There is no shortage of resources for folks looking to take a do-it-yourself approach to filing federal income tax. For individuals with a relatively simple tax profile, this may not be such a problem, but for those who have a more complex situation, who have significant wealth, and for businesses, it is important to not be guessing when filing returns.
One thing that needs to be kept in mind about do-it-yourself tax filing, though, is that taxpayers are ultimately responsible for mistakes they make in their filing, whether or not they relied on published information about filing taxes. This is true even information provided by the IRS! So taxpayers cannot rely on the accuracy of the information they gather in doing their own taxes. Ultimately, they are responsible for any mistakes they make.
Some mistakes, of course, may be small and of little consequence, while others are significant and have enormous consequences. The larger the mistake, the larger the back taxes and the larger the penalties and interest fee will be. For most people, the fear of getting something wrong on their tax returns is enough to convince them to work with an accountant to ensure things are done correctly.
While the advice of an experienced CPA can certainly be great, there are certain advantages to working with an experienced tax lawyer. For one thing, communications between an attorney and his or her client are confidential. This can be an important protection depending on the circumstances of the case. In addition, a skilled tax attorney will have the ability to handle the most complicated tax matters and will be committed to providing strong advocacy of their rights and interests.
We’ll say more on this topic in a future post.