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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 01-31-2012, 12:13 PM   #61
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I'm one of those sick fcuks that half way enjoys doing taxes. So I use the 21st century version of pen and paper - spreadsheets and fillable and saveable adobe pdf forms. But I still print and mail them in the 20th century way (USPS).

I just helped my BIL and SIL file their taxes this past weekend. They had a kid in 2011 and I wanted to make sure they were getting all their deductions, exemptions, credits etc. From looking at their 2010 returns they did everything right last year using software (taxslayer.com??) and I added on the child related credits/deductions for state and fed taxes for 2011. Used fillable pdf forms from IRS.gov and the state tax website.

I think doing my taxes myself manually helps me understand all the moving parts and what happens as the different parts change values because there are so many things that phase in or out as your income changes. Good for tax planning now and looking ahead to ER. In general I don't think people really understand how taxes work, and they typically just fill in the fields on TT or similar software and cross their fingers. Manually preparing your own taxes forces you to look behind the scenes to see what happens.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:38 PM   #62
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we unfortantely have an accountant do our taxes. DW's business launched us into this. But, for some reason, I have ambition to do it ourselves this year...we shall see how this goes.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:32 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by ronocnikral View Post
we unfortantely have an accountant do our taxes. DW's business launched us into this. But, for some reason, I have ambition to do it ourselves this year...we shall see how this goes.
Doing a Schedule C in TurboTax isn't all that bad. For a small business I'd think the interview approach would give you a good start. The home office deduction is nice, but the downside is it complicates the return process.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:07 PM   #64
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DH and I use spreadsheets. I counted them as software - customized by us. I'm old enough to remember BEFORE there were spreadsheets. Believe me, spreadsheets are software, and quite different from pencil and paper!
DH does the lions share of the work, and I just check them and find errors, so that he can become annoyed with me. One year I used TurboTax just to see if he/we were missing something, and TurboTax did not have sufficient inputs for our situation. Now after many years I'm tempted to try TurboTax again just to doublecheck, but DH points out that TurboTax didn't serve Geithner well.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:18 PM   #65
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TT has problems, for example its UI remains stuck in the 1990s, but it's the cleanest shirt in the hamper.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:20 PM   #66
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. . . but DH points out that TurboTax didn't serve Geithner well.
If Timmy had followed TT's instructions he would have been fine (and most folks would have sympathized with his plight). He knew exactly what he was doing.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:09 PM   #67
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I've always done ours. Used to use paper and pencil and mailed in the forms. I switched to free online prep as soon as it was available. I keep an Excel spreadsheet and estimate in the fall just to see where we are headed. I also complete my son's Schedule C and the rest of his return.

DH has never helped with taxes, doesn't care, doesn't want to see what goes into it. We used to get a refund when we had dependent kids or college tax credits. Now that he's retired we estimate very close. We will get less than $50 back from the state and have to pay $126 to Federal.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:20 PM   #68
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I do my own, as well as a growing number of family members.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:36 PM   #69
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I've always done my taxes until 2006 when we had a house fire and lost everything. Literally was left with nothing, not even my wallet or glasses. It was a fire storm and we barely made it out.
The taxes for the loss was a huge write off. I didn't pay income taxes and went 'exempt' for 4 years. Once the loss was finished with the write-off, it was hard to go back to paying taxes. For 4 years I got to take home all my money basically. When taxes kicked back in, I was amazed how much it hit. I was smart and funded extra to my retirement with the 'windfall'.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:21 PM   #70
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Now after many years I'm tempted to try TurboTax again just to doublecheck, but DH points out that TurboTax didn't serve Geithner well.
Gotta second samclem on this one. It isn't fair to blame TurboTax (or any tax software) on this one. And since people are giving opinions on tax software here, I think that's relevant. Let's not give TT a black-eye over that one. I have other reasons to give TT a black eye, that I've mentioned before, but I can't really know that others are any better.

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TT has problems, for example its UI remains stuck in the 1990s, but it's the cleanest shirt in the hamper.
GrayHare - have you tried the other programs? What do you base this on? Most of the reviews I've read (and my own experiences) are a mixed bag.

-ERD50
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:41 PM   #71
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Just thought I'd mention this caveat. If you are switching tax software you have to make sure the carryover stuff is working properly. For example, year to year TurboTax carries forward your basis in IRA's. You do not want to loose that info which is needed when you take distributions.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:52 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Gotta second samclem on this one. It isn't fair to blame TurboTax (or any tax software) on this one. And since people are giving opinions on tax software here, I think that's relevant. Let's not give TT a black-eye over that one. I have other reasons to give TT a black eye, that I've mentioned before, but I can't really know that others are any better.

-ERD50
I agree with samclem and erd50, the point I was trying to make (or rather my DH was) was that using commercial software does not necessarily get you the correct result. I shouldn't have implied that TurboTax was bad. In fact, if I do choose to use commercial software it will be that one.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:58 PM   #73
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GrayHare - have you tried the other programs? What do you base this on? Most of the reviews I've read (and my own experiences) are a mixed bag.
-ERD50
I've tried some of the others, but don't know any that get higher ratings than TT, which is to say the other shirts are not as clean. I believe TaxAct is the next most popular after TT and it's weaker. Compared to paper and pencil (and eraser) all the tax programs are far ahead, but compared to other modern programs, they are behind. For example:

I see for 2011 TT finally allows the user to adjust font size, but the program still overrides the user's display color preferences and does not allow any color configuration. Even in recent years TT forced the user to enter 4 digits for the year in fields where 2 digits would have been sufficient. TT still requires the user to enter the *dollar value* of items such as the portion of investment income from US obligations, while most (all?) mutual fund companies report that value in per cent. TT's data field for this should accept either the dollar value or the per cent. TT has other similar user interface elements that also have not yet been upgraded to standards found in most other current apps. Such weaknesses certainly don't render TT unusable, but most UI tweaks I'm thinking of are simple to implement and make the program a bunch easier for everyone.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #74
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TurboTax all the way for me

Mr B does tax returns for some of his veteran buddies, charging them only $50. All he needs to do is 2 returns and we are completely cost reimbursed.

I did mine today, minus being able to download my VG brokerage data. VG's site says the data will be ready by Feb 17.

I am still able to itemize. So far, I have a $1600 refund coming.
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #75
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I use on-line free Turbo Tax only to calculate the AMT, if we owe it at all. Other than that, it's paper and pencil for me cuz it's pretty easy breezy.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:22 PM   #76
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Many years ago, I was referred to a company of tax accountants in Los Angeles by a musician friend. They do taxes for a lot of people in the various entertainment industries and as I was also working in that industry, with a good proportion of my income as 1099 income, I tried them out. Then for a few years, my taxes became more complex when I owned rental properties, and I was doubly glad to have their services.

Now that my only income is from savings accounts, dividends and, in the future, the occasional fund sale - along with maybe some W2 income for a part-time job, my taxes are much simpler. I still use them, as they know me and will advise in the very unlikely event that I'm audited for a past year. As they charge by the form, they're now pretty affordable. I'll most likely keep 'em at least for a few more years in case of audit. After that, I may go it alone. We'll see.
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Old 02-02-2012, 05:51 AM   #77
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #78
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I lucky, my DW works for the IRS, so she is in charge of doing our taxes.
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Old 02-02-2012, 09:38 AM   #79
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Doing a Schedule C in TurboTax isn't all that bad. For a small business I'd think the interview approach would give you a good start. The home office deduction is nice, but the downside is it complicates the return process.
I have surrendered to a tax professional. I was trying to depriciate my home office and since we had two different houses last year (three different mortgage companies), with two different size offices my patience wore thin. Somehow, I fell asleep? DW woke me up around 10:30 to go to bed.

Oh well....
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:11 AM   #80
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Efiled my taxes last night with TT. Already got the state accepting. The federal is still waiting approval.

Ended up owing on both. $6 to Fed. A whopping $9 to state.
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