Albert Einstein once stated that "the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." But in spite of Einstein's warning, millions of Americans insist on doing their own taxes or having a person with as little as 72 hours of classroom instruction prepare their tax returns, as if a computerized software program or a person with a GED can understand the nuances, convoluted illogic, and endless exceptions and vagaries of a tax code written by attorneys bought and paid for in Congress.
So don't be foolish and prepare your own tax returns: would you undertake by-pass surgery on yourself or on a family member if some computerized vendor published software with instructions on how to do it?
The IRS has what it takes to take what you have: thousands of trained revenue agents with unrestricted power to snoop into every crevice of your life to find taxes you failed to pay. It's like taking candy from a baby when the IRS audits a tax return prepared by the taxpayer.
Barry Goldwater once observed, "the income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government". When you alone sign your tax returns, in a sense you are representing yourself in federal tax court. Lest you forget, a person who represents oneself in court has a fool for a client.
Do you doubt that the IRS targets tax returns prepared by non-professionals? Do you doubt that the IRS regards self-prepared income tax returns as the most imaginative fiction being written today? Nevertheless, you enjoy taking risks and living on the edge and so you prepare your own tax returns, hoping federal prison has cable TV, the internet, and a well-stocked refrigerator.
What makes you think that a person who couldn't make it through high school can understand what Einstein couldn't? True, you may save a hundred dollars in tax preparation fees by having an unlicensed and inexperienced individual prepare your tax returns, but you may end up paying thousands of dollars in taxes for failing to report completely and correctly your financial transactions, or worse, serving five to ten years for tax fraud, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties to boot. Are you one of those individuals who bend down to pick up pennies and, in doing so, overlook the dollars overhead?
The scary thing is that the IRS is, relatively speaking, one of the more efficient federal agencies. Rest assured that IRS agents just love to go after little guys like you because they know that you won't and can't fight back!
Stupid is, stupid does. Be smart: have your tax returns prepared by a CPA. CPAs know the tax code, and they fight back.