August 1998 Issue


James Woehlke in his article "The Future of Tax Practice" in the May 1998 CPA Journal did not mention the electronic filing of tax returns. This is the biggest area of expansion afforded to a tax practitioner.

Many CPAs do not realize that a huge market share is waiting for them to tap. H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt have revenues of over $1 billion from just preparing 1040 EZs to 1040s with schedules A and B. The main reason taxpayers use these firms is to obtain their tax refunds as quickly as possible. Electronically filed returns can produce a refund in less than two weeks.

I just completed my fourth year of offering electronic filing to my clients. My business has grown from 150 returns to over 600 during this period of time. I have been attracting clients away from H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt because I offer tax preparation services at attractive rates. My clients realize that I am available to them all year long to help if tax problems arise. This is what the major tax preparation services cannot offer at each of their tax preparation sites. Some new clients came to me because their CPA did not offer electronic filing. They heard or read about the advantages of electronic filing from the IRS and decided it was time to get modern. The IRS is determined to increase the use of alternative filing methods by American taxpayers, including telefiling, filing over the Internet, and electronic filing by tax preparers like myself. I think CPAs should be at the forefront of new ways of filing, taking advantage of the opportunities. The IRS web site is a source of information on how to get started with electronic filing. *

Andrew J. Slizewski, CPA
Virginia Beach, Virginia

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