Lady came into our office with her 2011 return. didn't really want the second look. She worked at a college and said a student had done her return the last few years. But I guess she was feeling uncomfortable about it. (perhaps the preparer was already in prison). She had a Sched C catering business. All cash she said baking cakes.--$3000 in income and $10,000 in expenses. Lots of miles. Also 2106- 14000 miles driving to work at the college. Off road gas tax credit of $2000. Mort int and prop tax for her brothers house (the tax was entered in the personal property tax line, which we don't have in this state. Claimed niece and nephew as dependents for EIC. Total refund $7000. She wanted me to do 2012 with her final pay stub. I estimated her honest refund would be about $500 this year. I don't think she will be back
Many of the Colleges have what is called I believe the VITA/TCE and they do free tax returns. These are college kids and according IRS their tax return preparation is only 47% correct. They advertise "families can save hundreds of dollars they might otherwise pay to commercial tax preparers" I like the above have a Fuduciary Duty to prepare correct tax returns. They do not have to go by Circular 230 or anything else
All VITA sites are under control of the IRS. They use IRS training,equipment and software. The software is not flexible like TPS,its "our way(IRS way) or the highway". Sites and individual are observed in person and on line by the IRS and and shut down if the IRS thinks policy is not being adhered to. The IRS pays AARP (and other i am sure) to do the no charge tax service. The VITA service is limited to low to moderate income taxpayers(have seen 90k taxable income) mostly retired . They also have a service set up in a Catholic Church to service all the illegal Mexicans. Does it compete with HRB? Yes. IS that fair? I dont think so. I will not do VITA this year because i have developed a dislike for AARP for political reasons.
"or anything else" Think Due diligence questions!!!! If they are going to revamp the RTRP---it needs to include these (sometimes piad) "volunteers." It needs to include the "supervised preparers." I know for a fact that a lot of the CPA offices do not have PTins for their back room sweat shops. I am a EA but I beleive EVERYONE needs some minor level of competiency.