Big Box Tax Mill versus Independent Tax Professional: Which Should You Choose for Tax Preparation?

Big Box Tax Mill versus Independent Tax Professional: Which Should You Choose for Tax Preparation?

When it comes to getting help preparing your taxes, you have two main options: a big box tax mill and an independent tax professional. Which one do you think is most likely to provide you with the highest quality service at a fair price?

Let’s look at an analogy to help answer the question: If you have questions about fixing a leaky faucet in your house, where do you think it will be easiest to find someone who can answer them — at a big box hardware store like The Home Depot or at Ace, “the place with the helpful hardware man”?

Getting to Know You

Independent tax professionals are the “helpful hardware men and women” of the accounting and tax industry. Unlike the big box tax mills that will flood the airwaves with advertisements in the coming months, an independent tax professional is interested in getting to know you and your business personally and forming a mutually beneficial relationship.

Big box tax mills specialize in churning out cookie-cutter tax returns. This might be fine for people with simple finances who don’t need anything more than a Form 1040 with maybe a Schedule A and D. If your finances go beyond the basics and/or you are self-employed or own a business, however, there’s a very good chance you will not receive the quality of service or level of attention and expertise you need from a big box tax mill.

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out these online reviews of one of the most recognized big box stores in the country:

“I continue to have problems with this year’s tax return — it’s amazing how much they did that was wrong. They do not know how to use their own software and don't know simple things about filing returns. So much of what they told me has turned out to be incorrect.”

“Do not use this service for your tax needs. They are not competitively priced as compared with private tax preparers.”

“I had my taxes prepared by this service in 2014. The fees charged were double the fees I paid in previous years to other tax preparation services for the same forms. I placed many phone calls to their office and was transferred to an automated system, which then transferred me to an answering service which takes a message. None of the messages were ever returned by an employee.”

By the way, these are just three reviews from among the “top 785 complaints and reviews” of this big box tax store that were published by Consumer Affairs. So we’re not cherry-picking here.

"A quarter (26%) of all those who switch tax preparers are motivated by a bad experience, including poor customer service and a lack of tax knowledge."

Contrasting Reviews

Now contrast these with a few reviews of TaxBuzz Verified Professional independent tax and accounting professionals:

“I've been with Spencer Wilson for a few years now. He goes beyond my expectations to take care of my needs and in dealing with the IRS. He is diligent and aggressive in his business. Why would you want anyone else to take care of you when Spencer is the top?”

“I have enjoyed the outstanding service of Kilmer and Associates for several years. Mike Kilmer displays character and integrity while maintaining a commitment to core values. His organization excels in keeping abreast of new technologies to improve maximum efficiency and client satisfaction.”

Tera Kovanes has been my tax accountant for personal and business taxes for over three years. She is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of tax preparation. She has always delivered accurate, dependable and timely service.”

It’s worth noting that each one of these TaxBuzz Verified Professionals received across-the-board 5 star ratings. That’s right — they were all unanimously given 5 star reviews by their clients for outstanding tax preparation, planning, accounting and bookkeeping services.

Millions and Millions Served

The big box tax mills will tout the millions and millions of tax returns they prepare each year as proof of their expertise. What it’s really proof of is their assembly-line approach to tax preparation and the lack of personal attention they devote to their customers. In fact, many tax mill offices only operate seasonally, closing down after April 15.

Conversely, independent tax professionals like TaxBuzz Verified Professionals are looking to build ongoing, long-term relationships with their clients. They are really more tax planners than they are tax preparers. You will receive a transparent view of your TaxBuzz Verified Professional, including details about his or her experience and background and access to real client reviews.

Why entrust something as critical as your tax return to an impersonal, take-a-number big box tax mill? Instead, seek out a TaxBuzz Verified Professional independent tax and accounting professional. You will benefit from attentive, personalized, high-quality service from a qualified professional who wants to build a long-term relationship with you and your business.

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