NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2010) – The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants today unveiled 360Taxes.org (www.360Taxes.org), a new public service website to help taxpayers better understand how the federal tax system works.
The new website, which has been developed over the past year, is launching just days after President Obama called for fundamental reform of the income tax system, touching off a new national conversation about the tax code.
“The AICPA developed 360Taxes.org to give taxpayers a place to go for free, plain-English answers to their most common tax questions,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. “The renowned tax expertise of CPAs literally is now at taxpayers’ fingertips.”
Jordan Amin, chair of the AICPA’s Financial Literacy Commission, said that 360Taxes.org will be one of the most important websites for taxpayers not just at tax filing time but also at each of their life stages. “You have to think about taxes when you’re buying, renovating or selling a home; getting married or divorced; starting a family; saving for retirement or an education; buying life insurance; and starting or selling a business,” Amin said. “CPAs have always helped taxpayers plan for these financial decisions and now their expertise is backing 360Taxes.org.”
Features of 360Taxes.org include:
- Ask a CPA, which offers taxpayers a way to ask tax-related questions and read answers to questions from other taxpayers.
- Frequently Asked Questions about timely tax topics.
- Tax tips and in-depth articles on topics such as estate taxes and how to offset education costs using tax credits and deductions.
- Calculators that help determine the tax benefits of contributing to certain types of retirement plans and the cost of monthly mortgage payments.
- Links to consumer-focused tax blogs written by CPAs.
- Resources for choosing a CPA to help with tax and other financial services.
360Taxes.org is an extension of the AICPA’s successful 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program (http://www.360financialliteracy.org), a public service, non-commercial effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances through every stage of life.
Melancon said tax planning is most effective when integrated with a taxpayer’s overall financial plans and that financial and tax planning should happen all year long rather than just at tax time.
“Because CPAs are expert at a broad variety of financial services such as financial, estate and business planning, they are uniquely qualified to combine tax planning with a taxpayer’s other financial needs,” he said.
In order to be a CPA, individuals must have a college degree (and they frequently have a Master’s in finance or accounting), pass the rigorous CPA exam, be licensed to practice in their state, commit to adhere to CPA ethical standards and complete 120 hours of continuing professional education every three years.