It is January – my least favorite month by far for a few reasons. The turn of the clock to a new year means the beginning of another marathon tax season, and it also means the YMCA is full of resolutioners taking prime space on the equipment.
But my least favorite thing about January is tax advertising.
I have to listen to ads on the TV and the radio and view ads in the newspaper and on Internet pages all promoting tax relief or tax preparation. There is a heavy workload of advertising about tax relief, the IRS cracking down on debts, and how these “experts” can help you solve tax bills for a fraction of the balance or tax-prep ads promoting bigger refunds and lower tax bills. The vast majority of these ads are from non-professional and non-CPA businesses. Repeated advertising relies on you finally believing the realness and “authenticity” of the message they are sending.
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“The tax return represents one of the biggest financial transactions of the year for many Americans, whether they are getting a refund or paying a tax bill,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “Filling out tax returns accurately is critically important. Between tax-law changes and tax scams circulating, it’s more important than ever for people who need professional assistance to select wisely and carefully.”
Let me give you some great letters of advice. If your tax preparer does not have these three letters next to his or her name – C. P. A. – then slap yourself with a 74,000 page IRS Tax Code Book.
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and is a credential that is synonymous with trust, integrity, high-level thinking, and sound advice. What that translates into for you is a professional that has extensive training in many areas. Unlike some tax preparers who work just several months out of the year, CPAs are fully engaged in interpreting and applying tax law year-round.
Just as the YMCA will return to normal by February and the tax advertising will die down, your CPA will maintain his or her position as your most trusted adviser. Like the Shop Small Business Saturday movement, please visit your local CPA professional this tax season; you will be glad you did.