Thursday, October 22, 2009

Error Rate of Tax Returns Prepared by IRS's Free Assistance Program: 41%

Put this in the you-get-what-you-pay-for category:
The volunteer programs provide no-cost Federal tax return preparation and electronic filing services to low and moderate-income taxpayers, the elderly, the disabled and those who have limited English proficiency.

TIGTA auditors anonymously visited volunteer sites around the country to test the accuracy of tax returns prepared by volunteers. TIGTA found that the accuracy rate of tax returns prepared during the 2009 filing season by volunteers trained by the IRS was lower than last year's accuracy rate. While 59% of the tax returns prepared for TIGTA by volunteers were accurately prepared, 41% were prepared inaccurately.

Want a graph? I got a graph:

Okay, I'll cut the IRS a little slack. Their VITA program is pretty good and it's not their fault that IRC Code is as thick as it is. Talk to your Congressman about that. And anyone can come in after the fact and point out how a tax return could be done differently. Doesn't make it wrong. As I told a client just yesterday, tax return preparation isn't a science, it's an art. An interpretative dance.

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