Will the TCJA drive our clients to TurboTax?
Will the increase in the standard deduction in 2018 mean our clients will flock to cheap do-it-yourself software providers like TurboTax?
The reality, in my practice, is that many of my individual income tax clients — who are highly educated, high earners — are savvy enough to enter 99% of a TurboTax's data input correctly.
By way of anecdote, I received a new client this year who had always prepared their individual income tax returns on
TurboTax. They are a husband and wife,
both working professionals with W-2s, and they have kids and some basic itemized deductions (like mortgage interest and charitable contributions.) They told me they had done their return on TurboTax but wanted me to prepare their actual return to ease their concerns about the return being correct and passing government muster. When I asked them for a copy of the return, they provided a 700-page behemoth that was generated in TurboTax.
As it turns out, they followed the directions in the program and while they technically prepared their return properly, their noncash charitable contributions were listed out on Form 8283 with each shirt, pair of pants, and toy taking up a separate line. They had a few hundred pages of 8283s and accompanying worksheets for $2,000 worth of Goodwill donations.
My new clients don't need me to prepare their returns over TurboTax, but I sell peace of mind that software can't provide. I also offer pretty good tax advice too. With the confusion over the changes under the TCJA, my clients will stay and refer their friends.