When you hire someone to handle your taxes, you expect them to handle them correctly. Tax filings are among the most sensitive and risky propositions, and despite any help you’ve had, the IRS will hold you accountable for mistakes.
Below are some of the most common types of mistakes that preparers make.
The most common errors on tax returns are the most understandable: misspellings and incorrect figures. These are relatively minor issues often caught by most accounting software. But occasionally, they still happen. These errors are easily correctible through an amended return.
Incorrect credits or deductions
In massively complex business taxes or returns for high wealth individuals, deductions or credits can add up to massive amounts of money. A skilled tax preparer looks for every opportunity to save a client money but occasionally can go too far.
If your tax preparer applied inappropriate credits or deductions, the IRS would seek to recover those owed taxes. There is also a chance you may face penalties for these mistakes.
A lie on your taxes is hard to classify as “a mistake,” and yet, often, tax preparers put in challenging positions make bad choices. They may not know the exact amount of an item; they may assume something that turns out to be incorrect. In any case, these actions leave you open to significant liability.
What to do?
With any size error, from large to small, there is a corrections process, and there will always be a significant possibility that you may have to defend yourself. If you are in a problematic tax case caused by the actions of your tax preparer, you have many options.
Evidence that you had a reasonable faith reliance on a tax professional carries a great deal of weight. You will have to pay what you owe – that is unavoidable – but you may not face significant penalties.