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Posted by taxguru on February 20, 2001

Why I Don’t Advise E-Filing

IRS has been very aggressively pushing its electronic tax return filing program. I receive a lot of criticism for my refusal to participate; so this is another explanation of my reasoning.

Some people take my refusal to endorse E-filing as a Luddite position. That’s completely wrong because I use computers & the Internet more than most people. However, for this particular task, the system isn’t ready for prime time with the clients I serve.

It has been my experience that we can avoid IRS audits and problems by breaking items on tax returns out into much more detail than is shown on the preprinted forms and also attaching additional explanations for anything out of the ordinary. I prepare very complicated tax returns and have almost a zero percentage audit selection rate due to this policy.

The electronically filed format requires too many things to be combined and has no room for the extra explanations and exhibits I like to attach. If this is ever expanded to allow more of a free form tax return, so that I can protect my clients’ best interest, I will be more likely to support the concept of electronically filing returns. Until then, I see it as exposing them to too many potential problems


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