This year I decided to finally try to trust my taxes to a professional instead of using TurboTax like I normally do. I worked with Dragon Financial Group on the recommendation of a friend.
Initially the communication was good and I am a fan of the general approach they take here: submit documents as they become available, and they allegedly start working on your return as soon as you start providing documents. They quoted me $400 for a return preparation, which seemed like a good/competitive rate.
The actual web app that they use (“Canopy”) is garbage; it lacks the most basic UI/UX features that one should expect from a modern web app. You can upload documents, download documents, and pay invoices; that’s about it. Forget about sorting documents or any kind of intelligence around what was uploaded (definitely no concept of “revised” or related documents).
You can’t even view the full name for long filenames without downloading the document itself. Really stupid, but at least it gets the documents to/from DFG.So, I uploaded most/all of my documents by probably late March or very early April, and I don’t think I heard anything throughout that entire time.
The submission deadline continued to approach and within maybe a week, I emailed to ask what was going on with my return. Communication was intermittent, they were working on it, blah blah…Eventually it came time to review the return with like one working day and a weekend before the submission deadline, and that’s where the stuff really started hitting the fan.
I kept getting copies for review, looked at them, and found some major, MAJOR errors. You know, exactly the kind of errors I hire a professional for so that I don’t make them myself. Instead, I was reviewing the work of the professionals and finding seriously bad work. The error I caught on my first review of the return meant paying $3,254 less in taxes.
This whole process also consumed way more of my time than I would want, given that it was a weekend and my 30th birthday. Not really something I wanted to be working on at that time when I was, again, paying a professional to take care of this.According to my calculations, all told, there was $3,575 worth of gross errors made that I caught, and the total possible difference in what I might have paid in taxes was $3,359.
So, I pay $400 for the preparation of the return, but if I hadn’t reviewed their work (and if I didn’t have the tax knowledge I have that most people probably do not have), it would have cost me up to $3,359 in taxes that were not due. Pretty nuts. And honestly, I still have no idea if my return was done properly.
I probably need to redo the entire thing myself in TurboTax to see if I get something even vaguely similar to their results, or if I can ever get past the trauma of this first experience with a “professional” to try another, then I’ll want to get my next firm to review this year’s return and fix whatever other errors are likely in it.
They initially collected $100 for an engagement fee, but I never got an invoice for the remaining $300. They said they would bill it within a week of me asking, and I think that was several weeks ago. Don’t know if this is their way of waiving the fee or if they just are too disorganized to even collect their fees.
The people were perfectly friendly. Would I ever trust them again with financial work? Not in a million years. If I asked them to change a dollar into quarters, I’d want them to double-count. I feel severely uncomfortable with the return that was filed this year. Unless you are very well versed in taxes yourself and feel confident that you will be able to catch any/all errors,
I highly recommend that you stay far, far away from this firm. If you have them prepare your taxes and don’t carefully review the work, you may well have a very erroneous return being filed.Shortly after my original review posted (within hours), I received an invoice for the tax preparation.
My memory was erroneous for the original quote; it was $475 minus a $50 referral discount, for a total of $425, rather than $400. When providing the invoice (and presumably after reading the review) they told me they had arranged a discount. While I do think a discount was called for given the circumstances and I appreciate that they applied it, my rating remains at 1 star due to my ongoing lack of confidence in their services.
I also have my doubts about whether the discount would have been applied if I hadn’t left a review, since the timing was quite… remarkable?Then, today, I received a notification from Dirty Scam that my review was claimed to have been added under the wrong business. I can only assume that DFG made this report… If this was an attempt to suppress negative reviews of their business then that’s really, really shady. My rating most definitely remains at 1 star.