Wow, are we over-exposed to this now highly-politicized hot potato, or what? Not since Mike Dukakis took a ride in a tank has so much been made of so little. Lets go back to basics to start this discussion, OK?
Last year we, the US taxpaying public, collectively filed about 135 million individual tax returns. A bit over half were completed by paid preparers. For those of you not near a calculator, that's somewhere north of 67 million returns! And, while our professions' ~140,000 practice units around the country were busy grinding out those returns the press and professional pundidts were talking about the "effect of outsourcing".
The numbers are in and I'd like to share them with you. In conversations this week with Dave Wyle, CEO of SurePrep, and Shawn Smith, Sales Manager for Datamatics Technologies, I gathered the results of 1040 preparation exported to India this busy season. Of those 67,000,000 million returns prepared by paid preparers we sent approximately 67,000 to India for preparation. That's a whopping .1%!! PERSPECTIVE CHECK PLEASE!!
I'm squarely in the middle on the economic, political, business and ethical sides of this issue ---- I just want us to keep PERSPECTIVE! If we increase the numbers by an order of magnitude next year, and then ANOTHER order of magnitude the fiollowing year ..... then we'd be up to 10% of the returns filed. Come back and see me then --- because THEN we'll have a sea change that's worthy of debate. At this point it's not even approaching a tempest in a teapot!
The numbers for the year --- Datamatics and SurePrep each processed about 22,000, OPI handled about 15,000 and Mphasis and Xpitax each about 4,000. About 2/3rds of the outsourced returns were prepared using CCH's ProSystem Fx, with Lacerte and UltraTax each holding another 10-15%. The balance were prepared using RIA's GoSystem Tax Rs and Intuit's ProSeries.