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    Do you do your own taxes or pay someone?

    Last year I started doing our taxes. I used H&R block online. We dont have a lot of stuff going on so our taxes are very straight forward.

    I started doing them this year...again using H&R block online. Im not sure if this is standard on any other online tax site but when it came time to input our w2's...you could simply drag/drop your pdf w2 and it would populate all the fields for you. That was a nice touch and saved some time.

    I like the friendly user interface...its basically impossible to screw anything up unless you forget to submit one of your forms.

    Anyone else has experience using online tax software? I should have started doing them years ago...I used to pay my friend $100 to do them...this year fed/state are free I believe. Last year it cost around $35 because I needed to use a special form (that I wont have to use this year.)

    #2
    We use Turbo tax. I don't recall how much it cost us last year to do them.

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      #3
      I do mine every year, except for last year because I sold a Master Limited Partnership fund and wasn't comfortable in reporting that in the taxes.

      I paid $250 to a CPA and now when I started drafting my taxes this year, it doesn't appear that I can deduct the tax prep fee b/c that amount has to exceed 0.02% of your AGI in order to deduct (something like that). any comments on that if I'm doing that wrong??

      I have an excel sheet that I have made to look like the 1040 form and have all of my input fields, side calcs etc. I just need to update any of the IRS variables that change. I do this part for fun too.

      I download the forms from the IRS website and fill them in. I have double checked myself for free using Turbo Tax, but I still send in the paper copy b/c I don't want to pay for turbo tax.

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        #4
        I'm thinking of hiring someone this year. We are at the point where things are getting complicated and we can use some advice. By the time I pay for the tax program and filing fees, it comes out to more than what my sister and parents pay a pro. Plus, I don't have complete confidence with the software or their advice. I had a huge problem created by Trade King, and the H&R Block rep gave me wrong advice 4 times. I even had to ask him twice if he was sure, and turns out he wasn't. I even copied our conversation in case the IRS contacts me.

        But on the other hand, I have done them myself except for two times, and we had problems both times. One guy even overcharged us just because I corrected him at least 3 times and he had a hissy fit. He even demanded that I show him where in the tax code it says that you can use Coverdell funds for certain elementary/high school expenses, and then didn't apologize when I showed him. And I was being nice about it all because I didn't want him to mess up our taxes.

        To add another wrinkle to my quandary, I feel kind of obligated to use a certain tax preparer that helped us out of the Trade King problem. She spent at least an hour sorting it out and then didn't charge me because they didn't have to file anything. I'm pretty sure they didn't charge because they want me as a client, which seems fair. BUT, they charge $200 an hour, which seems expensive. The forms they make you fill out before coming to their office is basically all the questions any software would ask you. I see that it would allow them to charge less by saving time, but why should I pay $200 an hour if I'm basically doing it myself anyway? Sigh.

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          #5
          I do my own, although it's becoming a bigger pita every year.

          It's mostly the separate trust filing and the business return that makes it a pita.

          using H&R block and turbo tax is basically the mcdonalds of tax preparation. If your return is fairly complicated, good tax prep/advice is going to cost real money. You can try to go cheap, but you're chancing something screwing up and getting bit in the ass in a big way. And I've seen where turbo tax treated issues incorrectly before. A person can catch these things, while the software will miss it. In the turbotax help section, there's tons of questions by users asking what inputs or methods are used to get the software to treat the issue correctly. Sometimes it's the questionnaire portion that triggers different tax treatments, so if you enter something wrong or answer something incorrectly because you didn't fully understand the reason or meaning of the question, it'll create huge errors in your return.

          -----------

          msomnipotent - Those questionnaire forms are standard practice for most firms to send out to clients. Some tax preparers don't bother filling anything out and just send in all their forms. Some take a lot of time to fill them out, sorting their forms and inserting them where applicable. It's basically garbage in, garbage out concept. The better sorted your forms, the less time it'll take. Some firms use it to index their workpapers as well. The better you fill it in, the more likely the cpa will get tipped off to any potential issues or questions to ask you.

          If you do something wrong, and the IRS catches it, you're still on the hook for the error. The only thing the "professional" tax preparer conversations does is shield you from criminal charges related to tax fraud.
          Last edited by ~bs; 01-27-2017, 10:38 AM.

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            #6
            I pay TurboTax. I used to shop around for the cheapest tax prep software I could find. But, I would spend a lot of time entering information in multiple places trying to figure out who would charge what, and I don't find it to be worth the time anymore. I've come to like having all of my information from previous years already entered.

            I considered going to a tax professional for 2016 because our tax situation is a little more complicated than normal. But, I think using TurboTax is still going to be pretty simple. TurboTax also has an advantage over a person because my husband and I can use it after 9PM when my daughter is asleep.

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              #7
              I've used turbo tax for years and I like the way it pre-populates info from the year prior. But this year I got my social security settlement and had to pay it back to my long term disability company that had paid me in '15 and I had paid taxes on that money, it's a big mess and over my head. For the first time, I'm paying someone but it should be the last time for a while.

              Comment


                #8
                Did it myself with normal W2 jobs, now I hire someone I know to do them. He runs his own tax business. Ministry can be tricky, so I just have him do it. I also pay for the Audit protection, so I have that to help just in case.
                Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you're stupid and make bad choices.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by ~bs View Post

                  using H&R block and turbo tax is basically the mcdonalds of tax preparation. If your return is fairly complicated, good tax prep/advice is going to cost real money.
                  This I would agree with. Im guessing the big ones you see advertised on tv are for those who have very simple returns...like my wife and I. I think it took me all of 10 minutes to run through. We actually spent more time logging into each website and saving the pdf than I did entering the info.

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                    #10
                    Do 'em myself. In fact I did our Federal today on my lunch hour, easy peazy. We don't have anything to complicated that I can't figure out. I did have a little bit of an issue doing my one college daughters return who got a scholarship for almost the cost of tuition, but got that figured out on her return so it was smooth sailing on mine. I paid 34.99 for the deluxe version of Turbo Tax. Used to be Vanguard would give me a code to get 'em done for $19.99, I assume to get me hooked on Turbo Tax. Well it worked, it's nice that it remembers things from year to year.

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                      #11
                      Use Turbotax, all we have are W-2's, a few 1099's for dividends/interest and we use the standard deduction.

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                        #12
                        So far, I've always* done my own taxes via H&R Block online. My taxes have always been relatively simple -- W2 & 1099 income, one primary home... Nothing too crazy. This year will be interesting, having sold my wife's home, rented out mine, and purchasing a new one.

                        * = My first year of college I screwed things up by claiming myself, as did my parents -- thus, IRS troubles...oops. Gratefully, a family friend who is a tax preparer helped us fix it up (gratis), and afterward my parents & I coordinated who claimed me on taxes... Basically, they claimed me until I graduated college.
                        "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by kork13 View Post
                          So far, I've always* done my own taxes via H&R Block online. My taxes have always been relatively simple -- W2 & 1099 income, one primary home... Nothing too crazy. This year will be interesting, having sold my wife's home, rented out mine, and purchasing a new one.

                          * = My first year of college I screwed things up by claiming myself, as did my parents -- thus, IRS troubles...oops. Gratefully, a family friend who is a tax preparer helped us fix it up (gratis), and afterward my parents & I coordinated who claimed me on taxes... Basically, they claimed me until I graduated college.
                          ^

                          need to make sure you do the home stuff correctly, the allocation of of personal/rental expenses and treatment of rental as active/passive.

                          the sale and purchase of new homes - make sure you handle the capital gain/loss and/or exchange correctly.

                          Under Section 1031 of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 1031), a taxpayer may defer recognition of capital gains and related Federal income tax liability on the exchange of certain types of property.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Except for two years, I've always done our own taxes. The two years we didn't do our own filing was when my father in law helped us, because my husband had a business. His father was an accountant/tax preparer, now deceased.
                            My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ~bs View Post
                              ^

                              need to make sure you do the home stuff correctly, the allocation of of personal/rental expenses and treatment of rental as active/passive.

                              the sale and purchase of new homes - make sure you handle the capital gain/loss and/or exchange correctly.

                              Under Section 1031 of the United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 1031), a taxpayer may defer recognition of capital gains and related Federal income tax liability on the exchange of certain types of property.
                              My knowledge is limited and I am not a tax professional but my understanding about 1031 exchanges is that you should be using an intermediary and making sure you never touched the money personally.

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