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Income Tax Prep Tips
Old 02-09-2009, 11:17 AM   #1
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Income Tax Prep Tips

Preparing our income tax returns was relatively painless this year. Partly it was easy because each year our situation has gotten simpler.

Here's one thing I do which has made things better. In Quicken I have a folder of reports just for taxes. So the first thing I do is to go through them and print them to PDF files.

TaxReports.jpg

Next, I scan in all the 1099s and other tax documents. All of these jpg files go into that same folder (for example, My Documents/Taxes/2008).

So at this point, everything I need is on the computer. Last year's reports and return are also available. I can sit in front of the fire and go through the TaxAct interview.

Got any tips?
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:37 AM   #2
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My tip is to have Al do your taxes.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:45 AM   #3
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My tip is to have Al do your taxes.
What does he charge?
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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What does he charge?

I think you can barter with food or beer.
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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I manage all our investments and pay our bills and compute and pay quarterly estimated taxes.

But DH gets to compute and file the annual tax return!

Since we are able to download most of our transactions electronically directly into turbotax, it's not that much work - except for the spreadsheet DH has to crunch to figure our foreign tax credit - real messy.

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:28 PM   #6
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Microsoft Money has the same ability, however, it is a much simpler process. I am not at home so I won't be able to diagram the steps therefore you will just have to take my word for it.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:34 PM   #7
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My tip: Wait until next October to do your taxes. Always file for an extension on April 15th. That way when all the corrected 1099s come in July, you haven't wasted your time putting the wrong information on your tax return. And hopefully, they have all the bugs worked out of TurboTax, TaxCut or TaxAct by then.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:44 PM   #8
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Here's a tip that at least applies to TaxAct on-line for the Mac, maybe others but I have not tried.

To print any forms, I go through the right/Control-click and "save link" process. I found that those pdfs are searchable. When I've done it other ways, I get a pdf that is a larger file size, and is not searchable or cut/paste-able.

-ERD50
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Preparing our income tax returns was relatively painless this year. Partly it was easy because each year our situation has gotten simpler.
Got any tips?
The less I trade, the easier our taxes get.

We keep a spreadsheet of our monthly income and its sources (salary, interest, dividends, cap gains) and tax info we've regularly needed (like vehicle miles for volunteering or the rental home). It started as a way to monitor our estimated taxes but it's grown over the years to a useful summary that reminds me what to track down.

The only other tip I have is "20 minutes a day". Which I'll begin as soon as I finish reading the rest of the posts. Yup, any minute now...
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
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I think you can barter with food or beer.
Or yarn.

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Old 02-10-2009, 10:55 AM   #11
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The only other tip I have is "20 minutes a day".
That's similar to how I get started.

"I don't wanna do the taxes."
"Well, just print out the Quicken reports -- that's simple."

or

"Well, just download TaxAct. That's easy."
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:19 AM   #12
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The less I trade, the easier our taxes get.
I read this on another thread... apparently the workaround is to trade in tax sheltered accounts.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:52 AM   #13
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At the end of the tax year I start running tax simulations (based on Quicken numbers) to see if I can do anything to lower our taxes before year end. I also start a new folder for 1099s, W-2s and other forms and arrange them in that folder by categories as they come in (earned income, dividends & interests, capital gains, deductions, etc...). Then in mid-february I start inputing some data in Turbotax, a little bit at a time. I check with Quicken to make sure that everything checks out. Once I file my return, I print the return and store it with all the original supporting documents. I also create an electronic copy of the return and supporting documents as backup.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:25 PM   #14
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Al -

We don't use Quicken to do taxes or tax reports. We are able to download just about everything directly (electronically) into Turbotax from Fidelity and Oakmark. There are just a couple other small items from a one other 1099 and estimated taxes paid that is manually entered.

Now, for things that might go into schedule A, we would generate a report from Quicken. But we don't itemize deductions. We have no mortgage interest and so the standard deduction is plenty.

Really, the rest of it is just arm wrestling AMT and the foreign tax credit.

We spend most of the time reviewing the computed forms and comparing against the printed 1099s to make sure we understand what Turbotax did, and that Turbotax (or we) didn't make any "stupid" mistakes.

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