The IRS is always advising taxpayers to double check their returns before filing. How about tax preparers? Contrary to popular belief, tax preparers aren’t robots. As we get down to the wire and pressure builds to get taxes filed before the deadline, here are some reasons why you should have a second tax professional double check client returns before they are filed.
We are all only human, errors happen to the best of us. It’s easy to be so bogged in a tax return you miss something simple – or something huge! You can double check and triple check all you want, but there’s still a chance you’re missing something. A fresh set of eyes can ensure you haven’t made a mistake.
Having another tax preparer check your returns can also provide a fresh perspective. Perhaps you’ve gone a little too outside of the lines claiming a certain deduction and you need to be talked down off the ledge. Or perhaps there’s something you’re missing – a deduction you could have claimed, a filing status that would work better or something from another preparers experience that could help you get more money back for your clients.
At our sister company, Peoples Tax, we are fortunate to have a group of very talented preparers. Regardless of their education and experience, everyone is required to check at least one return for each return they prepare. This practice enables our tax preparers to learn from one-another by sharing each other’s tax knowledge. When any significant error is discovered, the return is sent back to the preparer to make the correction, which discourages preparers from being careless and relying on others to catch and correct their errors.
What if You’re a Sole Proprietor?
If you are a sole proprietor, you’ve got to rely on yourself when it comes to checking returns. The best way to ensure you don’t miss anything is to complete the return, put it away and move on to the next return. Check the return over again, later, before filing electronically or scheduling a client pick up. Checking the return in the reverse of how it was prepared will often catch mistakes.
Another option would be to establish a relationship with a non-competing tax preparer in a different market. A great place to find a preparer for that would be our Tax Business Owners of America group on LinkedIn!
How about you? Who checks your returns?