Text Box: About taxes & tax professionals

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Income tax is a “pay as you earn” system, by design; thus the withholding from your earnings with each pay check.  There is a calculated amount withheld from your earnings for federal income tax and for state income tax.  When you fill out a W-4 telling your employer if you are married & how many dependents you have, this determines how much will be withheld from your pay for these taxes. There is also 7.65% withheld from your gross earnings that goes into your Social Security/Medicare account.  Your employer is required to match that 7.65% so that a total of 15.3% of your gross income goes to your Social Security.  If you are self employed you are responsible for the entire 15.3% and it is called “self-employment tax”. You never get a refund of these monies; In theory, you will draw the benefits upon retirement.   We file income tax returns to reconcile the amount of tax withheld and the amount of tax actually owed.  If the withholding exceeds the tax you’ll have a refund.  If the tax exceeds the withholding you’ll owe.


The California Tax Education Council is the governing force behind tax professionals in the state of California.  They have composed a code of conduct which establishes guidelines, including simple ethics, for the paid tax “preparer”.  Use this link to see the “code of conduct” in its entirety.  It is worth reading and will shed some light on what to expect  or even demand when you pay ANYONE to prepare your taxes!

You can also verify that your “tax pro” is currently registered and in compliance.

There is also a link to the IRS webpage.  Qualifying course education must be approved by the IRS. Every resource necessary to prepare even the most intricate tax return is available through this website.  You can locate authorized e-file providers [electronic return originators (ERO’s)] and even file your own taxes electronically.