Author Topic: Scared to do my own taxes?  (Read 25658 times)

rmendpara

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2015, 05:00:45 PM »
So from 1995 until 2005 my fathers accountant did my taxes cheap (like $50 I think). Then I found a new (better I thought) guy when I opened my own business and he did my taxes for 3-4 years. Since shutting down business in 2010 I have stayed with him for just my personal taxes. Since then his rates have increased like $50 a year it seems. Paid $445 last year.

So my taxes are pretty freaking simple. 2 w-2's, mortgage interest, child tax credit etc. Did not sell any investments or do any retirement stuff this year (in serious debt pay down mode right now). Of course I could go back to my Dad's guy or use H & R block at walmart or something. But I have heard/read that doing your own (the old fashioned by hand way; not Turbo tax) was a pretty good way to learn about tax laws and strategy.

Looking at the packet they just sent me from last year combined with my 1040 from last year it looks like all I would have to do is just plug in the new #'s ?

Do a lot of you do your own? Where would I even start, the IRS website? Do you still fill out and mail/fax a paper form or can you just fill it all out electronically now or what?

Thanks all, I also need enough confidence to convince my wife I can do it.

So you're willing to pay someone else $445 to do your taxes, but not $50 to get the license for Turbotax/HR online and do it yourself?

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #51 on: January 10, 2015, 05:23:11 PM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.
...

My opinion to a T. If you are paying someone to do your taxes and you don't go to see them at least one other time in the year besides when you are filing, you are doing it wrong. I pay about $200 / year for an accountant to discuss tax planning, keep me on top of documentation for deductible things, free analysis of tax planning strategies for my situation, and to file my taxes. The filing step itself is basically a formality by the time we get there as we will have discussed where we should be multiple times in the past year. That $200/year saves me over $1000/year EASILY.

So either, pay an accountant and use them correctly to help you do the planning work, or follow blahblah's plan and do the research yourself and file yourself. If you haven't given a thought to taxes until you are filing you are leaving Massive amounts of money on the table.

hexdexorex

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2015, 07:30:33 PM »
Honestly the first few times I did my own taxes I was confused/scared. Now I look forward to doing them every year. Mostly it feels like I am organizing all my finances for the year and finding out exactly what happened. Also I dont trust anyone else to do them and as many others have said once you learn the rules/do your own taxes you use the rules during the year to save on taxes. There are years I have made thousand dollar mistakes that simple tax planning would have fixed.....I def would not have changed this behavior without doing my own taxes.

Jeremy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Taiwan
  • We retired in our 30's and are full time travelers
    • Go Curry Cracker!
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2015, 08:22:11 PM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

I agree with blahblah ;)

I get a LOT of traffic to our blog for our articles on taxes

I've done my own taxes every year for 10+ years, and I do them on the 21st century version of paper:  Excel


This is what I would do:
Get a copy of your tax return from last year as a reference
Download (or get a paper copy from your library, etc...) of the i040, the Instructions for the 1040

Go through the instructions line by line.  They are boring.  You WILL fall asleep.  Drink coffee

You will also learn some stuff.  Next year you'll do it better, and faster

Put the numbers into an online tool for e-file or drop the forms in the mail.  I use Turbotax out of habit, and because I'm lazy (it imports all of our investment transactions so I don't have to do them manually)

It isn't hard, but it takes some time.  I've already done our taxes for this year, and it took longer than usual... about 7 minutes

But what if you make mistakes?!  It happens.  You might pay a little too much or too little.  You might get hit with a penalty.  My biggest penalty for a mistake I made cost me about $500.  It was the best $500 I ever spent, as I've saved 10's of thousands of dollars from what I've learned.  Doing my own taxes has probably paid the highest hourly rate of anything I've done, ever



Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #54 on: January 10, 2015, 09:35:43 PM »
So from 1995 until 2005 my fathers accountant did my taxes cheap (like $50 I think). Then I found a new (better I thought) guy when I opened my own business and he did my taxes for 3-4 years. Since shutting down business in 2010 I have stayed with him for just my personal taxes. Since then his rates have increased like $50 a year it seems. Paid $445 last year.

So my taxes are pretty freaking simple. 2 w-2's, mortgage interest, child tax credit etc. Did not sell any investments or do any retirement stuff this year (in serious debt pay down mode right now). Of course I could go back to my Dad's guy or use H & R block at walmart or something. But I have heard/read that doing your own (the old fashioned by hand way; not Turbo tax) was a pretty good way to learn about tax laws and strategy.

Looking at the packet they just sent me from last year combined with my 1040 from last year it looks like all I would have to do is just plug in the new #'s ?

Do a lot of you do your own? Where would I even start, the IRS website? Do you still fill out and mail/fax a paper form or can you just fill it all out electronically now or what?

Thanks all, I also need enough confidence to convince my wife I can do it.

So you're willing to pay someone else $445 to do your taxes, but not $50 to get the license for Turbotax/HR online and do it yourself?

Not sure how drew that conclusion? More than happy to buy Turbotax and save 395. Just as others have mentioned you basically go through a series of questions filling in #'s as opposed to learning something about the tax code by doing it by hand.


Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #55 on: January 10, 2015, 09:41:37 PM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

These are actually 2 of the posts that inspired me to want to try it by hand as I have read a good bit on both of their blogs and listened  to their interviews on the radical personal finance podcast.

I understand the benefit of prior tax planning. However right now I have a serious debt emergency (like insane credit cards) so even with the tax savings there is no way my wife's 403B or an IRA could be better than us paying down debt. Also I am mostly a SAHD right now and we have a pretty high mortgage interest. So our tax burden is pretty low. However when our debt is paid off and my kids start public school (hopefully 3-4 years) than I will go back to work and start working towards FIRE. So that is why I would like to learn about tax laws/ opportunities now.

Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #56 on: January 10, 2015, 09:47:34 PM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

I agree with blahblah ;)

I get a LOT of traffic to our blog for our articles on taxes

I've done my own taxes every year for 10+ years, and I do them on the 21st century version of paper:  Excel


This is what I would do:
Get a copy of your tax return from last year as a reference
Download (or get a paper copy from your library, etc...) of the i040, the Instructions for the 1040

Go through the instructions line by line.  They are boring.  You WILL fall asleep.  Drink coffee

You will also learn some stuff.  Next year you'll do it better, and faster

Put the numbers into an online tool for e-file or drop the forms in the mail.  I use Turbotax out of habit, and because I'm lazy (it imports all of our investment transactions so I don't have to do them manually)

It isn't hard, but it takes some time.  I've already done our taxes for this year, and it took longer than usual... about 7 minutes

But what if you make mistakes?!  It happens.  You might pay a little too much or too little.  You might get hit with a penalty.  My biggest penalty for a mistake I made cost me about $500.  It was the best $500 I ever spent, as I've saved 10's of thousands of dollars from what I've learned.  Doing my own taxes has probably paid the highest hourly rate of anything I've done, ever

Man I feel like I'm chatting with a personal finance celebrity, ha ha/ Love your guys blog.

So based on all the responses sounds like I'm leaning towards doing it by hand combined with software as a way to double check/file; Does that seem about what your recommending? Do you use a free Turbo tax or the $40-$50 one; Happy to spend the money just curious as to what you do?

Thank you everyone for the feedback!! My first experience on the "ask a mustachain" section and you all really delivered. Also bonus I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of doing them myself and she said "awesome _____ was getting pretty expensive". Not sure why I assumed she would be hesitant.

Jeremy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Taiwan
  • We retired in our 30's and are full time travelers
    • Go Curry Cracker!
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2015, 03:37:02 AM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

I agree with blahblah ;)

I get a LOT of traffic to our blog for our articles on taxes

I've done my own taxes every year for 10+ years, and I do them on the 21st century version of paper:  Excel


This is what I would do:
Get a copy of your tax return from last year as a reference
Download (or get a paper copy from your library, etc...) of the i040, the Instructions for the 1040

Go through the instructions line by line.  They are boring.  You WILL fall asleep.  Drink coffee

You will also learn some stuff.  Next year you'll do it better, and faster

Put the numbers into an online tool for e-file or drop the forms in the mail.  I use Turbotax out of habit, and because I'm lazy (it imports all of our investment transactions so I don't have to do them manually)

It isn't hard, but it takes some time.  I've already done our taxes for this year, and it took longer than usual... about 7 minutes

But what if you make mistakes?!  It happens.  You might pay a little too much or too little.  You might get hit with a penalty.  My biggest penalty for a mistake I made cost me about $500.  It was the best $500 I ever spent, as I've saved 10's of thousands of dollars from what I've learned.  Doing my own taxes has probably paid the highest hourly rate of anything I've done, ever

Man I feel like I'm chatting with a personal finance celebrity, ha ha/ Love your guys blog.

So based on all the responses sounds like I'm leaning towards doing it by hand combined with software as a way to double check/file; Does that seem about what your recommending? Do you use a free Turbo tax or the $40-$50 one; Happy to spend the money just curious as to what you do?

Thank you everyone for the feedback!! My first experience on the "ask a mustachain" section and you all really delivered. Also bonus I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of doing them myself and she said "awesome _____ was getting pretty expensive". Not sure why I assumed she would be hesitant.

That seems like what everybody is recommending.  Good plan

Last year I used the $40-$50 turbotax (or whatever it cost.)  It's possible to use TurboTax, just using it to double check your paper results, and then never actually "finish."  This costs $0, but then you have to send in your paper copy or whatever. 

Thanks for your kind comment

Humbly,

Jeremy

Nothlit

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2015, 07:00:19 AM »
I've used tax software for a decade and have never once paid for it (and no, I did not pirate anything -- I just always found legitimately free options). For the past several years I've been using TaxAct. It is free for federal e-file; they only charge if you want to upgrade for "deluxe" features (that I don't see the need for) or do state e-file through them -- which I don't do. My state (Massachusetts) has a free state-run web site for filing taxes. Even when I lived in other states that did not offer this, the state forms are easy enough to fill out by hand once you've done your federal forms (many states just ask you to plug in numbers from various lines on your federal form).

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2015, 09:07:08 AM »
Hmm, seems complicated.

In Belgium, I just log in to the government tax website with my identity card with chip. I click next, next, finish; as it is pre-filled (government knows already how much I earned, how much was deducted from my salary, etc.)

National ID? With a chip? Are you kidding me? Keep that shit in Europe. I will vote against that until the day I die.

OP - I slightly disagree with others on lowering your withholding. Do what works for you. Personal finance is not only math, it is emotions and what works for you. Why do you think that economists say that the Obama stimulus was more effective than the Bush stimulus? Because people are more likely to pay down debt or save lump sums than they are slow trickles of $. If you get an extra $30/month, the data shows that you are much much much more likely to spend all or some of it. Since you deal with a loss of income in the summer, perhaps your system works just fine and you shouldn't rock the boat.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2015, 09:10:27 AM by NICE! »

Murse

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 543
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2015, 09:59:23 AM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

Where does one get started on learning tax planning? Here in 6 months I will have my first big boy job and would like to be prepared.

Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #61 on: January 12, 2015, 10:16:31 AM »

Quote
OP - I slightly disagree with others on lowering your withholding. Do what works for you. Personal finance is not only math, it is emotions and what works for you. Why do you think that economists say that the Obama stimulus was more effective than the Bush stimulus? Because people are more likely to pay down debt or save lump sums than they are slow trickles of $. If you get an extra $30/month, the data shows that you are much much much more likely to spend all or some of it. Since you deal with a loss of income in the summer, perhaps your system works just fine and you shouldn't rock the boat.
[/quote]

Yes, on the fence with this one myself for the reasons you state. If I got the extra money I would have to leave it in cash for anyway so not like I really would make much interest anyway. Sure I'm carrying credit card debt and some would say pay that off saving the interest and then charge it back up over Summer. But credit card does not pay the big expenses like Mortgage and my other debt payments.

We have been toying with the idea of re-starting a small contribution to my wife's 403B if the Summer goes well. May just leave withholding's as is for remainder of school year and then change it to offset/even out the paycheck next fall. In theory we could contribute 5-6% to 403 B and up my dependants netting same check. Then I would just need to be more diligent on getting summer reserves on my own.

My wife also just got a $3,000 raise and will get another either late May or Early September. So will have to factor that into decisions as well.

Also saying "my system works just fine" is probably being a bit generous. I'm a hot mess of debt right now so obviously my system has not been doing too fine. But that's why I'm on hear learning!

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2015, 10:26:27 AM »
I know, longwaytogo, I was being kind. Honestly I think in your debt situation I am even less likely to support lowering the witholding. As it stands it is forced savings, which is good based upon your debt history.

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2015, 01:01:32 PM »
Plenty of places to do your taxes for free or cheap, but that totally misses the larger point.  Tax planning is infinitely more important than simply "doing" your taxes. 

If you're only thinking about taxes when you're actually "doing" your taxes... then you've already missed out. 

You need to invest the time to learn about tax planning.  I spent about 20-30 hours learning this year, and it's going to save me 5K this year, and the next, and the next.  Holy shit it was boring and tedious and I almost gave up multiple times... but how much would you pay for a business that would return your 5K in profit each year?  I paid with about 20-30 hours of learning, and it was a helluva deal. 

I'm actually going to keep using Turbo Tax because I'm lazy... but, like I said, that's a minor matter compared to the larger point.

http://rootofgood.com/make-six-figure-income-pay-no-tax/

http://www.gocurrycracker.com/never-pay-taxes-again/

Where does one get started on learning tax planning? Here in 6 months I will have my first big boy job and would like to be prepared.

First bit of advice for a situation like that, don't trust the W-4 form to calculate your witholdings for your first year. Basically, say July 1st you start a job making 100k/year. They will be witholding from your paycheck as if you are in the 100k tax bracket. However, you'll only really make about $50k for the year because you only have the job for the last 6 months. So your effective rate tax rate will be much lower than the government expects. So when you are filling out the W-4 it may be a good idea to say you have more exemptions than you really do so that they don't take as much money out each paycheck (talk to an accountant disclaimer here).

I messed this up my first year with a real job and ended up getting a refund of about $5000 the following April.

teen persuasion

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #64 on: January 13, 2015, 07:28:53 AM »
Quick update on getting actual paper forms and instruction booklets from the library.  I just got an email that due to govt cutbacks, libraries et al will only have 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ forms, nothing else, not even instructions for those forms.  You can still order forms and instructions from the IRS, online or by phone, and they will mail them to you, but I have no idea of when you will get the forms, so order now if you want them.  Individual forms are easy enough to print off the IRS website, but the instruction booklets are much too large.

I will be personally walking patrons thru ordering forms and booklets at the library, most of those picking up paper forms are not comfortable with computers.  Anyone else remember when the IRS mailed everyone  a packet of forms and booklets in mid-December?

GardenFun

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Packers Hell - they're everywhere!
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #65 on: January 13, 2015, 07:41:04 AM »
Quick update on getting actual paper forms and instruction booklets from the library.  I just got an email that due to govt cutbacks, libraries et al will only have 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ forms, nothing else, not even instructions for those forms.  You can still order forms and instructions from the IRS, online or by phone, and they will mail them to you, but I have no idea of when you will get the forms, so order now if you want them.  Individual forms are easy enough to print off the IRS website, but the instruction booklets are much too large.

I will be personally walking patrons thru ordering forms and booklets at the library, most of those picking up paper forms are not comfortable with computers.  Anyone else remember when the IRS mailed everyone  a packet of forms and booklets in mid-December?

Thanks for posting this.  Recently told my parents that I will do their taxes and to go get their forms from the library.  You saved me from getting scolded for 10 minutes.  ;-)

teen persuasion

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1062
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #66 on: January 13, 2015, 08:21:29 AM »
Gardenfun, you are welcome!

Now, if only I could get the word out so easily to our non-computer literate patrons.  It's not like they are checking out our library social media accounts.

eyePod

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 966
    • Flipping A Dollar
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2015, 10:17:17 AM »
I just posted about this, but I'm looking to have someone do my taxes due to all the life events in the year. Also in Maryland. Let me know if you know someone good (not the guy you had though)!

TerriM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2015, 10:55:50 AM »

So based on all the responses sounds like I'm leaning towards doing it by hand combined with software as a way to double check/file; Does that seem about what your recommending? Do you use a free Turbo tax or the $40-$50 one; Happy to spend the money just curious as to what you do?

Thank you everyone for the feedback!! My first experience on the "ask a mustachain" section and you all really delivered. Also bonus I mentioned to my wife that I was thinking of doing them myself and she said "awesome _____ was getting pretty expensive". Not sure why I assumed she would be hesitant.

My mom is anti TurboTax because you can't move the license from one computer to another without having to contact them to transfer the license (at least last she checked).  Unless you're planning to keep your computer another 10 years, would recommend trying someone else's. 

I definitely think having a computer double check it GREAT.  I hated my taxes doing it by hand, and I love them now.  Every year I'd sign the bottom saying that the taxes were correct, and just feel like "who knows?  I could've totally screwed it up.".

The best thing about software, is that you can plug numbers in and see what next year will (approximately) be like.  What would you owe in taxes if you bought a house, or donated more, or had a kid? 

dunhamjr

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
  • mustachian in training est. July 14
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2015, 11:15:45 AM »
Paid $445 last year.

So my taxes are pretty freaking simple. 2 w-2's, mortgage interest, child tax credit etc. Did not sell any investments or do any retirement stuff this year (in serious debt pay down mode right now).

you should at least go back to your dad's accountant, or even better do them on your own.

i have 2 w2's, 1099 income, primary home mortgage interest, charity, student loan interest, 401k, IRA, DC FSA/child care, HSA, rental income/expense/mortgage interest, stock brokerage acct sales/purchases, stock options, multiple years of stock RSU's... etc.  live in WA state, so sales tax deduction as well

and i do my own taxes with HR block app.  have always done my own.  do my mom's.  did my step moms.  did/do my wife's before we were married, and of course now. etc.

even in my MUCH more complex scenario i dont see any reason to pay someone multiple hundreds of $'s for the small amount of work needed... especially if using an app (hrblock, taxcut, taxact, turbotax, etc)

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1883
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2015, 11:32:21 AM »

My mom is anti TurboTax because you can't move the license from one computer to another without having to contact them to transfer the license (at least last she checked).  Unless you're planning to keep your computer another 10 years, would recommend trying someone else's. 

That was the brouhaha of several years ago, and they backed down.  My hard copy of TTax makes the rounds of my family.  The box says 5 free e-files, so it's me, my Mom, my sister, and my 2 nephews.  We've been doing that for years. 

I'm not sure how H&R Block does it, so that will weigh in on our decision next year.  As it is, I emailed H&R my receipt and have gotten a reply stating they're looking at my info and will send me a download code within three days.

I've done our taxes every year since pencil and paper times, even when we moved, had rental property, sold rental property.  Not fun, but doable.  This year will be interesting with COBRA and ACA stuff going on.  The one time I contacted a tax professional, I got incorrect info (well, more like "it usually works this way", but in our case it didn't, so we ended up with a small penalty). 

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1883
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #71 on: January 14, 2015, 11:27:09 AM »
H&R Block has come through with the promised free download of their Deluxe version, with a code for 5 free e-files and a free state download. 

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #72 on: January 14, 2015, 12:45:18 PM »
H&R Block has come through with the promised free download of their Deluxe version, with a code for 5 free e-files and a free state download.

still waiting on mine...   I sent the email last Friday, got the "we'll let you know" email back on Sunday... but have yet to hear back.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1883
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #73 on: January 14, 2015, 01:04:39 PM »
Interesting.  I didn't see the info on the free switch until the 12th, and emailed my info (name, address, phone, OS, copy of receipt) at noon that day (Monday).  I got the auto response at 10PM Monday, and the link today (Wednesday) at noon.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1883
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #74 on: January 17, 2015, 01:12:21 PM »

I'm in an online chat with TTax now. They are upgrading me to Premier.  I think they will be doing a LOT of that this tax season.  Get in line early.

(Sorry I am such a threadjacker.)

Are they upgrading you free?  Or charging the difference?
After a LONG online chat, they are supposed to be snail mailing me the upgraded version free.  They balked for a bit because I bought it from Amazon (in combination with Quicken 2015, another Intuit product)rather than directly through Intuit (who does that?)

If I do get it, I'll be happy for this year, but definitely looking elsewhere next year.
I received my free copy of TTax Premier in the mail today.  Now if I could just get the forms...

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #75 on: January 18, 2015, 08:05:55 AM »

I'm in an online chat with TTax now. They are upgrading me to Premier.  I think they will be doing a LOT of that this tax season.  Get in line early.

(Sorry I am such a threadjacker.)

Are they upgrading you free?  Or charging the difference?
After a LONG online chat, they are supposed to be snail mailing me the upgraded version free.  They balked for a bit because I bought it from Amazon (in combination with Quicken 2015, another Intuit product)rather than directly through Intuit (who does that?)

If I do get it, I'll be happy for this year, but definitely looking elsewhere next year.
I received my free copy of TTax Premier in the mail today.  Now if I could just get the forms...

They just gave me a download link for TT premier -- and I, too, bought it somewhere other than from Intuit.  But: I asked for a refund ... maybe that is the difference.

belgiandude

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #76 on: January 23, 2015, 11:31:57 PM »
National ID? With a chip? Are you kidding me? Keep that shit in Europe. I will vote against that until the day I die.

What are your arguments?

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #77 on: January 24, 2015, 04:52:00 AM »
belgiandude, I don't think you have to dwell too long on the question to understand arguments against such a system.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #78 on: January 24, 2015, 05:02:13 AM »
Guys, really, doing your own taxes is not that hard. There were two links to guides above. I think those are great. If you want another one, I have one on my blog https://fiby40.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/personal-income-taxes/ (and I cover capital gains taxes in the posts after that one)

Reyes01

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #79 on: January 24, 2015, 10:39:34 AM »
We have a CPA do ours. For some time neither the federal or state governments acknowledge our marriage. Then the federal government recognized it, and not the state. Now both do. It was over my head to figure out the multiple versions (having to prepare a "fake" state in order to prepare the real federal and such). Now that both the federal & state recognize our marriage, we are used to having a CPA do them so will likely continue to do so:-)

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4647
  • Age: 11
  • Location: USA
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #80 on: January 26, 2015, 08:55:58 AM »
belgiandude, I don't think you have to dwell too long on the question to understand arguments against such a system.
What do you think a passport is?

nawhite

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
  • Location: An RV somewhere in the West
    • The Reckless Choice
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #81 on: January 26, 2015, 10:09:35 AM »
We have a CPA do ours. For some time neither the federal or state governments acknowledge our marriage. Then the federal government recognized it, and not the state. Now both do. It was over my head to figure out the multiple versions (having to prepare a "fake" state in order to prepare the real federal and such). Now that both the federal & state recognize our marriage, we are used to having a CPA do them so will likely continue to do so:-)

Just remember if you continue to use a CPA, the advantage of using a CPA over turbotax or something similar comes when you visit or talk to them in June or October, not in March. Use your CPA as a resource to do tax planning, not just tax filing.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #82 on: January 26, 2015, 11:47:40 AM »
We have a CPA do ours. For some time neither the federal or state governments acknowledge our marriage. Then the federal government recognized it, and not the state. Now both do. It was over my head to figure out the multiple versions (having to prepare a "fake" state in order to prepare the real federal and such). Now that both the federal & state recognize our marriage, we are used to having a CPA do them so will likely continue to do so:-)

Just remember if you continue to use a CPA, the advantage of using a CPA over turbotax or something similar comes when you visit or talk to them in June or October, not in March. Use your CPA as a resource to do tax planning, not just tax filing.
Agreed. One of the reasons I advocate people do their own taxes is to be able to learn the tax code and plan ahead. It is pretty difficult to do this with software, but substantially easier with a CPA.
Proper tax planning can save you tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.

NICE!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
  • Location: Africa
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #83 on: January 26, 2015, 04:17:46 PM »
belgiandude, I don't think you have to dwell too long on the question to understand arguments against such a system.
What do you think a passport is?

Leaving behind very debatable points about whether or not a passport is a good idea in and of itself, since when are you required to have one?


Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #84 on: January 27, 2015, 01:38:35 PM »
OP here, just ordered my instruction forms from IRS and should have them in 7-15 business days.

It seems as though MD does not offer that but its only 25 pages (instead of like 100) so I may just print it. Or they say you can pick them up at a designated location, though its about a 30 min drive so not sure if I'll bother driving over.

Thanks again for everyone's feedback.  My in-laws have my kids over Valentines weekend so I may try and sit down and do the taxes then. (though that may not be the romantic weekend my wife had in mind, ha ha)

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1883
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #85 on: January 29, 2015, 10:13:58 PM »
Turbo Tax cries uncle.

They're rolling back the changes that ticked everyone off.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5753
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2015, 03:55:21 PM »
Turbo Tax cries uncle.

They're rolling back the changes that ticked everyone off.

LOL.   I bet some VP is now "leaving to pursue other opportunities."  They've destroyed years of customer loyalty that will be difficult to get back.

Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #87 on: March 11, 2015, 12:16:26 PM »
Success! Did all the taxes "by hand" a couple weekends ago and Dare I say it was actually sort of fun (former math nerd here). Then filed using the irs website and MD state website both for free.

Never ended up needing the software? having last years to view was very helpful although many of the line numbers had changed.

Also interesting to note that though our income only went up 12% my tax bill went up 48%. Basically the $2000 child tax credit erases a big chunk of the first $40-50K of income taxes. Right now we have a debt emergency (specifically credit cards) so I am not in a position to up the 403B. But in a few years when my debt is paid off and I go back to work full time I will defintley use this to lessen my bill.

Also learned recently that my wife has a 457B available which I'm really excited about it. I have read about the Roth ladders and what not to avoid paying penalties on the 403b/ 401K withdrawals but this makes it even simpler. Instead of waiting until 59.5 years of age you can take penalty free withdraws as soon as you stop employment. When we do up contributions I think we will do maybe half 403B and half 457B.

Anyway thanks for all who responded. The federal refund hit the bank today and states Monday so it's all good. Certainly happy I did not waste $445 of the refund on the prep fee!!

dandarc

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3541
  • Age: 37
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #88 on: March 11, 2015, 12:33:17 PM »
Success! Did all the taxes "by hand" a couple weekends ago and Dare I say it was actually sort of fun (former math nerd here). Then filed using the irs website and MD state website both for free.

Never ended up needing the software? having last years to view was very helpful although many of the line numbers had changed.

Also interesting to note that though our income only went up 12% my tax bill went up 48%. Basically the $2000 child tax credit erases a big chunk of the first $40-50K of income taxes. Right now we have a debt emergency (specifically credit cards) so I am not in a position to up the 403B. But in a few years when my debt is paid off and I go back to work full time I will defintley use this to lessen my bill.

Also learned recently that my wife has a 457B available which I'm really excited about it. I have read about the Roth ladders and what not to avoid paying penalties on the 403b/ 401K withdrawals but this makes it even simpler. Instead of waiting until 59.5 years of age you can take penalty free withdraws as soon as you stop employment. When we do up contributions I think we will do maybe half 403B and half 457B.

Anyway thanks for all who responded. The federal refund hit the bank today and states Monday so it's all good. Certainly happy I did not waste $445 of the refund on the prep fee!!
457's are the bees knees for early retirees!  If there is no matching considerations, and you're happy with the available funds in the 457, I'd prioritize that before the 403B, personally.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3196
    • My Blog
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #89 on: March 11, 2015, 12:55:56 PM »
Success! Did all the taxes "by hand" a couple weekends ago and Dare I say it was actually sort of fun (former math nerd here). Then filed using the irs website and MD state website both for free.

Never ended up needing the software? having last years to view was very helpful although many of the line numbers had changed.

Also interesting to note that though our income only went up 12% my tax bill went up 48%. Basically the $2000 child tax credit erases a big chunk of the first $40-50K of income taxes. Right now we have a debt emergency (specifically credit cards) so I am not in a position to up the 403B. But in a few years when my debt is paid off and I go back to work full time I will defintley use this to lessen my bill.

Also learned recently that my wife has a 457B available which I'm really excited about it. I have read about the Roth ladders and what not to avoid paying penalties on the 403b/ 401K withdrawals but this makes it even simpler. Instead of waiting until 59.5 years of age you can take penalty free withdraws as soon as you stop employment. When we do up contributions I think we will do maybe half 403B and half 457B.

Anyway thanks for all who responded. The federal refund hit the bank today and states Monday so it's all good. Certainly happy I did not waste $445 of the refund on the prep fee!!
457's are the bees knees for early retirees!  If there is no matching considerations, and you're happy with the available funds in the 457, I'd prioritize that before the 403B, personally.

Make sure it's a governmental 457b. Nongovernmental 457b's can be used in bankruptcy proceedings of the employer. Governmental 457b monies are held in trust for the employee.

N

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1378
  • Location: Chicago
  • You must change your life. -Rainer Maria Rilke
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #90 on: March 11, 2015, 11:22:44 PM »
@ GoldenStache- Expecting way too big of a refund to consider any gift card oiprion

@Longwaytogo
If you are expecting a very large tax refund you are doing something wrong.  Don't give the MAN an interest free loan.

I have my wife at 4 dependents (her, me, 2 kids). I'm mostly a stay at home dad now. Should I have her claim even more dependents;  or is there a way to just tell payroll how much you want deducted? How else can I get more out of her paycheck?

Also she is a teacher, so we have been sort of using tax return as part of our summer funding since she only gets paid 10 months a year.

@ eil-  I agree that $445 is a rip off which is what prompted me to consider doing it myself. Should have done it last year but I sold some stock, did some energy efficient upgrades,... and was a lazy wimp. Got to fix that this year

yes, there is a withholdng calculator worksheet and form. you fill it out and then give the form part to whoever does payroll (HR or boss, etc)
Ours went from 4 to a recommended 10. 
http://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/

Longwaytogo

  • Guest
Re: Scared to do my own taxes?
« Reply #91 on: March 14, 2015, 07:30:01 AM »
Quote
457's are the bees knees for early retirees!  If there is no matching considerations, and you're happy with the available funds in the 457, I'd prioritize that before the 403B, personally

Yeah, may end up doing this. Right now we are not contributing and the county just voted to go from 9 providers to 1 (fidelity) so we are going to have to switch people and re sort everything. The change is effective Jan 1, 2016. So my guess is we will wait until we get the new person sitiuated and then start with a small percentage wile we work on debt. Also wil have to get new provider to see what funds are available in each.

Quote
Make sure it's a governmental 457b. Nongovernmental 457b's can be used in bankruptcy proceedings of the employer. Governmental 457b monies are held in trust for the employee.

Shes a public school teacher so I assume its the governmental type.

Quote
yes, there is a withholdng calculator worksheet and form. you fill it out and then give the form part to whoever does payroll (HR or boss, etc)
Ours went from 4 to a recommended 10. 
http://apps.irs.gov/app/withholdingcalculator/

Thanks N, still not sure I trust myself enough to do this yet. Since shes a teacher we sort of use the tax return as our summer savings account. May re-consider but I'm so early in my journey and still with so much debt I would be a bit nervous to not have it.