Paul L. CaronDean
Friday, October 3, 2008
By Paul Caron
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has issued Accuracy of Volunteer Tax Returns Continues to Improve, but Better Controls Are Needed to Ensure Consistent Application of Procedures and Processes (2008-40-177), which reports that the error rate on tax returns prepared by volunteers during the 2008 filing season was 31%. (This is an improvement from the 44% error rate on tax returns prepared by volunteers during the 2007 filing season.) Volunteers prepared 2.1 million tax returns in 2008 (up from 1.7 million returns in 2007) through the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs. (AARP volunteers prepare over 1 million free returns through the TCE Program).
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I think it's useful to look a little deeper into that kind of research. First of all, we have the IRS judging the effectiveness of people who are, to some extent, negotiating against the IRS. If I ran the IRS, I would certainly like it if tax preparers were paranoid about doing anything clever. Second, the sample is tiny. A sample of just 36 tax returns is ridiculously small.
Posted by: Taxrascal | Oct 3, 2008 6:52:17 PM
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