An organization representing the people whom people trust to figure out taxes – accountants – has created, a website to help taxpayers better understand how the federal tax system works.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which has one of its U.S. offices in Durham, launched the site shortly 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 to give taxpayers a place to go for free, plain-English answers to their most common tax questions,” AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon said. “The renowned tax expertise of CPAs literally is now at taxpayers’ fingertips.”


Jordan Amin, chair of the AICPA’s Financial Literacy Commission, said that will be one of the most important websites for taxpayers not just at tax filing time but also at stages of their lives when they have to make tax-related decisions.

“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”


Features of 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. is an extension of the AICPA’s successful 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy program, a public service, non-commercial effort to help Americans understand their personal finances.


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, 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.

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