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TurboTax taking bite out of tax prep business, but not Oklahoma CPAs


Rod Lott April 4th, 2007

Commercials for TurboTax's do-it-yourself software suggest they're putting tax preparers out of business. How realistic are they? Tonya Miller, store manager of Liberty Tax Service at 5610 Northwest ...

Commercials for TurboTax's do-it-yourself software suggest they're putting tax preparers out of business. How realistic are they?

Tonya Miller, store manager of Liberty Tax Service at 5610 Northwest Expressway, said such software has affected business "to a point."

"With those that are actually competent enough to know how to use the software, it has," Miller said. "But those that don't have a computer or can't figure out the software, it hasn't."

PERSONAL INTERACTION
Intuit, TurboTax's parent company, reports it has sold 10.9 million units this year alone, up by 1 percent from the same time period in 2006. But not everyone in the tax prep business " certified public accountants, namely " sees this as a bad thing.

"I believe the availability of tax software for consumers has raised the level of work that we do," said Robin Byford, a certified public accountant with Stillwater National Bank.

Oklahoma City CPA Barbara Ley believes packages like TurboTax work well "for very simple, straightforward individual returns," but not for small-business owners, complicated investments or unusual events.

In those cases, one-on-one help trumps the computer every time, she said.

"No matter what the commercials say, there is no real substitute for being able to pick up the phone or drive down the street," said Ley. "Rod Lott

 
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