TaxGuru has made an interesting post on an Indian firm that emailed him in regards to their American income tax preparation services. According to the email the Indian firm was hired by over 35 different American CPA firms last year and prepared over 3,500 tax returns. They charge a very low rate per return allowing a healthy profit to be made by the large CPA firms outsourcing these duties. This company is just one out of dozens that are already offering Indian outsourcing services. According to The CPA Journal some estimate that nearly 200,000 American income tax returns were prepared in India in 2004. Outsourcing these services allows the large CPA firms to lower their hourly expenses by over 50%, while sustaining their high fees.
As this practice becomes increasingly common, I recommend that everyone be cautious when dealing with a firm that outsources to any country. Although the individuals might be trained and might be qualified to prepare taxes, I would still be cautious. Having 100% accurate data in your income tax returns is extremely important. If something is wrong in your return it could result in massive IRS problems, including audits and even owed back taxes. With so much at steak you want to make sure you seek tax help from a reputable company, and outsourcing services to low-paid Indian workers does not exactly scream quality in my eyes. I suggest you ask any firm your considering point-blank if they outsource and where they outsource income tax preparation. If their response is no then you have nothing to worry about. However, if they do outsource I would be very cautious about using their services unless they provide some sort of guarantee.