DIY Tax Filing – Why You Shouldn’t Do It

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Fresh off the New Year and with the government and IRS back to work , the Tax Court has issued its first 2019 Summary Opinion on a case before it and I thought it was just a little timely and wanted to let you know what their first thoughts are for this January 2019.

In sum, the matter being reviewed was TC Summary Opinion 2019-1, Christopher John Totten v IRS. In this matter Mr. Totten committed the three deadly sins of tax preparation – listed in order, each one more heinous than the previous:

1) He prepared his own return using “professional software”

2) He represented himself before the IRS and then the Tax Court

3) He lacked appropriate substantiation

Remember that the IRS requires that you be able to substantiate your claims, at least within some measure of reasonableness. Being right without substantiation can be as bad as being wrong. – Peter Reilly, CPA and Forbes Contributor

You can read the 52 page document for yourself here.

It’s fairly easy reading but hammers home the lessons we talk about all the time during the tax season! Things aren’t always as you think they are in tax land so professional advice and/or representation can save you a lot of time and money. But most importantly of all KEEP RECORDS. They don’t have to be crazy detailed but they do have to be enough to prove your point and they should be contemporaneous.

So for all my DIY folks out there – feel free to contact us if you need us.

We’ll chat again soon!


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