Tax Preparers Prepare for a Bump in Business as People Try to Figure out the GOP Tax Overhaul

Dec 26, 2017

Experts say the effects could go either way for tax preparing.
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Republicans say the tax overhaul will create jobs. And while many policy experts disagree, one profession is almost certain to see a bump: tax preparers. But the question is, how are they reacting to the new law?

The new tax regime is supposed to make filing taxes simpler for most Americans.

But "I think there's going to be a lot of confusion," Lisa Vivens said.

Vivens heads up a state Association for Enrolled Agents, which are basically federally licensed tax preparers. She says, confusion over the new law may be good for business, but she's not celebrating just yet.

"So at enrolled agent parties, are you like buying extra champagne these days?"

"No not really," she responds.

It may be the most comprehensive change in the tax code in 30 years, but she says her clients want to know how they'll be affected now. That means doing research, reading newsletters and breaking out the calculator to game out different tax scenarios.

"It makes me do a lot more work, but it also brings in extra fees," Lee Blazey said.

Blazey is a professor of tax accounting at Case Western Reserve University and a part-time CPA. He says some tax agents may see a bump, but he can also imagine it going the other way.

A bigger standard deduction under the new law would simplify tax filing for many people. For them, an accountant may no longer necessary.