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February 27th, 2008, 4:16pm
10 Things Your Tax Preparer Won't Tell You (http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/104463/10-Things-Your-Tax-Preparer-Won't-Tell-You)
by Janet Paskin
Thursday, February 21, 2008
provided by SmartMoney.com

1. "A big name doesn't always mean better service."

Roughly 135 million Americans file tax returns, and of those, two-thirds pay for help. While solo acts like CPAs and so-called enrolled agents have plenty of clients, almost 20% of taxpayers go through a big franchise like H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax Service to get their refund last year an average $2,255 per return. Problem is, tax preparation and advice depend on the preparer, and in a system of franchises, that means thousands of seasonal employees and limited quality control.

The results can be dangerous. When staffers from the Government Accountability Office went undercover to get returns done by the big chains, they found "nearly all of the returns prepared for us were incorrect to some degree," according to the report. Worse yet, recently filed lawsuits allege that the owners of 125 Jackson Hewitt franchises cost the government $70 million in tax fraud and created an environment "in which fraudulent tax-return preparation is encouraged and flourishes," according to the Department of Justice. Jackson Hewitt says it stands behind its compliance procedures as well as its nationally standardized educational curriculum.

2. "You wouldn't believe what I get away with."

3. "You'd be better off without me."

4. "What are my qualifications? Well, I'm real good at Sudoku."

5. "If it's February, you're too late."

6. "You hired me, but your return is being done by some guy in India."

7. "Taxes, shmaxes let me see what else I can sell you."

8. "If I screw up, I'll pay up."

9. "Tax preparation is an art, not a science."

10. "You could find a much better deal if you'd only shop around."

more... (http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/104463/10-Things-Your-Tax-Preparer-Won't-Tell-You)

February 27th, 2008, 9:15pm
Thanks for posting this--very timely and true.