The Best States for Finding Professional Tax Help

The U.S. tax code is complex and even with do-it-yourself preparation systems, many Americans prefer to use the expertise and knowledge of a tax professional, such as a CPA or Enrolled Agent.

Not only does using a professional save time and headaches, it also offers the taxpayer some assurance that the return is being prepared in accordance with tax law and recognized treatments, and that the professional will stand by them if the IRS decides to request more information. After all, few people do their own surgery, instead they turn to a professional. Taxes can be almost as invasive.

For those living in urban or suburban areas, finding such a pro is generally very easy, whether through word-of-mouth references, local ads or looking online. But not all Americans have the same advantage, and that's largely based on geography. Simply put, some areas have a comparable lack of available professionals, particularly in more rural regions.

According to a new report by financial education website WalletHub, the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of available tax help varies significantly from state to state.

WalletHub compared the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia in terms of seven key metrics– ranging from the number of accountants per capita to their average workload and hourly compensation – in order to identify the geographical sweet spots for tax assistance across the country. Among the results:.

  • On average, there are 8 accountants per 1,000 jobs in the U.S., with each tax pro handling roughly 227 returns.
     
  • 57 percent of people pay someone to prepare and file their return.
     
  • 2.6 million people made “math errors” on their taxes in 2012.
     
  • The average American taxpayer receives a $1,560.38 refund. (Note:This figure reflects the average across all tax filers, not just those receiving a refund).

 

Best States for Tax Help

 

States with Less Access

 

1

  North Dakota

 

37

  Wisconsin

 

2

  South Dakota

 

38

  Nevada

 

3

  District of Columbia

 

39

  West Virginia

 

4

  Massachusetts

 

40

  Utah

 

5

  California

 

41

  Kentucky

 

6

  Colorado

 

T-42

  Illinois

 

7

  Hawaii

 

T-42

  North Carolina

 

8

  Missouri

 

44

  Ohio

 

9

  Vermont

 

45

  Louisiana

 

10

  Minnesota

 

46

  Georgia

 

11

  Montana

 

47

  Arkansas

 

12

  Washington

 

T-48

  Indiana

 

T-13

  Kansas

 

T-48

  Tennessee

 

T-13

  South Carolina

 

50

  Texas

 

15

  Maryland

 

51

  Mississippi


If you're looking for a tax professional, we recommend searching for a CPA or Enrolled Agent in your area.

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