Our heads are high here at Above All Accounting, Inc. because we worked our tails off for our clients this year. We helped a bunch of people save a ton on their taxes — with deductions and strategies they wouldn’t have used had they not listened to our advice.

AND we got the privilege to make so many people’s lives just a little bit easier during this very intense time.

I’m not looking for a “thank you” with this note — just letting you into our headspace here right now. We have a sense of (tired) accomplishment.

We worked so hard because we are animated by the stories we repeatedly hear from those who didn’t use our services, or who came to us at the end of their rope: people going through massively difficult times, and then slapped with a big tax bill on top of it all.

For some, this is an unavoidable reality: those who did no tax planning, or who worked with other tax pros, or who just had some tough circumstance, and for others — it was avoidable.

We love what we do, and even though this “busy season” was three months longer than usual, we’re not letting up.

Now … let’s talk about avoidable bad news.

Lisa Heckman’s
“Real World” Personal Strategy Note
What to Do If Your Tax Bill Was Higher than Expected

“I never thought in terms of being a leader. I thought very simply in terms of helping people.” -John Hume

Our clients who filed with us this year already feel the peace of mind that they were able to claim every possible deduction which is legally allowed in the tax code for the 2019 tax year. We put each return through an extensive review process to ensure you keep as much of your hard-earned income as the IRS allows.

But what about your friends? And what about your previous years?

Well, since the filing deadline has already passed, they might think that the proverbial “fat lady” has sung on 2019 returns (and 2018 and 2017). Not so.

Because according to a report on the matter issued by the Government Accountability Office, taxpayers overpay the IRS over $1 billion every year due to incorrect itemization and preparation.

And the IRS isn’t in any hurry to just give that back to you, this year of all years.

What’s worse is that those who prepared their own taxes (with a software or on their own) are the most vulnerable, according to the report. But did you also know that taxpayers who used one of the “big chain” preparers are almost as bad off?

An excerpt from an additional report from the GAO: In a Limited Study, Chain Preparers Made Serious Errors.

In GAO (United States “Government Accountability Office”) visits to chain preparers, paid preparers often prepared returns that were incorrect, with tax consequences that were sometimes significant. Some of the most serious problems involved these mistakes…

1. Not reporting business income in 10 of 19 cases;
2. Failing to take the most advantageous post-secondary education tax benefit in 3 out of the 9 applicable cases; and
3. Failing to itemize deductions at all or failing to claim all available deductions in 7 out of the 9 applicable cases.

More clippings from the report:
* The 19 paid preparers we visited arrived at the correct refund amount only twice. On 5 returns, all for the plumber, they understated our refund amount by a total of $3,465.

* All 19 of our visits to tax return preparers affiliated with chains showed problems. Nearly all of the returns prepared for us were incorrect to some degree, and several of the preparers gave us very bad tax advice, particularly when it came to reporting non-W-2 business income. Only 2 of 19 tax returns showed the correct refund amount, and in both of those visits the paid preparer made mistakes that did not affect the final refund amount.

So what can your friends do about this? And what could YOU do about it, if you didn’t have us handle your taxes in prior years?  Contact us at (503) 648-6184 so we can discuss the possibility of filing an Amendment.

 

We’re in your corner.

Warmly,

Lisa Heckman
(503) 648-6184