Now that Labor Day has passed, summer is over (sorry to depress you) and the autumn has begun, the big national tax preparation chains are starting to ramp up for tax season. (Well I am too, but my marketing budget is much lower, so you may not notice nearly as much.)
Those large companies are not yet casting their large nets as they fish for schools of new clients. They remain active, though, and are now looking for their next batch of tax professionals to prepare tax returns.
That’s right, someone who is only now starting to learn about tax law could be preparing taxes in four months. And I even came across a program where they can learn all they need in a single week!
I do not want to degrade these companies or their workers, as I never begrudge anyone how they make their living. I do, however, believe that this system should not engender the most customer confidence.
In my opinion, taxes (and maybe all businesses) are best done with a bit of a personal connection. I have clients who come back to me year after year and this allows me to understand their situations and appreciate who they are beyond the numbers on their tax returns. I want to help them, and I want to help them so much that I in see them again next year (and in some cases, that next meeting won’t even take a year).
I believe there is a level of comfort and confidence bred in those types of relationships that cannot be matched in a situation where you walk in and wait for the next available representative. Imagine that representative may only be a few months on the job I provide more experience than that. With over 35 years of experience, my commitment to taxes is yearlong and is not a hobby.
All of these thoughts come with a clear bias. When it comes to my finances, though, I know which situation I would rather embrace. And when clients make the same decision, I am committed to making them realize they made the right choice.
As a little bit of an addendum to the above, here is a slight story about how confusing the IRS can be, and how navigating their rules can be difficult:
Recently news came out that the IRS was going to make information about Offers in Compromise available online. A little background may be necessary for those who are not familiar with the subject. Offer in Compromise is a program through which those with outstanding tax bills can work out a deal to settle the debt for a lower amount.
Those OICs that were accepted have been public record for decades, but were only accessible to those who were willing to put in some effort. This is because the IRS would create a hard copy and then ship it to one of seven locations around the country. If someone then wants to view the file, they still have to make an advance appointment.
Yes, this is not an agency that makes things easy. I however, like to make things easy for you when it comes to your dealings with it. It is the personal touch that will always set me apart from everyone else.