Understanding Basic Tax Concepts is Important for Everyone

As I work through Chapter 2 it has become really clear to me that basic tax courses really shouldn’t be just for professionals.  Knowing the basics of exemptions, standard deductions, and filing statuses can help anyone to submit their tax returns with confidence. If you’re using a tax preparer, you obviously shouldn’t be retracing everything they’ve done since that’s what you’re paying them for, but you should be able to glance at the basic sections of your return to ensure you agree with what the tax preparer has done. Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Tax Course focuses on standard deductions and exemptions and as I work through it I keep thinking back to tax returns I have had prepared for me prior to becoming an accountant.  My returns used to be very simple and any basic tax course probably would have given me the confidence to prepare it myself.  However, as a tax return gets more complicated, I feel that a basic course could serve more as a foundation on which you can stand when having discussions about your return with your preparer.  I’ve always felt that a basic course on financial planning would be a great addition to high school curriculums since money is such a major part of life, but lately I’ve started to feel that a basic course on the U.S. tax system would be beneficial as well. Something that has such a strong impact on a person’s finances and financial plans should be understood by everyone involved.