The True Cost of Do-It-Yourself Taxes

The Average DIY Taxpayer Lost b/w $347-$841

Fellow tax professional Dave Ramsey recently preformed a survey of 2000 taxpayers; about half of who prepared their own returns, and the other half who had them prepared professionally. This is what he found:

When you use software to file your income taxes, there’s a moment, an instant just before the point of no return, when you silently wonder—what if?

What if I didn’t enter the numbers correctly?
What if I miscalculated?
What if I missed a deduction or credit?
What if I claimed a deduction or credit I’m not eligible for?

All that uncertainty is one of the downsides of self-filing. Other disadvantages can hit you where it hurts most—your wallet.

Reduced Refund

Since most folks aren’t tax experts, it’s easy for them to miss deductions or credits when they self-file. They are also more likely to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing their expenses. Either of these mistakes could lower their refund.

Take a look at these numbers from our recent survey of 2,000 of Dave’s Facebook fans.

  • Self-filers got an average refund of just less than $1,500.
  • But folks who had their returns professionally prepared had an average refund of nearly $1,800!
  • Procrastinating self-filers, those who filed their returns during April, got an average refund of more than $1,800, while those who used a pro got an average $2,600 refund!

Those folks potentially lost hundreds of dollars by trying to save a buck and doing their taxes themselves. It doesn’t seem like such a smart choice now, does it?

Magnified Mistakes

The cost of DIY tax prep isn’t limited to the size of your refund. Your mistakes can also cost you in the form of penalties and interest.

The IRS checks every return for a signature (manual or electronic) and math errors and cross-checks all sources of income that are reported via W2s, 1099s, etc. So if you fail to report any income or enter the wrong number in the wrong column, the IRS will call you on it.

And if it turns out you owe taxes, by the time the IRS notifies you, penalties and interest will have already inflated that amount. You’ll be charged a penalty for paying late and you’ll be charged interest from the date the tax was due until the date of payment, and it compounds daily.

By working with a tax professional, you’ll not only have confidence that your taxes will be done right the first time, you’ll also have peace of mind that your tax professional will be there to help you if the IRS has questions about your return. File with [consumer] tax software, and you’re on your own if the IRS comes knocking…

The evidence is clear; trying to save pennies with DIY tax software can cost you thousands of dollars in unclaimed refunds, penalties and/or interest.  And one of the most important losses is your time.  Remember, even if you are using a “free” DIY tax service, you still have to take the time to for research, record keeping, learning the program and double checking all the figures.   It obvious that receiving a larger well deserved refund is more valuable than smaller refund.   However, the old adage that “time is more valuable than money” couldn’t be more true especially when the IRS reports that it can cost a taxpayer up to 32 hours simply to prepare an annual tax return!

So, save yourself time, money & the stress of preparing your income tax return yourself and contact an R&G Brenner tax professional today.  We offer a free consultation for your current year tax returns as well as your 3 previous years returns.  Plus, you can qualify for many promotions that can save you money & even make you money.


DIY Tax Software

Are you thinking of doing your own taxes?

A recent comparison of the top three Tax Preparation Softwares showed that there was little difference between them.  In fact one of the features they share was the opportunity to upgrade to the next level of software from within your return.  One goes as far as offering a review of your return by a living breathing tax preparer… this says to me that the designers of this software don’t necessarily think you should be preparing your own taxes.  Another software offers an enrolled agent to appear with you at the IRS if you are audited.  That may be a nice offer, but if they think it is necessary to provide that, what is the software doing for you?

If you have been thinking about preparing your own tax return this year, please consider it carefully.  The tax laws are complex and they change every year so the only real way to make sure your taxes are done correctly is to see a professional who has studied these laws.  If you have tried to do your taxes on your own and are feeling uncertain as to whether they were done correctly you can come to any R&G Brenner office and get a FREE TAX REVIEW of your last three years taxes.  We will check the returns for accuracy and make sure that you claimed all the possible deductions or credits.  It’s never too late to call the professionals.

Exclusive Interview With TurboTax Whistle Blower

Last week, I did a blog post about Mr. Charles Freret who went on a one-man crusade to expose a flaw in the popular do-it-yourself tax program: Intuit’s TurboTax.  You can read that article & post here.   After Mr. Freret read the aforementioned post, he contacted R&G Brenner and agreed to sit down for an exclusive interview.  Mr. Freret’s story of persistence to discover the truth is incredible.  What he uncovered along his journey is TurboTax is miscalculating tax returns on a large scale.  And upon further investigation, the TurboTax flaw was present not only in the current tax year program, but tax years 2008 & 2007 as well.  Coverups, Lies & Government disinterest all will eventually lead to more money out of TurboTax users pockets.  Here is his story:

R&G Brenner (RGB): How long have you been preparing your own taxes?

Charles Freret (CF):…over 40 years

RGB: So you’re pretty well versed in preparing your own taxes, and you have been doing them by hand!?

CF: Yes

RGB: Was 2010 the first year you used TurboTax?

CF: No, I used it once before in 2004

RGB: But this tax year, you discovered a problem with the calculation of your taxes using TurboTax?

CF: That’s correct, and the only reason I used it this year…was because I had a free [e-file] submission

RGB: In order to get your refund a little faster?

CF: Yes

RGB: Ok…and you discovered that there was a problem with TurboTax increasing your refund.

CF: Yes, by [giving] a deduction twice.

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview With TurboTax Whistle Blower”

Happy April 15th! Last Minute Tax Tips

Well tax day is finally here!  It’s been a rough year for all american taxpayers due to the economic crises; including the employees and associates of R&G Brenner.  Therefore I would like to thank all R&G Brenner associates for their hard work, 12 hour work days and tireless efforts.  Without these experienced professionals, as well as all of our valued and loyal clients, R&G Brenner would not and could not be what it is today.  Thank you all.

Here are some last minute tips:

  • If you owe taxes and are mailing in your returns, be sure the envelopes are postmarked by 11:59pm on April 15th.  If they are not, you will be subject to late filing penalties and interest
  • If you owe taxes and need to file an extension because you are not ready to submit your returns, we can help you.  Remember, an extension does not preclude you from paying your taxes.  They must be sent along with the extension before 4/15
  • Be sure to put primary & secondary (if applicable) Social Security numbers on any checks sent as payments
  • Keep all personal return back up documentation of your deductions for a minimum of 7 years.  Keep all documentation for Business Tax Returns FOREVER.
  • If you have not filed a 2006 tax return, or plan on filing an amended 2006 tax return, they also must be submitted before 4/15.  Any 2006 return submitted after this date will not be accepted, and all potential refunds will be forfeited
  • If you are due a refund, no worries!  You have three years to file.  So don’t kill yourself trying to get your taxes filed by the 4/15 deadline
  • If you filed your taxes yourself R&G Brenner is offering a free review of your self-prepared tax returns.  If your return can be amended to your benefit, we will reduce your quoted fee by the retail amount you spent on your software.  This is especially pertinent for TurboTax filers as it has come to light that their program is miscalculating tax returns.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks again and see you next year!

Benjamin K. Brenner, PRESIDENT

What If Turbotax Makes a Mistake?

TurboTax–the leading do-it-yourself tax software estimated to be used by 40 million taxpayers in 2010–is miscalculating tax returns:

A flaw in the most recent version of TurboTax, the nation’s most popular tax-preparation software, may have caused thousands of retired federal employees to overstate their medical deductions and unwittingly underpay the Internal Revenue Service, according to federal officials.

Overstating your deductions–knowingly or unknowingly–can lead to large penalties and interest since it could take years before the IRS contacts the taxpayer alerting them of an adjustment.

Officials for Intuit, the Mountain View, Calif., company that produces the program, were alerted to the problem last week, after a retired federal worker from Virginia noticed that TurboTax had automatically double-counted his medical insurance premiums as deductions.

When questioned about the problem by a reporter last week, Intuit said it had begun working with the I.R.S. to revise its computer-prompted instructions on TurboTax and prevent such errors in the future.

The program has nonetheless been troubled by occasional glitches and security breeches, notably in 2007, when so many last-minute filers overwhelmed the TurboTax servers that many returns failed to make it to the I.R.S. by the filing deadline.

Both I.R.S. and Intuit officials were scrambling to gauge the scope of the problem involving the federal retirees, but said only a limited number of returns appeared to be involved.

As stated in a previous post here, there are many risks associated with preparing ones own taxes; particularly the prospect of miscalculations due to a failure to apply updates which are released frequently throughout the tax season.  This is not the first time TurboTax has had a calculation error in it’s software, and it won’t be the last. What is disturbing is the amount of persistence the discovering taxpayer had to exert for Intuit & the IRS to acknowledge and correct the problem:

The man who reported the problem, Charlie Freret of Chantilly, Va., stumbled across the error while using a free version of TurboTax to e-file a tax return he had already prepared on paper. Mr. Freret, who retired as a lawyer in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2004, said he had hoped that e-filing would allow him to get his refund more quickly. But the tax return calculated by TurboTax promised him a refund $600 larger than he was entitled to because it automatically added his medical insurance premiums to his deductions — after the computer-generated prompt had instructed him to enter his health care expenses manually.

Mr. Freret reported the problem to Intuit officials and, when the company acknowledged the error but did not issue a broad warning about how to avoid it, decided to report it to the I.R.S. and the Treasury Department. But auditors at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration were unable to duplicate the error when they tested versions of the software, so Mr. Freret contacted members of the news media, including The New York Times.

So it was not until Mr. Freret contacted the media that corrective action was taken by either Intuit or the IRS! Something is not right here.  The IRS & Intuit contends that this calculation error is limited to a small subsection of federal employees, however, judging from the “scrambling” going on, and launched investigations, I wouldn’t be so sure:

J. Russell George, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, said his office was planning to begin a thorough review of TurboTax and similar software, which has become far more widely used than when last audited in 2005.

“This is especially troubling given the fiscal constraints that the nation finds itself in because this problem could allow people to pay less money than they owe,” Mr. George said. “It is truly incumbent upon us to let taxpayers have confidence that the software they use to prepare their returns will be accurate.”

How is it that the last time that the nations largest tax program was audited was 5 years ago?!  That doesn’t seem right.  Bill Singer of Stark & Stark law firm was recently interviewed by Forbes and had this to say:

…what I would say is that if there’s a winner in this mess and, you know, keep in mind that I think the tax code is something like 70,000 pages at this point, I think the winner is clearly TurboTax. I don’t know whether long term that’s a wonderful development because I suspect a lot of folks are going to make mistakes in doing their own taxes. But clearly there’s a trend in everything in life today toward going online and using a computer. And I don’t think that that necessarily bodes well for H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt. So that’s another issue.

If you would like a free review of your self-prepared tax return (TurboTax or other brands), contact us today. R&G Brenner will ascertain if your calculations are correct and check for deductions that the software missed and you deserve.  If your tax return was calculated incorrectly, contact the company and inquire how they intend to compensate you.  Most reputable companies will reimburse any potential penalties assessed due to a calculation error on their part.

Sources: NY Times & Forbes

Half of Americans Will NOT Pay Taxes in 2010

All is not well at the IRS.  According to the Tax Policy Center–and what is surely to exacerbate the Federal budget crisis-47% of American households will pay ZERO federal income taxes this year.

Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability…In recent years, credits for low- and middle-income families have grown so much that a family of four making as much as $50,000 will owe no federal income tax for 2009, as long as there are two children younger than 17, according to a separate analysis by the consulting firm Deloitte Tax.

Even if you do not have to pay federal taxes this year, it is recommended that you still file a return as this is the only way to receive money back that was withheld by your employer.  If you are unsure if you are required to file a tax return or if you are due money back from your employer, contact us today.

Tax cuts enacted in the past decade have been generous to wealthy taxpayers, too, making them a target for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. Less noticed were tax cuts for low- and middle-income families, which were expanded when Obama signed the massive economic recovery package last year.

The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners – households making an average of $366,400 in 2006 – paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.

The number of households that don’t pay federal income taxes increased substantially in 2008, when the poor economy reduced incomes and Congress cut taxes in an attempt to help recovery.

In 2007, about 38 percent of households paid no federal income tax, a figure that jumped to 49 percent in 2008, according to estimates by the Tax Policy Center.

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed a law providing most families with rebate checks of $300 to $1,200. Last year, Obama signed the economic recovery law that expanded some tax credits and created others. Most targeted low- and middle-income families.

Obama’s Making Work Pay credit provides as much as $800 to couples and $400 to individuals. The expanded child tax credit provides $1,000 for each child under 17. The Earned Income Tax Credit provides up to $5,657 to low-income families with at least three children.

There are also tax credits for college expenses, buying a new home and upgrading an existing home with energy-efficient doors, windows, furnaces and other appliances. Many of the credits are refundable, meaning if the credits exceed the amount of income taxes owed, the taxpayer gets a payment from the government for the difference.

“All these things are ways the government says, if you do this, we’ll reduce your tax bill by some amount,” said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

The government could provide the same benefits through spending programs, with the same effect on the federal budget, Williams said. But it sounds better for politicians to say they cut taxes rather than they started a new spending program, he added.

The changes made it relatively easy for families of four making $50,000 to eliminate their income tax liability.

Here’s how they did it, according to Deloitte Tax:

The family was entitled to a standard deduction of $11,400 and four personal exemptions of $3,650 apiece, leaving a taxable income of $24,000. The federal income tax on $24,000 is $2,769.

With two children younger than 17, the family qualified for two $1,000 child tax credits. Its Making Work Pay credit was $800 because the parents were married filing jointly.

The $2,800 in credits exceeds the $2,769 in taxes, so the family makes a $31 profit from the federal income tax. That ought to take the sting out of April 15.

Source: Huffington Post

States Are Crossing Borders to Collect Taxes

The States are getting desperate.   New York & Connecticut (among others) are gearing up to enforce a tax law usually reserved for the rich and famous.  Athletes, for example, make millions upon millions of dollars and their travel schedules are well known. Therefore, when they travel to another state to play, that particular state taxes a prorated share of their annual income.  Due to the financial crisis and state budgets crises, now the Joe-the-Plumbers of the world can expect to be taxed just like the Joe Mauers of the world (who just signed the richest contract for a catcher in MLB history).

Anyone who crosses a state border for work — to make a sales call, say, or meet with a client or do a road show on Wall Street — probably owes income taxes in that state.

If you live in Boston but spend one out of 250 workdays this year in New York, you owe New York income taxes on 1/250th of your salary. And vice versa if you are a New Yorker visiting Boston — or Anywheresville, for that matter — for business.

Such laws have been on the books for decades, and they vary by state. But it is only recently, accountants and tax lawyers say, that many states appear to have picked up enforcement, expanding it beyond the wealthiest celebrities and athletes.

“The states are all hungry for revenue,” said Alan Clavette, an accountant in Newtown, Conn. “We are certainly seeing states like New York and Connecticut looking more and more for executives and everyday taxpayers who may be spending time across the border.”

Former NY State tax commissioner James W. Wetzler said aside from imposing this tax on the rich, it was largely a “don’t ask don’t tell” type of deal.  The amount of time and recourses required to go after the lawyers or traveling salesmen simply did not warrant the expense.  However, governing bodies now have access to tax data they never had before and this all appears to be changing:

But now states have greater access to data warehouses that help them better track taxes owed. Real estate transactions, federal data from the Internal Revenue Service, commercial license plates, traffic tickets, bids for government construction projects — all this information, newly digitized and dumped into a computer system, can help states find tax scofflaws.

“We’re sort of getting into ‘1984’ land here,” said Kenneth T. Zemsky, an accountant and partner at Ernst & Young. “A lot of the reason they went after athletes and entertainers is that they couldn’t find the other people. Now they’re able to get those people, too.”

Failure to file in accordance with this tax law can have serious consequences.  Most states take multiple years to investigate and come to final determinations on returns that they audit. Depending on the amount they claim you owe, it could lead to garnishment of wages and/or future refunds.  Also,  penalties and interest continue to accrue for the entire period of non-payment. Depending on the state, the penalties and interest could be greater than the amount of taxes.

It appears that the states best enforcement tactic may be requiring employers to withhold additional state taxes from employee’s paychecks:

State auditors may not be able to monitor every border-crossing, but with corporate payroll managers as their enforcers, they don’t need to…In some cases auditors check to see if, say, an employee who was reimbursed for airfare to California also had California income taxes withheld from his paycheck. If not, the company can be fined.

The bigger burden associated with distributing your taxes to more state governments is the administrative effort it requires, for both employee and employer. Many states require filing a return for a single day’s work. For peripatetic workers like salesmen or consultants, filing a pile of additional state tax returns can become prohibitively expensive, not to mention frustrating.

In other words, this all boils down to enforcement.  Even with all the new technology at the state’s fingertips, they may not have enough to gain with a full court press on this issue.  The future will surely reveal which states are the most aggressive.  The most aggressive states stand the most to gain, and reciprocally, they are the states that are more desperate to close their budget gaps.  The state of New York appears to be desperate, and thus we would not recommend that NY taxpayers take a “wait-and-see” approach.  If recent history is any guide, NY State will tax first and ask questions later.  If you think you will be affected by the enforcement of this tax law, please contact us.  An experienced R&G Brenner tax consultant is ready to guide and advise you through this process.

Source: NY Times

How to Know If You Need a Tax Pro

Tax time is one of the most stressful times of year for everyone. Besides worrying about possibly owing even more than you’ve already paid, there’s always the question of figuring out exactly how you’re going to get your taxes filed. Aside from a few whiz kids, I don’t know very many people who feel comfortable doing their own taxes from scratch. Some depend on a personal accountant, some depend on a calculator-savvy friend, and some just walk into the nearest H&R BlockJackson Hewitt or R&G Brenner with an envelope stuffed full of receipts and a look on their face that says, “HELP ME!”

Lots of people have gotten the hang of using tax-prep software like TurboTax or Quicken, and these programs have become a reliable and easy way to get your taxes out of the way. But could going to a tax professional get you a bigger refund? Hiring a professional to do your taxes can be expensive, so how do you know whether it’s worth it?

Self-Employed? Call in the Pros

A good rule of thumb is that the more complicated your taxes are, the more likely it is that you would benefit from professional tax preparation. Ronald Seely, a senior tax preparer at Liberty Tax Service in San Francisco, says that professional help is best for “anyone who has income on a 1099 miscellaneous form … the self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors.” Wages on a 1099 haven’t had any money withheld, so there are all kinds of taxes to pay — sometimes up to 40 percent of the total amount. That’s where a professional can help, Seely says. “We can find deductions to help with that.” You’ll be claiming deductions for business expenses, and it’s best to have a qualified tax preparer help you discover new deductions and find new ways to save money. If you’re a freelancer, going to a tax professional will help you get a refund that is well worth the cost of their service.

Higher Income = Higher Deductions

If you receive W-2 wages, you should think about professional help if you earn a large salary. If you earn $70,000 to 80,000 per year or more, it might be better to itemize your deductions in order to get the maximum refund and accountants can help you do that. People earning large salaries are also more likely to have taxes on investment income or rental property, as well as deductions like charitable contributions, all of which should be sorted out by a pro.

If you receive W-2 wages, but also have a significant amount of out-of-pocket expenses for your job, you’re a good candidate for tax help. If you do a lot of driving for your job, but are not reimbursed for mileage, if you have a home office, or have any other kind of legitimate business expenses, then you’ll want to claim those as deductions, and having professional help ensures that you won’t miss any opportunities to get money back.

Life-Changing Events Change Your Taxes, Too

Even if your taxes are usually pretty black and white, there are a few times in life when it’s a good idea to get a professional’s opinion. If you’ve just had a baby, bought a house, taken money out of a 401(k), or gotten married, there are tax implications that you’ll want to get help with and a professional tax preparer can help you become familiar with the kind of deductions you’ll be taking from now on. You’ll also get special consideration if you are in school or have recently moved for a job.

Source: Minyanville

Tax Preparers Vs. Tax Software

I recently read an article that breaks down the differences in the two most popular tax preparations software; Intuit’s TURBOTAX and H&R Block’s AT HOME (previously knows as TAX CUT).  I am going to post some of the interesting findings and add R&G Brenner’s comments underneath:

TAXES can make people do silly things, like investing in chinchilla and ostrich ranches or, over the last several years, buying a second home — which was a bad move just about anywhere in the United States.

For some folks, buying tax-preparation software may be nearly as wrong-headed…And if your taxes are complicated, you may be better off enlisting a professional’s help.

Obviously, R&G Brenner’s business depends on paid tax preparers, therefore it will not shock anyone that I agree with the above statement.  For  those with no experience with tax law it is almost NEVER a good idea to attempt to self-prepare your taxes.  This is where those who think they are saving $100-$200 dollars could be costing themselves thousands of dollars.  Adding dependents, itemized deductions, multiple W2’s/1099’s, unemployment income or rental income drastically increases the complexity of tax returns.  And regardless of how good the automated step-by-step instructions are in do-it-yourself software is, they routinely miss deductions and credits which can dramitcally affect this size of one’s refund or the amount of taxes owed.

About three of every four filers receive a refund, and filing online can accelerate the process. You must use software, either personally or through a preparer, to file electronically, and e-filers can see their refunds in as few as 10 days, Mr. Williams said. Mail filers typically wait at least six weeks.

At R&G Brenner we do NOT charge any additional fees to file electronically.  A lot of firms like H&R Block continue to charge extra fees to e-file.  Read the fine print.  Depending on which version of do-it-yourself software you use, there can be additional charges to e-file and that needs to be factored into the bottom line.  And heaven forbid you need to file multiple states or you buy a software package that doesn’t include the forms you require.  This all equates to more fees than the enticing low pricing  they advertise or the lure of a “free” tax return.  Not to mention the actual time-factor involved!  But I will leave that for a little later…

Before you buy a tax-preparation program, understand that it won’t be a panacea. You still have to keep good records — they matter mightily if you’re audited — and, in complicated situations, you may need to research tax laws yourself. The software can’t tell you whether tuition for your Spanish class is deductible, only that job-related educational expenses might be. What’s more, it won’t ease the headache you may get by trying to find answers on the I.R.S. Web site. The agency provides reams of guidance, but the rules can be murky for people who muck about with them only occasionally — even pros…

The biggest shortcoming in each program isn’t what’s in it but what’s not: You’ll have to laboriously enter your personal data. If you’ve used tax software previously, you can transfer some of your information. But you’ll need to update entries to reflect last year’s earnings and expenses, and that takes time.

Well said.  Just because you buy tax software doesn’t mean that your taxes are going to magically prepare them self.  Someone (you) is going to have to dive into all your receipts and expenses to organize them and determine what is deductible and what is not.  The rules change if your are an employee, independent contractor, self-employeed or a combination of the three.  Furthermore, all tax software has to be approved for release BEFORE the beginning of the current tax season.  The biggest problem we see with this is that many tax laws are not completely settled on before January 1st.  Thus, no tax software is ever fully complete out of the box.  For example, the IRS ruled that charitable donations for earthquake related relief for Haiti was ruled deductible for tax year 2009 if made before February 28th of this year.  There is no way do-it-yourself software will know this unless you continually apply updates as they are released.  Failing to install updates can have serious consequences in the miscalculation of your tax return.  It could take years for the IRS and/or state to catch those mistakes.  And for those that owe taxes and do not pay all that is due, it could result in high penalties and accrued interest…sometimes more than your tax liability itself.

As your taxes become more complicated, the programs’ guidance can become less helpful…My wife and I, for example, moved from Philadelphia to Massachusetts in 2008 and, as a result, paid state and local taxes in several places last year. Philadelphia alone imposes a variety of taxes on the self-employed, and I managed to get tangled up trying to record all of them. In both programs, I had to jump back and forth repeatedly between the interview and the underlying forms to ensure I got them right. In several instances, I had to override the interviews and record information directly to the returns.

This is playing with fire.  Yes, sometimes the only way to deal with a unique tax situation is to manually override the warnings that are specifically designed to prevent errors.  If you do not know the tax laws of these special situations, you are asking for trouble.  The consumer do-it-yourself tax programs are bogged down with thousands of “error” notifications which can make even a simple override harrowing and nerve racking.  At R&G Brenner we do not use these overly simplistic tax programs.  We use an industrial tax program specifically designed and integrated to handle every state in the union that imposes an income tax.  There is rarely a need to override a program verification error…but when there is, you can rest assured our professionals know when to do it.

[No do-it-youself tax program] is certain to deliver you from tax-time stress. It’s the hard questions, like puzzling through the alternative minimum tax, that eat up the most time and cause the most worry. When you grapple with those, you may still be gulping antacids and aspirin come April 15.

The biggest factor in preparing your own tax return aside from the stress of organizing your records, determining witch tax laws apply to you & overriding the program is the TIME you MUST devote in learning all this stuff; and in many cases your time is way more valuable than small fee  you could have spent having a tax professional prepare your most important annual financial document.  Unfortunately, the recent economic crisis has put a lot of people out of work and thus they have a lot more time to attempt to prepare their own taxes.  However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  There are a lot of people out there that love to cook for themselves.  But even that takes practice to become adept at it.  I find it mind-boggling how many people are willing to take the risk preparing their own taxes without any prior experience.  If you miscalculate your taxes in the IRS’ favor, they are not going to contact you saying “you qualified for this credit, so here’s an extra $1000”.

If you are one of the many that has attempted to prepare your own taxes, don’t worry.  At R&G Brenner we offer a FREE consultation for your current years taxes as well as a FREE review of your prior three year’s returns.  We will only quote you a fee if we can do better.  Furthermore, we have a tax software trade-in whereby we will reduce our quoted fee by the retail amount you paid for your software.  We also offer many more attractive promotions that will save you time and money (including a FREE tax return when your refer 3 new clients).  So when it comes to your tax return leave it to the Professionals.  No need to take unnecessary risks.  Go Green – Go R&G Brenner.

Source: NY Times