Author Topic: Tax Software Recommendations  (Read 494 times)

Beach_Stache

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Tax Software Recommendations
« on: December 03, 2017, 07:00:15 AM »
I used to do our taxes before we owned and had kids, but then once we bought a place and I had a 2nd job and some more complicated things I paid H&R Block to do our taxes.  Recently it seems like I've been correcting our tax person and it costs like $700 to do our taxes which seems extreme.  Before we each had our normal jobs, but I have a side job coaching so have a bunch of mileage and deductions for that, and we had a condo that we rented out and then finally sold in 2016, so I feel like our tax situation should be a bit easier.  Here is essentially the things we have to claim:
W-2's for Myself and DW
Mortgage interest
529 Plans (at the state level)
Childcare
Goodwill deductions
Coaching (Mileage, Meals, Car Tax, Equipment, Hotels) - Coaching salary is on a 1099 so I have to file a Schedule C (I think that's what it's called).

I've been intimidated to do this since it's been a while and really I go to H&R Block for the piece of mind (which I feel less and less of each time as I stand over the shoulder of our tax prepper).  Is it worth paying someone who may catch an extra thing or two or should I do them myself?  If you think I should do it myself, should I go with H&R Block online where I assume our info is already pre-populated (or saved from the previous year) or is there a better tax software?  I'm really looking to do everything online, I don't want to have to print/sign or mail anything into the tax offices.  Thanks for the help!
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terran

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2017, 07:41:07 AM »
My last year using our tax preparer I did demo returns using both turbotax and taxact and got the same results between the two and as our preparer. Taxact is generally cheaper and I liked it better because it seemed to be better about just giving me the spots to fill in and less Interviewee. Still mostly an interview, but seemed a little less interested in hiding the fact that you're doing your taxes than turbotax is. The next year I used Taxact, and it's been a few years now.

Beach_Stache

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 10:09:44 AM »
Thanks, I'll check out taxact.  Hopefully it'll let me do them and see what the results are before paying for it.  If this year is close to what last year was then I think I can follow through with software like taxact and then just keep it going from there.
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MDM

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 01:18:50 PM »

terran

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2017, 07:42:32 PM »
Thanks, I'll check out taxact.  Hopefully it'll let me do them and see what the results are before paying for it.  If this year is close to what last year was then I think I can follow through with software like taxact and then just keep it going from there.

Yes, you'll be able to try it all the the end without paying. They won't release 2017 until early 2018, so doing a run through based on last years numbers to make sure you feel confident is a good idea. You might try turbotax too. Just because I liked taxact doesn't mean you will and either will be a heck of a lot cheaper than $700.

SeattleCPA

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2017, 06:36:03 AM »
You might find this recommendation from a CPA (me) to use TurboTax useful...

https://evergreensmallbusiness.com/your-cpa-versus-turbotax/

BTW, I would say the *only* thing on your return that possibly puts you beyond TurboTax is your Schedule C form which is where your coaching income and deductions go. But that's it.
 
Two other comments, too. First, I think you should be fine with either TurboTax or one of the other popular tax software programs.

Second, remember with H&R Block type services that your preparer may often be a pretty modestly paid, modestly skilled seasonal worker... You are paying for someone to enter your data and run the software, but that's not the same thing as getting tax expertise or anything that looks like tax planning help.
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Kl285528

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2017, 07:05:50 AM »
I'm self employed, own a home, own rental properties, have a child, and have used turbotax for years. Generally very easy to use. And the folks that you can call if you have an issue have been great. I highly recommend it.

NathanP

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2017, 09:59:06 AM »
If you need another data point, CreditKarma has free tax filing that they introduced last year. I used it (after comparing to my usual TaxAct) and it worked well for both Federal and State. I doubt 2018 is available yet, but something to consider.


pmac

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2017, 07:19:23 AM »
I would go with Turbo Tax. I was in the same boat as you with the H&R Block guy, paying way too much just to tell him what numbers to input.

The more you understand taxes and do them on your own, the better off you'll be.

stimepy

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 12:28:46 PM »
Let me be number ridiculous and say yea, Turbo tax, or Tax Act work just fine, and depending on how complex you taxes may be, it can be possible to have them filed for Free!

I have used H&R block twice in my life.  Once for (as you said) piece of mind (inheritance stuff) and once because someone I know got a bonus out of it.   (Basically a referral payment.)  Never, going to go back there again.

IF you feel taxes are too complex (and some people really do have some interesting things) then hire an actual accountant.  It will cost you the a similar amount (give or take depending on what you need) as H & R and they will probably get you back at least the amount you paid them if not much, much more.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 12:30:41 PM by stimepy »
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RedwoodDreams

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 05:46:23 PM »
I was in a similar position last year, thinking my taxes too complicated for my usual paper forms, and MMMers recommended TaxAct.

I found it so easy to use, so clear, and this year I've used their calculator many times to model different tax scenarios to see how different changes I make (charitable deductions, IRA contributions, etc.) will affect this year's return. I think it's also a good way to learn more about how different variables change your tax burden. Very handy. Go for it!

electriceagle

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2017, 06:32:49 AM »
I have used H&R block twice in my life.  Once for (as you said) piece of mind (inheritance stuff) and once because someone I know got a bonus out of it.   (Basically a referral payment.)  Never, going to go back there again.

A long time ago, in a job far, far away, the bus drivers who would take us to and fro spent the spring moonlighting for H&R Block. They were nice folks, but likely had no more knowledge of taxes than the average MMMer.

radram

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Re: Tax Software Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2017, 08:41:07 AM »
No experience with H&R Block brick and mortar, but I have used H&R Block Deluxe for about 20 years, and I have been very happy with it. While it carries the H&R name now, it has been bought and sold a few times through the years. Seamless transitions each time. Owned by Kiplinger at one point.

Wife self employed, Schedule C, SEP IRA contributions, Roth IRA's, rental income, depreciation, lifetime earners credit, savers credit. Handles all of these beautifully. It also has all my information from past years, so data entry is a snap.

Around $40 regular price, but often get it for around $25 on sale, or with something else for free. I always buy the one with the free state return. E-filing the federal is free, but they charge to e-file the state, so print and snail mail it.

They have the ability to call and ask questions included in the price, but I have not used this feature. I would not expect CPA advice through it, only the "temp help" kind of answers you would get from brick and mortar.