Professional preparers say tide of work undeterred

Tax season is here, and those taking on the task of preparing taxes for clients already are busy.

And even if many people file their own taxes electronically, that hasn’t seemed to have slowed down the tide of work the professionals face.

In short, filing one’s taxes is getting more complicated, and many people want to get the job done right.

“It’s getting more complicated, and it will get more so with the Affordable Care Act kicking in next year,” said Melanie Huynh, owner of Century Accounting & Tax Service, 642 Pine St., Williamsport.

Some people didn’t file as early this year, however. One reason could be the Internal Revenue Service.

This year, the IRS did not initially accept certain documents that may people include in their filings such as that for educational credits.

“Some of the forms had been delayed and still are,” said Linda Barone, of Lycoming Tax Pro, 508 Hepburn St., Williamsport.

Melanie Huynh, owner of Century Accounting & Tax Service, 642 Pine St., Williamsport, said her office probably became more busy once February arrived. While the delay in certain documents held up tax filings, many people still came to her office to get most of the other work done.

“We can get the returns pretty much complete and then hold the other forms,” she said.

Larry Straka, of Cyberstop, 1229 Fourth St., Williamsport, said his office has been “solidly busy” for the past month. However, he agreed the issue with the educational credit forms in particular created a bit of a delay in filings this year. For the most part, there are no dramatic changes in the tax regulations in 2013.

However, one change is the loss of the refund anticipation loan. It allowed banks to lend money to people who planned to pay back the money with their tax refunds. People were prohibited from doing it online.

Now, with the refund anticipation loan no longer available, more people could be turning to electronic filings.

“Probably overall, more people are doing their taxes online than they were,” Barone said.

Huynh said she hasn’t really seen a decrease in her services, despite the popularity of electronic filings. Like other tax professionals, she expects things to become busiest right before the April 15 tax filing deadline. She said people should be aware of certain regulations including those covering the earned income tax credit.

“The IRS is watching closely the earned income credit,” she said. “You need to make sure a child is entitled to it. The requirements are much more extensive than they used to be. So preparers must be very cautious.”