There is an article by The Hill, distributed this morning with the headline: “Congress slow to help IRS tackle problem of incompetent tax preparers.” The article refers to the absence of effective regulations and standards governing tax preparers. There is a much larger issue than that. and it begins with the fact that tax preparation and filing is too complex. Tax laws are too complex. I have never used a tax preparation service as I have always done my own. Saved by tax preparation software, I was able to navigate both home and business forms. This has been largely successful, but not without some problems. When things go wrong in the process, it can be a nightmare to correct.
Sparing the details that are personal and confidential, let’s just say that if you make a mistake in claiming business expenses, or missing a revenue filing, or whatever, correction isn’t just filing an amended return. Doing that triggers more scrutiny at both the federal and state level of filing. Once tax administrators get onto your case, a simple conversation and corrective action can lead to more and more inspection. While everything may be alright, it is the seemingly endless process of communicating that requires responses that can drive one crazy. All the while, the tax bureaucrats may be very polite, but that does not cover for the loss of time and distraction.
The main point is that federal taxation and state taxation should not require the average citizen to arm themselves with tax preparers, accountants and lawyers. If software is needed, that should be a part of the federal administration process. Perhaps the government should provide the automation software and system, not like Obamacare, but more like Intuit. Are incompetent tax preparers truly a big problem in America today?