Do CPAs offer audit protection?

August 22, 2011

From:  Jonas
Date:  Thu, 1 Feb 2007

Thanks for your newsletter - keeps me informed, and is enjoyable to read. Here's a question that came up recently with a client of mine I wonder if you might consider addressing in a future newsletter issue:

A client, who is not a CPA, is savvy with accounting, taxes and finance. He believes he is able to prepare his own return, and that the return would likely be prepared identically or similarly if prepared by a CPA. He has business deductions claimed on a Schedule C that would likely attract attention for an IRS audit. Are tax returns prepared by CPAs less likely to be audited than those prepared by the taxpayer? I haven't found any research on this issue.

Best regards,


Date:  28 Feb 2007

Hello Jonas,

Some people believe the IRS gives more credibility to professionally-prepared income tax returns because a second set of eyes has reviewed the information. My clients have told me they believe they are getting some audit insurance by having me prepare their returns. I don't have any statistics one way or the other. We have had very few tax audits of our clients over the years. (Knock on wood!)

Occasionally, a tax return preparer who isn't being conscientious gets busted by the IRS. Then the IRS subpoenas the client list and all of the clients get audited. These individuals didn't get the protection they expected.

Also remember the Consumer Reports articles about the wide variation of results for income tax returns prepared by different tax return preparation companies.

So, I don't have a solid answer or even reassurance for those who use a professional tax return preparer.

I still believe that we tax advisors contribute something with our experience and education about the tax laws, at least for a sanity check for our clients.

Good luck!

Mike Gray

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Michael Gray, CPA
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