Today TaxMama hears from Noe in Texas, who wants to know. “Why should taxpayers avoid companies that prepare tax returns free of charge on the condition that the customer uses their refund as a down payment on a car or that offers them the refund as a loan like that? How they can do better?”
OK, Noe, Think about it. You go into a used car dealership, or some place that wants to sell you something that costs thousands of dollars. What is their biggest concern? Is it you?
Hardly! It’s to sell you something. Something expensive.
So they do their best to manipulate your tax return numbers so you get the highest refund, whether it’s legal or true or not.
They get you big refunds – and give you a refund anticipation loan to ensure that you sign your refund over to them.
None of the Enrolled Agents or CPAs that I know work in places like that. So, who the heck works in those places? People with no experience? And no training at all? As it happens, in some states, the preparers don’t even need to be licensed and have barely any training – just enough to use the software.
The Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olsen visited some of those quickie tax prep locations last year. And that’s why she proposed that all tax preparers should be brought under the oversight of IRS.
Senate Bill 832 was introduced by Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico last year. It was sent to the Senate Finance Committee – and seems to have been buried there since April 18, 2005.
So Congress isn’t going to take care of you. You’ll have to do it yourself. TaxMama urges you to stay away from those places.
How can you do better?
Easily. If you don’t know how to prepare your own tax return, these are your best options:
1) Go to an IRS VITA site where you can get free help, by IRS trained volunteers if your income is low enough.
2) Go to a real, experienced tax professional and use the same person year after year. Establish a relationship.
Remember, you’ll find answers to questions about preparing your tax returns and all kinds of tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com
- Ask TaxMama :: Where taxes are fun and answers are free
- MarketWatch.com Story :: Taxpayers Advocate Report 2005
- Senate Bill 832 :: To regulate tax professionals