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View Diary: It Ain’t Tax Simplification Unless’n th’ Accountants are Agin’ It (8 comments)

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  •  Nice job (1+ / 0-)
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    grover

    But I have to be a little bit petty. Neither Intuit nor H&R Block are accountants. In most states, in order to call yourself an accountant, you must be a CPA. There is no such thing as an uncertified accountant in most jurisdictions. Intuit, H&R Block and other personal software and low end tax preparation services are just that. Tax services.

    Most CPA's with tax practices wouldn't give a shit about congress allowing the IRS to automate preparation for those taxpayers that want it. They make their money from people who don't want to, nor have the expertise to do their own taxes.

    •  Most CPAs who do tax work (0+ / 0-)

      Do tax planning too.

      One of my tax CPA friends closes his firm's office a couple days before April 15. His clients are year-round clients, not drop-ins. It's not that he services exclusively high-end clients (he doesn't), but he and his partners strongly believe that taxes are a year-round service. You plan;  then you prepare and file returns.

      H&R and Intuit really only care about the last two steps, and mostly about the "filing."

      About that "accountants" thing, I generally agree about preparers vs accounts vs CPAs. But in CA, Business and Professions Code 5058 makes it clear what uncertified accountants can't call themselves (Certified, Registered, Chartered, etc), but plain ole "accountant"  is ok. I'm pretty sure that's the case in WA too. Each state has its own regulations as you note.

      Consumers should known whom they're hiring, and the experience (and standards or lack of standards they'll be held to). That's the key thing.

      And the diarist might consider changing up the diary title for accuracy's sale. Otherwise, I'm not surprised that Norquist and his ilk want to make preparing returns as difficult as possible. But in that case, Turbo Tax really has hurt their cause. It's so much easier than doing paper returns. Whenever we have to complete even ONE paper form (which of course requires mailing the return in), I complain and moan like crazy. It's so much work to print a page, find a pen and write numbers down.

      Grover must pine for the days when we had to go to the post office and library for actual forms.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:13:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  May have been a recent modification (0+ / 0-)

        in CA in the last few years. In the past, there was a prohibition from advertising as an "Accountant" without being either a licensed CPA or a licensed PA (there might be  6 or 7 of them still alive), or some other licensed designation from a foreign licensing authority.  

        Having had prepared hundreds (thousands?) of paper returns, I understand the angst. Thank goodness for computers and laser printers.

    •  A technical distinction (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the comment.

      The title is a general principle of mine. I didn’t say all opponents were accountants, But some (like Intuit) have the same principle in play: the complexity of the tax code gives them more customers.

      Also, I disagree about CPA’s — many people pay CPA’s to do taxes because they don’t understand the tax code, and don’t want to risk doing it wrong. The more people who could do their own taxes, the less business for CPA’s.

      I’m sure there are CPA’s who only do more complicated returns, but the ones I’ve known have a mix. They don’t charge much for the simpler returns but they do them.

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