In the last ten years or so, tax-preparation software, such as Intuit and TurboTax, has become increasingly popular, especially as more and more Oklahoma residents become accustomed to e-filing their taxes (that is, sending their returns via the internet, rather than using old-fashioned envelopes and postage). These software packages become more sophisticated every year, staying abreast of new state and federal tax laws and offering an increasing assortment of gee-whiz bells and whistles.

The problem is, a piece of tax-preparation software is only as a good as the person using it. Sure, these programs may point out inconsistencies in your return, but they can be easily “fooled” by a person who doesn't know what he's doing. If you make some very bad decisions from the get-go (say, classifying yourself as a business entity when in fact you're a salaried employee), the mistakes can add up, and you may wind up paying far less to the government than you actually owe.

If the IRS chooses to come after you, can you blame the misunderstanding on your software? Not a chance. As a rule, the government doesn't care who prepared your tax return, or how it was prepared. The fact is your signature is affixed to the document, and you are the one who is responsible for any shortfall, not the makers of Intuit or TurboTax. (Of course, if there is a genuine flaw in these programs which undercounts your taxes, you may have legal recourse against the manufacturers, but you still will have to pay what you owe to the IRS.)

Are you an Oklahoma resident who is being pursued by the IRS for back taxes? Contact an Oklahoma tax attorney at Travis W. Watkins, PC (800-721-7054) for a free consultation today!

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