All of us who use the services of tax preparers should be reminded of the time-honored warning, caveat emptor, which means buyer beware.
I am the victim of a local tax preparer's mistake that cost me over $2,000 in federal taxes and penalties. Only the services of a local CPA unraveled the tax preparer's mistakes.
I eventually received a financial return from the IRS, which concluded my year-long distress.
Of course, the tax preparer, when I showed him the CPA's $500 invoice, which I paid, declined to accept financial responsibility for his blatant blunder.
He correctly reminded me that in Florida only CPAs are obligated to compensate clients for their errors.
Tax preparers are not licensed or state-regulated. Only their personal integrity and absence of self interest remind unlicensed tax preparers to pay for their mistakes.
My tax preparer commiserated with me and apologized profusely. But no responsibility, he said, would be accepted by him.
Again, buyer beware. Before entering into a business dialog with any unlicensed tax preparer, insist that he/she, in writing, agree to pay for any tax return mistake committed by him/her.