If you’re like most people, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your income tax return outside of whether or not you have time to do it yourself.

And at Beaton Accounting, we understand. Who has time to paw through tax laws, tax codes, tax changes and tax return guidelines in order to file your 2011 tax return? Unless you’re a professional tax preparer like us (it’s our job to stay up-to-date all year long), you probably don’t have that kind of time.

In fact, in 2008, 57.7% of people in the U.S. paid a tax preparer to prepare and file their tax return.

With more and more people enlisting tax preparers to file their income tax return, it’s important to keep in mind that not all tax preparation services are created equal.

Here are a few things to keep in mind this year when shopping around for a tax preparation service:

Professional Tax Preparer Competency

The tax preparation industry is sorely lacking in proper oversight. As more and more “businesses” take advantage of this with shoddy service, missed deductions and inaccurate tax returns, the IRS has ramped up its plans to increase regulation — but it won’t take effect until 2013.

The new plan includes an official tax preparer competency exam which must be done and passed for certification by Dec. 31st, 2013. We advise that you take care to ensure the ability of your hired tax return preparer.

Tax Return & Tax Compliance History

This time of year, you see an awful lot of new signs lighting up in the evening and a few people dancing on street corners for your business. These services offer tax preparation services during tax season, but they are rarely open year-round, which means it’s difficult to hold them accountable months later for missed deductions on your tax return.

In addition, one of the largest tax preparation service providers in the nation incorrectly filed their own state income taxes in 2004 and 2005, missing $32 million in back taxes. The same tax preparation company was later sued by the state of New York in 2008 for offering misleading “refund anticipation loans.”

If a company can’t correctly file their own taxes, it may not be the best idea to let them file yours.

New Tax Law Changes

On December 7th, 2010, President Obama signed numerous tax changes into law with the passing of the Tax Relief Act (sometimes called the Job Creation Act). The new laws will affect all taxes filed in 2010 and 2011 — and these changes to tax law are far from small in number.

With that in mind, we hope you’ll choose your income tax preparer cautiously and select a professional with the experience, knowledge and capability to file your taxes accurately and maximize your return.

At Beaton Accounting, we offer professionally prepared tax return filing starting at just $65 — a price that’s low without sacrificing quality.

So if you’d like to speak with a Beaton Accounting tax professional, call us today for a FREE consultation:


Have a question or certain topic you’d like to see addressed in our next blog post? Just leave a comment, or email us at info@beatonaccounting.com