Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TIGTA: Tax Returns Prepared Through IRS Volunteer Programs Had 49% Error Rate

TIGTA The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today released Inconsistent Adherence to Quality Requirements Continues to Affect the Accuracy of Some Tax Returns Prepared at Volunteer Sites (2013-40-110):

The Volunteer Program provides no-cost Federal tax return preparation and electronic filing to underserved segments of the population of individual taxpayers, including low- to moderate-income, elderly, disabled, and limited-English-proficient taxpayers. However, ensuring that tax returns are accurately prepared remains a challenge for the Volunteer Program. Problems with the accuracy of some of the tax returns affect the taxes owed and refunds received by these taxpayers. ...

Of the 39 tax returns prepared for auditors during the 2013 Filing Season, 20 (51 percent) were prepared correctly and 19 (49 percent) were prepared incorrectly. This is a two-percentage-point increase over the 49 percent accuracy rate for the same number of returns in the 2012 Filing Season. The 19 incorrect tax returns resulted from incorrect application of the tax law, insufficient requests for information during the intake/ interview process, or lack of adherence to quality review requirements.

Error Rate

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I was one of the few EAs volunteering in my local TCE program, but I got chased out when the people in charge insisted that I attend weeks of classes to learn how to do taxes.

Posted by: Aleta | Nov 6, 2013 12:03:39 PM

It`s nice to provide assistance to those who need it, but these are most likely VERY simple returns.
Those providing this assistance are generally undertrained and under experienced and in the end provide a disservice to those they purport to help.

Posted by: Dr Fred Rouse, CFP | Nov 6, 2013 7:00:19 AM

How significant (in dollars) were the errors?

Posted by: SW | Nov 6, 2013 6:56:48 AM

You get what you pay for.

Posted by: Charles Jaffe, CPA | Nov 6, 2013 6:44:41 AM