare amended tax returns for him and get his business and individual income taxes and finances straightened out. The tax preparation service did not ask the client the proper questions to put the correct information on his tax returns.
As I was having this conversation with this potential client, I kept thinking of the saying, “You get what you pay for.” For many people, it is cheaper and more convenient to walk into a tax preparation service, have your tax return prepared with no questions asked in twenty minutes and not think about your taxes until next year. It is worth paying the extra cost now to a CPA firm to prepare your tax returns rather than paying the IRS later for back taxes, interest and penalties.
-Brian Reilly, Manager