Last year, your cousin’s ex-wife’s gardener’s brother’s dog-walker prepared your tax return.

And…it didn’t quite turn out the way you were expecting.

Perhaps your cousin’s ex-wife’s gardener’s, etc. accidentally added another zero to your charitable donations. Perhaps he/she forgot to include that $15,000 1099 income.

Either way, the IRS would now like to have a little talk with you.

But it wasn’t your fault! How could you know that this tax preparer didn’t exactly know what they were doing? You, in good faith, trusted this person. Sorry to say, but “if the IRS audits you and discovers that the preparer made mistakes – intentional or accidental – you’ll have to pay any penalties and fees.” (Wisebread.com)

If a reputable and professional tax preparer made the mistake, you might have some consolation. According to Investopedia.com, if the mistake “results in fees or penalties, the service provider will often compensate the customer directly.” However, this is not always the case. If a tax preparer requires you to sign a contract, you’d better watch the language of the document you’re signing. Some tax preparers include loopholes to exonerate themselves from paying for any mistakes.

Tax preparation is sort of like the wild, wild west. Anyone can obtain a PTIN (preparer tax identification number) in 15 minutes for $50. When the IRS “tried to implement competency requirements for all tax preparers in 2014,” (CNBC.com), they were told by District Courts that they didn’t have the authority to enforce anything like that.

It won’t help to say, “I told you so.” It won’t help to wonder why you didn’t ask for references from the tax preparer’s other clients. However, all is not lost. I have, in two words, useful advice for you:

Bourke Accounting

Bourke Accounting has a long history of satisfied clients. Not only that, Bourke Accounting offers free consultations. If you’ve been the victim of a tax preparer who was either a little uninformed or downright criminal, your Bourke Accounting expert is available to offer advice. It doesn’t matter how much trouble you think you’re in, your Bourke Accounting professional is more than up to the task. In fact, they enjoy a good challenge (we all know how much accountants love excitement and adventure).

So, before you start thinking of running to a tropical island to escape the IRS, come see what a Bourke Accounting expert can do for you. Our number is 502-451-8773 and don’t forget to visit our website at www.bourkeaccounting.com. See you soon!

Written by Sue H.