Last year the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration came down pretty hard on volunteer tax preparers, noting that 41% of the returns contained errors. As is the IG's wont, they scolded the IRS to improve this shameless display by volunteers and made some suggestions to help them suck less.
And it worked! Ninety percent of the tax returns prepared by volunteers were accurate thus earning praise from the IG:
Ninety percent of the 39 tax returns volunteers prepared for TIGTA auditors were prepared correctly, a sharp increase from the 59 percent accuracy rate reported by TIGTA in its 2009 review. TIGTA attributed the improvement to an increase in volunteers’ use of the IRS’s Intake/Interview and Quality Review Sheet (Form 13614-C), improved training, and enhanced oversight. Only 5 percent of the 39 tax returns were prepared without use of the Form 13164-C, versus 33 percent in TIGTA’s 2008 Filing Season review, and 22 percent in its 2009 Filing Season review.
"This report is a positive indication of the good work that the IRS is doing for America's taxpayers," stated J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "I commend the IRS on the progress it has made in helping volunteers accurately fulfill the very important task they assumed."
This isn't the first time that the TIGTA has managed to give the IRS credit for doing a decent job. Last month J. Russell George managed to give tepid kudos to the Service for providing satisfactory service at assistance centers but also reminded everyone that a mind-numbingly complex government bureaucracy can always get better. They're blowing off the deaf and mute, after all.