Tax Tips: Who Should You Listen To?

As a veteran tax preparer and tax blogger I am often asked by friends, family, clients and readers, “What is your best tax advice?”  Let me start off this column of daily tax tips with perhaps the best tax tip I can give you –

Do not accept tax advice from anyone other than a professional tax preparer.

During the next three months you will be getting unsolicited tax advice from your brother-in-law, your cousin Manny, your auto mechanic, a guy on the train and various neighbors and co-workers.

You may also be hearing from your banker, broker or insurance agent.  Many people in the financial industry are experts in their particular field, but know nothing about income taxes. Well maybe not nothing; they may have a little knowledge about taxes — but in this case a little knowledge can truly be dangerous.

I am sure for the most part those who give you tax advice are doing so out of a genuine desire to help you, and sincerely think they know what they are talking about. But there are also those out there who are only interested in selling you something and give false tax advice to try to convince you to give them your money.

The value of any tax advice, strategy or technique depends on the specific “facts and circumstances” of your individual situation.

If you are given tax advice by a “non-tax person” be sure to check it out with a tax professional before taking any action.

—New Jersey tax pro Robert D. Flach has been preparing 1040s for individuals since 1972.