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View Poll Results: Do you prepare your own taxes?
Yes - pencil, paper method, I'm old fashioned 20 7.27%
Yes - with software or online 198 72.00%
No - friend or family prepares for me, I just sign it 1 0.36%
No - I use a service (for example, tax help for seniors) 3 1.09%
No - I pay to have it done (examples, HR Block, Accountant) 52 18.91%
Other 1 0.36%
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #21
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I've done all of the above. We have used an accountant for the past 5 years or so due to complications that I wasn't confidently able to handle with one of the standard programs. However I do my mother's and kids' returns and use TT also to do analysis (such as deciding how much traditional IRA to convert to Roth).

This year I'm looking forward (sort of) to helping DD do her own return now that she is graduated and employed. I think it's good for young folks to understand how the tax process works and how #$@(&(!$#@ complicated the tax code has become.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
While some folks clearly need a pro, doing my own taxes made it very clear how I could reduce our tax liability in the future. I probably wouldn't have learned this if I'd just met with a tax preparer, did the interview, dropped off a shoebox full of receipts, and come back to sign the return. The money I saved by not paying a preparer was dwarfed by the money I saved later by organizing my finances to reduce taxes.
This is very wise advice. Do your own taxes, if possible, so you learn the tax laws, loopholes, rates, etc. Tax planning is much more important than preparation, and no one else cares about your situation as much as you do!
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:29 PM   #23
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We do our own, but we get advice from a financial advisor & cpa.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:36 PM   #24
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I did ours last year (TT) for the first time since the 70's. It was very easy and I have become more involved in my overall finances since then. I sold some of my company stock in 2011, so this may add a little wrinkle at tax time, but I assume Turbo Tax addresses situations like this.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:37 PM   #25
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I've always done my own taxes, using paper and pencil. It drives my SO nuts that I won't use TurboTax, but I know that I'd just go through and re-do it by hand as a double-check anyway.

I learn a lot about the tax code by doing it this way. I think it helps me plan better for future years when I see exactly what's happening. Over the years I've had a variety of "complexities" to deal with, including a rental property, capital gain from sale of a house after divorce, wash sale rules, self-employment, HSA, and royalties. Perhaps the biggest PITA of all was owning an energy "stock" that was actually a Master Limited Partnership. If I had known then what I know now, I don't think I'd have ever purchased that stock. Regardless, I feel it's been empowering to learn how the tax code applies to these situations.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:52 PM   #26
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I think it's good for young folks to understand how the tax process works and how #$@(&(!$#@ complicated the tax code has become.
My main complaint with TT is that it is so sanitized that you can't "see" the workings of the process. It' a bit like using a calculator without ever having to actually having to solve a problem with pencil and paper. I do use TT, it's (too) easy to use, but I don't like it.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:28 PM   #27
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My main complaint with TT is that it is so sanitized that you can't "see" the workings of the process. It' a bit like using a calculator without ever having to actually having to solve a problem with pencil and paper. I do use TT, it's (too) easy to use, but I don't like it.
As I enter data into the tax software I keep a log of what's been entered and its effect on the tax or refund due.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
My main complaint with TT is that it is so sanitized that you can't "see" the workings of the process. It' a bit like using a calculator without ever having to actually having to solve a problem with pencil and paper. I do use TT, it's (too) easy to use, but I don't like it.
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As I enter data into the tax software I keep a log of what's been entered and its effect on the tax or refund due.
+1

I also click on the forms view a lot to see the detail.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #29
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I used the same CPA for 30+ years. He was expensive but did a good job I guess. Cost me about 6 or 700 a year untill 3 years ago. I called him one day with a question on a Roth conversion and spoke to him for about 3 minutes. He sent me a bill for $300 additional when I received my bill for my taxes. I called him and asked him about the $300 and he said it was for the advise on the Roth conversion. Since then I've been using TT and it cost "0" via Vanguard.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:13 PM   #30
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I also click on the forms view a lot to see the detail.
Great minds think alike.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:26 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
My main complaint with TT is that it is so sanitized that you can't "see" the workings of the process. It' a bit like using a calculator without ever having to actually having to solve a problem with pencil and paper. I do use TT, it's (too) easy to use, but I don't like it.
I use TT but I also have the relevant tax forms modeled in my spreadsheet that I update as changes to the tax forms occur. This helps me know the workings of the TT as well as keeping up with tax minutia.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:42 PM   #32
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I've done my own since my first W-2 in 1976. But my Dad helped me with that 1040.

I only voted once, but I want another 1.5 votes for doing my father's taxes now and for helping my daughter with hers. All on TurboTax... I'm never going back to pencil & paper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
While some folks clearly need a pro, doing my own taxes made it very clear how I could reduce our tax liability in the future. I probably wouldn't have learned this if I'd just met with a tax preparer, did the interview, dropped off a shoebox full of receipts, and come back to sign the return. The money I saved by not paying a preparer was dwarfed by the money I saved later by organizing my finances to reduce taxes.
Exactly. Even my BIL, an exec at a tax-prep service, doesn't know all the tax rules anymore. He just knows where to look it up or, worst case, where to ask the questions. But he knows 1001 ways that people screw up their own taxes, and that's usually when they call him. Most frequently on 16 April.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
My main complaint with TT is that it is so sanitized that you can't "see" the workings of the process. It' a bit like using a calculator without ever having to actually having to solve a problem with pencil and paper. I do use TT, it's (too) easy to use, but I don't like it.
I'd much rather poke through TT's help menus and "Show form" views than to randomly search through the forms & pubs on the IRS website.

Even that's better than the days when all we had was a two-inch-thick copy of the latest edition of J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax" and an index compiled in six-point font...
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:03 PM   #33
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I have always done my own, and my brother the CPA once told me to never throw my money away by paying anyone else to do it for me. The government gives you all the information you need for free.

This is also why I never pay for anything but the basic versions of whatever software is on sale at the time. As far as I can tell, the only thing you get with the deluxe and premium versions are the same publications you can d/l for free from the IRS web site. I could be wrong, since I've never bought those "premium" versions.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:08 PM   #34
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...Even that's better than the days when all we had was a two-inch-thick copy of the latest edition of J.K. Lasser's "Your Income Tax" and an index compiled in six-point font...
Brings back memories of having that trusty J.K. Lasser's tax guide by the side, along will all the tax forms spread out on the mattress.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:37 AM   #35
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In the early and mid '70's I'd go to a tax preparer but then realized that all that was changing was the numbers and then did the tax returns myself.

When the software route became available we've used that ever since. I do have a tendency to make simple math errors, transpose digits, etc. so have to triple-check all entries. DW does a recheck. Ours are pretty simple, no rental homes, no multi-state or foreign income, etc.

This year we're getting a refund. After due deliberation and careful thought we're going to engage in bit of wanton, wasteful spending and blow the entire $22 on lunch at the local Bob Evans restaurant.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:59 AM   #36
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Over the years, I've paid twice to have it done. Last year, I paid, and in 2009 I paid. This year, I did it online with TaxAct.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:02 AM   #37
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Our return is pretty thick with being members of an LLC for our rental property. And we have MLP income too. So for the last several years we've been using one accountant for the LLC return and then another for our personal return. It costs too much, but I enjoy the piece of mind. B4 then, we did our own for 30+ years.
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Old 01-30-2012, 08:03 AM   #38
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Forgive the question if I am missing something obvious. When you use turbo tax, you connect to your broker, download data for the tax year. Will the cost basis be calculated for losses and gains automatically?

Last year I did a trial return with turbo, and compared it to HRB. With HRB I paid less tax (although the fees paid made up for the difference.) I could not find the discrepancy.

Makes me wonder if you had your taxes done by 4 different entities, would the end result ever match? Things to ponder.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #39
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Did my taxes with paper & pencil, moved to software in late 1980s. As each new situation came up, got adept at doing the research. Which led to being the go-to person in my office for tax matters. Which led to taking an HRB tax course when retired in 2000. Which led to working for HRB for five years. Got tired of the retail sales mentality and moved to a seasonal, Dog Days of Winter job at a CPA firm. Still use TT at home and for relatives, do 150-200 returns at my seasonal "office"

Do I still count as retired with this confession? I go by semi-retired, though I only w*rk about 10-12 weeks a year. And it's a great reminder how great retirement is!!
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:12 AM   #40
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I used to use pencil and paper.

Now I use Turbo Tax and am very happy with the product.
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