In case you missed it, the IRS is launching its own free tax filing software for super simple tax returns. Should you really trust the IRS to do your taxes?
The IRS is supposed to get things right, but everyone has heard crazy audit stories where they're just flat-out unreasonable.
The craziest thing I heard last year was:
- Two parents claimed their two-year-old on their taxes
- The IRS sent an audit letter asking for proof
- Since the kid was two, the parents didn't have school records for that year, they didn't pay for childcare, and they only went to the doctor once late in the year
- The IRS denied their tax credits saying they had no proof the kid was living with them the entire year
- No one else was claiming the kid and they had more records from the year before and after
- The IRS agent still wouldn't back down
Hopefully, they won their appeal eventually, but that's time and money they never should have had to spend.
But this lack of common sense is all too common at the IRS.
And even when they're properly trained and want to help you, IRS employees can't give you tax advice.
Remember, even though the IRS is supposed to get things right, IRS employees still work for the government.
Once they decide something, they won't help fight to show why they're wrong. They'll just keep repeating themselves.
Now the new IRS software isn't out yet, but it's probably going to be super limited — even more than commercial tax filing software.
It will probably ask for information, but I doubt it will even do things like tell you when putting money in an IRA will save you more in taxes than what you put in.
And what happens when you get audited? Who is going to look at the letter you don't understand and then call the IRS and tell them exactly why they're wrong?
If all you have is a W-2 and you don't have any questions about tax moves you can make, the IRS software will probably get the job done.
But it won't replace a personal tax advisor you can talk to all year.
If you need a higher level of support and guidance, check out my tax filing services.