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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%
Voters: 275. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-30-2012, 09:29 AM   #41
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Life became too complicated. My wife (the accountant) does ours first, then we pay to have a CPA that is current to tax law re-do it.

I fired myself from doing taxes. IRS audited us, and found us owing $100,000. That was several years income! This was war. I refiled, and made many calls to the IRS help center, in effect having the IRS do my taxes, line by line, and documentation including the agents name, number, and date and time of the call. If I had an agent that was less knowledgeable or unhelpful, I would try again, later. Eventually, I walked away with an additional $14000 from them. The happy ending meant much worry and sleepless nights. Never again.

Another rant was the time that TaxAct planted a virus on my computer that trashed it. CDilla was an anti-piracy software that flipped some boot-sector switches that TaxAct put in their cd. I operated with a multi OS computer, switching from Unix, Windows, Linux to learn more. Their 'sneaking' in boot sector alterations from discs ended up trashing the hard drive that even deep reformatting couldn't save. I didn't recieve a penny from TaxAct, not even to reimburse me for the software. I recommend everyone to stay away from TaxAct.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:34 AM   #42
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Another happy TurboTax user for years.

I also use it throughout the year for estimated taxes and what-ifs. Links nowadays will take you to online info and also to IRS publications if you need real detail.

Can easily flip between interview mode and straight form entry. This is great for doing specialized things and error checking.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:42 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by RE2Boys View Post
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!!
If you feel like you are retired, then you still count as being retired. I think we each define retirement for ourselves. Some people just love doing something like your CPA firm job, and there is no reason why you should deny yourself that pleasure if you enjoy it. It's not for me, though!

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Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
I used to use pencil and paper.

Now I use Turbo Tax and am very happy with the product.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:44 AM   #44
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I used pencil and paper until I got married. I used HR Block for several years after that. Then I found several errors on my prepared return and switched to Turbotax.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:08 AM   #45
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...
Makes me wonder if you had your taxes done by 4 different entities, would the end result ever match? Things to ponder.
The talking heads have been doing this for years. Just watch your news outlets of choice around tax time.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:20 AM   #46
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...
Another rant was the time that TaxAct planted a virus on my computer that trashed it. CDilla was an anti-piracy software that flipped some boot-sector switches that TaxAct put in their cd. I operated with a multi OS computer, switching from Unix, Windows, Linux to learn more. Their 'sneaking' in boot sector alterations from discs ended up trashing the hard drive that even deep reformatting couldn't save. I didn't recieve a penny from TaxAct, not even to reimburse me for the software. I recommend everyone to stay away from TaxAct.
Maybe I don't understand your post, but when I Google "cdilla taxact" I see lots of links talking about TurboTax and C-Dilla, and people talking about switching to TaxAct, but none about acquiring C-Dilla from TaxAct.

Let me google that for you
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:55 PM   #47
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I did paper and pencil for many years.
Then I moved the math to Excel, which was really nice for comparing consecutive years.
Then I started using the online IRS fillable forms, but printing them and mailing paper.
The last few years I've used TurboTax (free through Vanguard) to check my numbers,
but I still mail printed copies of the IRS forms.
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #48
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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.
The most expensive $300 he ever collected!
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:27 PM   #49
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Do my own -- plus 400 other people. Mine are last (October).
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:05 PM   #50
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I did my own taxes, and my spouses for a years by hand, and then later with tax software. Then, in 2006 I was prompted to seek the advice of an accountant. Long story short was it resulted in a refile of both our taxes going back several years. This refile resulted in refunds of just under $9K net of the accountant's fee. Since then, our accountant handles the taxes but more importantly works with us to ensure that we organize our affairs so as to minimize tax.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:02 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by devans0 View Post
Another rant was the time that TaxAct planted a virus on my computer that trashed it. CDilla was an anti-piracy software that flipped some boot-sector switches that TaxAct put in their cd. I operated with a multi OS computer, switching from Unix, Windows, Linux to learn more. Their 'sneaking' in boot sector alterations from discs ended up trashing the hard drive that even deep reformatting couldn't save. I didn't recieve a penny from TaxAct, not even to reimburse me for the software. I recommend everyone to stay away from TaxAct.

Is it possible you got the virus someplace else? I've been using TaxAct for years, including the two years I ran my taxes on TaxAct first, then took them to an accountant. I've never had any problem. I've never used any other tax software, not even TurboTax.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:28 PM   #52
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Deloitte does my US tax federal and state returns (the firm pays for that).

I do my own HK tax returns which take about 5 minutes for the salary parts (of which 4 minutes is agreeing with mrs traineeinvestor how to split the dependant children allowance) and about 10 - 15 minutes for each rental property.

One year of US returns is thicker than about 8-10 years of HK salary and property tax returns. If I didn't have the rental properties, one year of US tax returns would be thicker than all of the income tax returns I've filed in the 19 years I've been in HK put together.

I really don't understand why a tax code has to be so complicated that so many people need either specialist software or professional advice to comply with their tax obligations - simplifying the tax code would free up so much time for people to spend on more productive activities.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:42 PM   #53
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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.
Actually there is a way to use Turbo Tax use the forms view, and enter the various documents you get, such as w2s and 1099s. The program will generate a copy for each payer. You enter deductions on the page as appropriate.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:04 PM   #54
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I've been doing my own returns since I first had a job. I started using tax software in the mid 1990s, as the forms and supporting worksheets grew in complexity and developed what looked like circular dependencies, at least to an engineer trying to follow the tax code. It's up to 3.8 million words in all of Title 26, and of course ignorance is no excuse.

The returns for this last few years have run to about 70 pages of forms and worksheets for our joint return, an impressive stack of paper for folks with modest income and an effective federal rate of 0%. it's sort of a part time job, without the ability to retire.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:51 PM   #55
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The returns for this last few years have run to about 70 pages of forms and worksheets for our joint return, an impressive stack of paper for folks with modest income and an effective federal rate of 0%. it's sort of a part time job, without the ability to retire.
And the pay sucks too!

Spouse tells me that when her pension starts (just 10 more years) then she'll take over paying the bills. However she didn't volunteer to take over the taxes... maybe she thinks I'm going to pass that one right on down to our daughter.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:52 AM   #56
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I took over the bills when I retired (DH had been working part time). But DH stll does the annual taxes. But I do take care of the estimated taxes.

Audrey
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:20 AM   #57
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Online software (Turbotax)
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:50 AM   #58
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I have always done my own, my parents and a friend or two. Pencil in the early years, Turbo Tax today. I buy the deluxe version.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:10 AM   #59
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No surprise in the poll results, IMO.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:25 AM   #60
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No surprise in the poll results, IMO.
I was thinking the same thing. Doing our own taxes and playing with the numbers helps to see how to get to where you can retire early. Pencil and paper here for years. TurboTax for the last several years. There is still that nagging thought in my mind that in all the millions of words in the tax code TT may be missing something that could save us some more on the taxes.
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