Is it really different?
I've seen it all in 27 years, and know "how it works." Sometimes you, the consumer, don't know what you don't know. Just like I don't really understand all the ins and outs of repairing my home, or managing a grocery store, or setting up my computer, you also need a trusted pro for your taxes.
An avid consumerist, I will show you where the truth hurts you. What you are doing well, and where you are failing. I rarely see someone who can't improve something in their tax life.
Get a "dollarization" of what someone can do for you. I provide that dollarization in writing so you can decide if we should work together. Or if you are just fine, and we part friends.
True Tax Planning and Reasonable Return Preparation
Talk about a changed world. When I started preparing returns in 1990 we were barely beginning to computerize the process. We'd sort of TELEX a set of data and get it back a few hours later and look it over and fix it up and so on and so on. Looking back it would have been easier by hand; I know because I've done that too.
Either way, today, the consumer has access to the previously secret world of the tax system. Most of us can prepare our own returns if we had to for about 20 bucks. Which is exactly why you need to pay a professional to make it all fit, and catch the planning that can't come off an in-program questionaire and checklist. It's not about that. Its about real time with a real pro who multiplies their fee into your pocket full of savings.
What I Have Learned Along The Way
So when you do people's taxes you learn a lot from them and about them. How they feel about their money, their taxes, their government, and their families. Sometimes a dollar distributed to the "wrong" relative is more painful to people than a thousand dollars sent to the IRS. And some people's money makes them happy and sometimes it makes them stressed. For example, maybe a teacher gets a pension and Social Security every month, but has very little money saved up, and lives care-free and happy. Maybe a retired businesswoman has no pension, very little Social Security, but has a million dollars saved up. Often the "rich" woman isn't happy and worries a lot about finnces whereas the "poor" teacher is very content. You can plan this out with me, and show how it can work on a tax return too. Ask.