Second, I don't think there are really that many incompetent tax preparers as much as there are dishonest tax preparers -- that is, preparers who are willing to disregard the rules and do so intentionally. I am not so optimistic, but a family member has been using a CPA to prepare returns and there is a significant problem. A spouse should never sign a return without carefully reviewing it, but it this case it would not have helped because the professional advice was bad. Today I was talking with my neighbor. Someone a HR block thought he might have a tax loss because when he converted a house from rental to primary, its market value was a $150,000 greater than when it was sold. It sold for more than $250,000 over purchase price. The only good point is that the woman said she didn't really know about taxes on real estate sales well and the people who know are on vacation.
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