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How the Wrong Tax Preparer Could Cost You HUGE

by | May 1, 2024 | Member Spotlights | 0 comments

With nothing as certain in this world as ‘death and taxes,’ famously according to Benjamin Franklin—and the legal and cost implications of those tax filings—shouldn’t we also be certain about their accuracy?

Today’s presenting member—Certified Public Accountant and tax accounting professional Angie Finch of her firm Angie Finch, C.P.A.—used her time to emphasize the importance of hiring someone with knowledge and experience for your taxes, especially for your small business, investment portfolio, family, or other non-straightforward situation.

Unlike Certified Public Accountants, who need to collect and maintain a series of advanced credentials through rigorous exams and continuing education—most storefront tax preparers have limited experience and are trained on a software that itself does most of the decision-making and calculations through the process, within business models that are designed to move many clients through as quickly as possible.

For the right customer this may not be a problem, but with the thousands of variable ripples across the tax code over time, there are many obscure opportunities about which these often temporary workers may not know to ask. Beyond that, without having the gravity of a career reputation to build, and with limited training and experience, mistakes tend to appear more frequently at these storefront centers.

Today Angie shared a handful of anonymized examples of times where she had given a second look to a client’s tax filing from another firm—and ended up saving them hundreds-to-thousands of dollars…or potentially from legal jeopardy:

  • In her first example, the prior preparer had counted her client’s mortgage interest twice against their income. While this was an unfortunate catch for the client’s acute tax bill—it would have been quite worse had the IRS come knocking.
  • Another client had over $10k outstanding to the IRS that neither they nor their preparers could understand. Angie was able to find an ongoing error, correct it, and identify that nearly a quarter of that overdue sum was from late fees that had accrued due to the oversight in the first place. The client still owed back—but the bleeding was stopped.
  • One client didn’t know of a $1700 credit they were eligible for. Additionally, it’s a common theme that many normal family and household expenses qualify for credits under special programs that often go unclaimed.
  • Lastly, one client who wasn’t very proficient in their own Quickbooks came to Angie sticker-shocked with their supposed tax bill after going through another firm’s turnkey process. It turns out the firm didn’t interrogate the client’s non-reconciled Quickbooks records at all. Quickbooks was double-counting some income and missing a major chunk of expenses. Angie’s look saved this client $5,000.

The above examples greatly illustrate the value of the expertise that Angie has accrued in her decades-long professional career, and the benefits that can bring her clients. Connect with Angie to get a second look, or even to jumpstart your planning for next year!

Visit us next week to connect with local professionals and hear more great presentations like Angie’s and become a member to eventually deliver one of your own!

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