Just in time for tax day, the government releases a report saying 17 of 19 tax preparers got it wrong when filling out tax forms.
The Government Accountability Office studied 19 random tax preparers back in 2009, and found some gave too much of a refund, others not enough. The most common error was not reporting tips.
Houston CPA Bob Fumagalli says tax preparers can only work with the information they're given.
“People don't know what they don't know, so they're not asking questions,” Fumagalli tells KTRH News. “And if the preparer is not asking questions, they're not digging out deductions that individuals are entitled to.”
The government is calling for more regulation, but GrowthForce President and CEO Stephen King says the bigger issue is whether the client is being honest.
“It doesn't matter if its regulated or not, the issue is garbage in garbage out,” he says. “Small businesses are not willing to pay their CPA to clean up the books that they messed up.”
“I think education is the answer,” says King. “Education of the customer of what a smart 'back office' looks like, and education of a CPA on why management accounting will help a business run better, grow faster and make more money.”
Fumagalli thinks some regulation is still needed.
“CPA firms are required to take continuing education each year to stay up on the tax law, where the so-called tax preparers out there are not,” he says.
Both suggest sticking with the well-known firms if you want your taxes done right, pointing out there's nobody on TurboTax asking detailed questions either.