The brave new world of personal income tax services

This message posted on an online tax forum this week just about says it all:

“I normally prepare my own taxes through Turbo Tax; however this year it is telling me I owe an outrageous amount of money and I’ve never owed in previous years. I need someone else to take a look at it for me.”

This summarizes all three of the hot issues facing us this tax season:

1.  Almost half of all tax filers prepare their own tax returns, including some with complex issues.

2.  Few qualified tax professionals are willing to offer review and tax planning services apart from tax preparation.

3.  Overall higher tax liabilities raise the stakes and increase the importance of advance tax planning.

This is the niche where I have specialized in the past and hope to expand this coming season – tax advice apart from return preparation. It may be a while before we see any trend in how consumers adjust to the changing tax service landscape.


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