Even though your cousins-brothers-sister has Turbo Tax(TM) and only charges $50 dollars to do your return, there are a few things you may want to think about:
- If the person is willing to use tax software outside of the Terms of Service, and is not registered with the IRS to do taxes for other people, this is a red flag. Unfortunately if a taxpayer is screwed by a preparer, they are still responsible for what is on their tax return, and if they mess it up, you are in a heap of trouble.
- Do you want the entire mountain knowing how much you make, and other private and proprietary information? Legal tax offices are not even allowed to display a Social Security number outside of the presence of its owner.
- Low Income Taxpayers often miss out on Billions of $$ each year from missed credits and deductions that are legally theirs to claim. Semi-professional tax mills are often paid for speed rather than quality. A high quality tax return done by an Enrolled Agent will benefit the taxpayer on many levels.
- Most of the U.S. and Arkansas Taxpayers I know personally cannot afford a high quality tax expert, but... here is the kicker, The IRS sponsors and grants organization places where taxpayers who earn under $53,000.00 are eligible for Free Tax Help from trained volunteers.
Here is the Link from the IRS to the VITA Tax sites where Free Tax Help is available: Vita Tax Sites - 2015
For a Link to the AARP ARP TAP Site: the AARP has a very helpful page to guide Seniors through some tax issues, with links to other resources.