Author Topic: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?  (Read 433 times)

thedigitalone

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2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« on: January 09, 2018, 12:24:40 PM »
We've been using a CPA to file our federal taxes for over 10 years, he's in the process of handing the firm off to a new owner and we've become financially "aware" in the past couple of years so we have an opportunity to shop around or move over to doing it ourselves this year.

We're dual income employer W2's, 401k's, ESPP, RSU's, bonuses and 529's for the kids, we brought in a bit over $300k on our W2's in 2017, we're in WA so no state income tax, just federal.

We've been paying $500/year for the tax preparation which now seems expensive, I'm pretty sure I can do it myself using on online tool like Intuit, is this a case of "Suck it up and pay" or "What the heck, just go do it yourself"? The $500 is trivial in our financial picture, but hey, $500 is $500 more that could be in VTSAX.


Lews Therin

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 12:30:56 PM »
If you have nothing complicated in your taxes, why not pay yourself 500$ to do it. That`s a pretty good hourly rate!

BTDretire

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2018, 12:35:22 PM »
I've been spending about the same to get my taxes done.
 However I have zero W2 income, I'm self employed with my wife.
I have thought about doing them myself, but in the end there is always
something new or different that I want a pro to do, so I pay the money.
  If I wasn't self employed I would probably do them, usually looking at last years
forms is about all the help you would need, but 2018 is going to be different!

MDM

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2018, 03:01:15 PM »
Could you reproduce the numbers on the 2016 return, and understand why they are what they are?  If so, you are likely good to go for 2017.

sokoloff

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2018, 03:08:36 PM »
I pay a preparer (a single digit multiple of your figure) to file our every year, but we have gift tax filings, kiddie tax computation/returns, RSUs, NQSOs, PSUs, DW is self-employed with employee and employer 401K contributions, wash sales, 20+ pages and 6 figures of schedule D capital gains in a typical year, sometimes some wash sales, etc.

I self-prepared for years and feel I know the tax code pretty well. The first year I went to the EA for tax prep (had a particularly complicated situation I just wanted help on that one item), he asked for my last 3 years' returns so he could check them over. I handed them over, 100% confident that I'd done things correctly. In 15 minutes he spotted an error that we were able to amend for a low-five-figure sum. That paid his fees for about a decade and I've never looked back.

In your case, if you're sure you're doing the RSUs  and ESPP basis calculation right, and you can reproduce 2016, then consider doing it yourself. If you have doubts about either of those things, I'd continue to use your preparer, especially if they handle the throughout the year correspondence with the feds as needed.

thedigitalone

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2018, 03:26:03 PM »
I self-prepared for years and feel I know the tax code pretty well. The first year I went to the EA for tax prep (had a particularly complicated situation I just wanted help on that one item), he asked for my last 3 years' returns so he could check them over. I handed them over, 100% confident that I'd done things correctly. In 15 minutes he spotted an error that we were able to amend for a low-five-figure sum. That paid his fees for about a decade and I've never looked back..

This exactly describes what I fear about doing the return on my own.

Good idea to try and reproduce 2016 on my own, it'll be darn tempting to cheat and look at the actual return!


sokoloff

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Re: 2017 Federal Taxes, DIY or keep using CPA?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 03:47:28 PM »
I self-prepared for years and feel I know the tax code pretty well. The first year I went to the EA for tax prep (had a particularly complicated situation I just wanted help on that one item), he asked for my last 3 years' returns so he could check them over. I handed them over, 100% confident that I'd done things correctly. In 15 minutes he spotted an error that we were able to amend for a low-five-figure sum. That paid his fees for about a decade and I've never looked back..
This exactly describes what I fear about doing the return on my own.

Good idea to try and reproduce 2016 on my own, it'll be darn tempting to cheat and look at the actual return!
You can. You'd only be cheating yourself, though... ;)