As return preparation cost have gone up, many people have pushed the use of volunteer programs. In fact, the IRS provides training materials and support to groups like VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program) and TEC (Tax Counseling for the Elderly). How good are these programs?
According to the Kiplinger Tax Letter, Treasury Inspectors found errors in 56% of the volunteer returns they examined. While the survey was small, the errors found in the several thousand returns they audited have convinced the IRS to expand their review.