In May 2010, The Wall Street Journal stated that, "Tax experts say many Americans are routinely failing to take deductions they're entitled to, thus overpaying their taxes by billions of dollars collectively."
More than half of all taxpayers pay someone to prepare their taxes, and most believe they benefit by doing so. But according to a report released on April 1, 2009, by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, millions in fact "are poorly served".
"I think most of us figure we`ll get the best possible financial outcome by having professionals do our taxes. It`s counterintuitive that professionals could actually make you worse off."
Chuck Grassley, Senate Finance Committee Chairman (April 1, 2009)
The problem is even more severe when it comes to expatriate taxes due to the complexity of various exclusions and deductions that apply to expats.
Although 77% of taxpayers feel confident that their preparers are doing a good job, this perception is not an accurate indicator of the quality of service that the preparers are actually providing. According to the GAO, taxpayers may not understand the tax laws well enough to be able to identify the errors made by paid preparers.
Nearly two out of three commercial tax preparers who are not registered with the I.R.S. - the majority of all tax preparers - failed to fill out accurate federal returns for their clients (NY Times, 09/11/ 2008)
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