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    Super easy way to file taxes

    Good morning everyone. I've always filed taxes with my ex and we used an accountant, but this year I am on my own. I worked more than one job last year, so have multiple W2s. I also have the interest from my savings account as well as a taxable account with Vanguard. I don't itemize, so it should be pretty straightforward, right? The problem is that I have no confidence in doing it myself, even though I know my situation is simple enough that I shouldn't need to hire someone. I get confused just looking over the tax forms, then I worry that I'll mess it up and from there my confidence bottoms out. I know to most, if not all, of you this would seem silly, but I need something extremely simple and almost fool proof. Is there a tax site you recommend? Is just the basic turbo tax adequate for me? I really need clear, simple explanations for which number to put where. I appreciate any advice you can offer.

    #2
    Originally posted by Smilinggirl View Post
    Good morning everyone. I've always filed taxes with my ex and we used an accountant, but this year I am on my own. I worked more than one job last year, so have multiple W2s. I also have the interest from my savings account as well as a taxable account with Vanguard. I don't itemize, so it should be pretty straightforward, right? The problem is that I have no confidence in doing it myself, even though I know my situation is simple enough that I shouldn't need to hire someone. I get confused just looking over the tax forms, then I worry that I'll mess it up and from there my confidence bottoms out. I know to most, if not all, of you this would seem silly, but I need something extremely simple and almost fool proof. Is there a tax site you recommend? Is just the basic turbo tax adequate for me? I really need clear, simple explanations for which number to put where. I appreciate any advice you can offer.
    TurboTax uses a hand holding method just by asking you questions, taking out the complexity. Almost idiot proof so go with it. Takes you 20 minutes.

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      #3
      It's super easy. We have multiple businesses, w2 employment, investment happenings, turbotax handles it all well (for the most part - their software can be buggy if you try using it early in the season but they usually work out the kinks by around this time each year). I say give it a try and if you still feel uncomfortable, then hire someone.

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        #4
        I've not used Turbo Tax, but Credit Karma's tax program is very easy to use and is 100% free.

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          #5
          My default is Taxact online which I've used for years now. I paid 34.99+ for Premier since I had capital losses to report, + 44.99 for state. If you don't have a mortgage or other deductions you could use the free version for Fed (otherwise Deluxe is 25).

          If you're taking the standard deduction it's even easier for you to do your own taxes, and you can just do the basic tax option. Itemizing isn't difficult but there is more to track.

          I think Turbotax and H&R are a little more user friendly than Taxact, but not a huge difference IMO. I always remind my friends who want to do it on their own, that they don't get charged for using different tax software until actually filing. So you could register and try entering your info into other services to see if the numbers are consistent and/or check if you may have missed a detail. You may also prefer a particular service for comfort and ease. Either way that's a great way to get more familiar with the tax process.
          "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

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            #6
            First thing I'd suggest would be to look at the IRS Free File program, if your income is lower than $72k. It gives you free access to a variety of online tax software, including TurboTax, TaxAct, and a few others. They used to have H&R Block too, which is how I did my taxes for years when I was younger & making less. The software & filing is free, and they also will file (for free) a state return.

            I like H&R Block's software -- it's easy & straightforward, and I get access to it for free through a military benefit. They also keep records of my previous years' returns, so it's ready to reference when needed, and they carry over some information every year so you don't have to re-enter it every year..

            If you truly have zero confidence in your ability to do the taxes properly, spend the $100-$300 to have an actual tax pro do it for you.
            Last edited by kork13; 02-20-2021, 07:37 PM.
            "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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              #7
              The thing that I've never had to address on my own, even years ago when I was doing my own taxes is the form from Vanguard with my taxable investment info. It's not a lot, but I don't want to mess up and put it in the wrong place. Is it more or less like the bank statement about interest earned from a savings account? My income this year, since I only started working more toward the end of the year, will be under 72k, so I'll look into the IRS program you mentioned, and maybe it will be worth paying someone this year just to give me a template of sorts so I can do it on my own moving forward.

              I think I trusted my ex to handle things way too much, and I guess I lost a lot of my confidence. Thanks everyone for the input. This place is so helpful!

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                #8
                Originally posted by Smilinggirl View Post
                The thing that I've never had to address on my own, even years ago when I was doing my own taxes is the form from Vanguard with my taxable investment info. It's not a lot, but I don't want to mess up and put it in the wrong place. Is it more or less like the bank statement about interest earned from a savings account?
                I assume you mean the 1099 -- I don't know about TurboTax or TaxAct from the IRS Free File, but worth H&R Block, their software will actually let you login to Vanguard through their software, & directly import all of the 1099 data. Incredibly easy. But even if not, it really is pretty easy. The software will tell you what form to look at, which "box number" to reference, and it's just plugging in the numbers as instructed.
                "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Petunia 100 View Post
                  I've not used Turbo Tax, but Credit Karma's tax program is very easy to use and is 100% free.
                  We also used credit karma. This is the first year where we filed our federal/state taxes and they were free. I used H&R and turbotax in the past. Typically, you get to a certain point where you have 1099-div or 1099-int, and you're told that you need some paid premium version. Its completely free with credit karma. State is also free. I still havent figured out why its free through CK when everyone else seems to charge you for state.

                  Im not sure how it handles having a business or rentals, but if you simply have investment accounts and w2's...use credit karma.

                  I actually ran through H&R software to compare against credit karma. There was $1 difference between the two.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by rennigade View Post
                    I still havent figured out why its free through CK when everyone else seems to charge you for state.
                    The other guys are selling you a software product. Credit Karma is selling you... Personally... Your information. Also, advertising or their other services that they do charge fees for.

                    I've never seen used or interacted with Credit Karma's system, but I guarantee that is exactly how they monetize it. It's the same for any internet company. Facebook, Google, on and on.
                    "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by rennigade View Post

                      I still havent figured out why its free through CK when everyone else seems to charge you for state.
                      We've filed DD's state return for free the past 2 years. I'd have to check who we used. It wasn't CK, but it was definitely free.
                      Steve

                      * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                      * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                      * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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                        #12
                        +1 to what Kork said. You could try the free software and see how it goes. If you are still not confident, you could pay someone to help you with it and compare the results.

                        Our DS came home this past weekend to use our tax software for free. He completed everything in less than an hour. He says his federal has already been accepted. (His state was filed via snail mail because TT charges an additional fee to efile for state. )

                        So, DS inspired me to work on our taxes. I ran through everything yesterday. I just have to review (make sure I didn't make any typo-s with the numbers) and then efile. I will most likely do the same as DS and snail mail state taxes as I don't like paying that additional fee to efile state, either.

                        I don't know if you had a much more complicated tax situation with your Vanguard 1099. I had a 1099-DIV from Vanguard and there were only 3 "boxes" (or fields) where there was any data. They had data in boxes 1a,1b and box 5. (Box 5 is a relatively new for me-- which covers section199A dividends- link: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-cut...deduction-faqs )
                        The first time I saw the results of the 199a dividends on my tax form, I was like--wait a minute, where did that come from? But, since I invest in total stock market--I invest in a lot of stuff that isn't always readily apparent such as REIT dividends.

                        This year, there was another item that took me by surprise--a warning TT was issuing--"You have a W-2c coming. Since you deferred some of your Social Security taxes last year..."

                        but it won't affect filing your taxes. It seems like this warning is issued whether or not it is true (a bug). (Even if it is true, It doesn't affect filing your taxes. )

                        Here is a little note from the IRS web site in regards to what you do with this information:
                        "If you had only one employer during 2020 and your Form W-2c, Corrected Wages and Tax Statement, for 2020 only shows a correction to box 4 (or to box 14 for employees who pay RRTA tax) to account for employee Social Security (or Tier 1 RRTA tax) that was deferred in 2020 and withheld in 2021 pursuant to Notice 2020-65, no further steps are required."

                        https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/form-...notice-2020-65

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by kork13 View Post

                          The other guys are selling you a software product. Credit Karma is selling you... Personally... Your information. Also, advertising or their other services that they do charge fees for.

                          I've never seen used or interacted with Credit Karma's system, but I guarantee that is exactly how they monetize it. It's the same for any internet company. Facebook, Google, on and on.
                          Makes sense. Sadly, im not even concerned about that anymore. All of my data is scattered everywhere, for probably anyone who knows how to access it to see, including SS and other personal data.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by kork13 View Post

                            The other guys are selling you a software product. Credit Karma is selling you... Personally... Your information. Also, advertising or their other services that they do charge fees for.

                            I've never seen used or interacted with Credit Karma's system, but I guarantee that is exactly how they monetize it. It's the same for any internet company. Facebook, Google, on and on.
                            That makes sense, and I am sure that it is monetized somehow. However, I have been using Credit Karma to keep tabs on my credit activity for years, so they are monetizing our relationship anyway.

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