NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- During the next three and a half months -- the traditional tax filing season -- you will be bombarded with free tax advice from various media. My 1040 clients are constantly including cut-out articles from newspapers and magazines with the tax "stuff" they give me.And you will also no doubt be getting unsolicited tax advice from your brother-in-law, your cousin Manny, your auto mechanic, your insurance broker and various and sundry neighbors and co-workers. The value of any tax advice, strategy or technique depends on the specific "facts and circumstances" of your individual situation. Some advice may apply to you and some may not. And when it comes to federal and state income taxes your brother-in-law, cousin, auto mechanic, insurance broker, neighbors and co-workers are not what I would call "experts." It's more likely they do not know what they are talking about. You wouldn't ask your butcher for a medical opinion, so why would you listen to tax advice from your M.D.? It is vital that before you act on any free advice you read in a newspaper or magazine, see mentioned on TV or the radio or get from a friend, relative or co-worker that you consult a competent tax professional. You will not get any more important tax advice than this during the coming season -- or at any time during the year!
Editor's Note: This article is part of our 2013 Tax Tips series. Robert Flach is an expert with almost 40 years of experience as a tax professional and also blogs as The Wandering Tax Pro.