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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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Poll - Who does your taxes?
Old 01-29-2012, 11:10 AM   #1
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Poll - Who does your taxes?

While doing housework (cleaning kitchen, bathroom) this morning, I was listening to this financial talk show when a caller called asking how to change his W-4 so he'd not get such a large refund after filing his taxes, but instead have that money throughout the year.

The conversation changes to the investment advisors on the show telling pretty much to the caller to don't do his own taxes. This the caller's situation (married, two children) is complex now to leave the taxes to the pros. That any money saved from doing your own taxes is lost in doing them incorrectly without the help of a pro. Of course, I didn't agree with advice and didn't like the way the advisors kinda talked down to the caller.

Anyhow, that led me thinking..time for a tax preparation poll
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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OK, so where is the poll?
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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There has not been a single tax return that I did not prepare myself. Enough said.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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I do my taxes with TT, and those of other family members as well.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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Have done my own (paper forms) for 44 years except for 2 years in the 80's when I got a little lazy and used a tax preparer. Although, this link (www.freefilefillableforms.com) is starting to look pretty tempting. It is very similar to paper forms but it is online. Has anyone else used this ?
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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The folks who gave that advice are all tax preparers so naturally they will think that.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arky View Post
Have done my own (paper forms) for 44 years except for 2 years in the 80's when I got a little lazy and used a tax preparer. Although, this link (www.freefilefillableforms.com) is starting to look pretty tempting. It is very similar to paper forms but it is online. Has anyone else used this ?
I've always done our taxes, first with paper/pen and then with software (our taxes are very simple), but this link is a good idea. It's an IRS site and there's more information here about it: Free File Fillable Forms - Your Link to Free Federal Online Filing
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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I use HRB deluxe but keep control totals and supporting details on spreadsheets for items like 1099D's , tax exempt & US Treasury income, mutual fund income, and foreign taxes.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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The first 5 years we lived in the USA my Megacorp paid for tax preparers to do our return. We had no choice as the taxes were very complicated. First year after I had transferred permanently I did my own taxes using tax software and have done so ever since.

Before that we lived in the UK, which is where both our kids were born, and we rarely had to file a return. The years that we did have to file a return, it was simple to do ourselves on paper.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arky View Post
Have done my own (paper forms) for 44 years except for 2 years in the 80's when I got a little lazy and used a tax preparer. Although, this link (www.freefilefillableforms.com) is starting to look pretty tempting. It is very similar to paper forms but it is online. Has anyone else used this ?
I do my own but download the forms from the IRS website since I can keep electronic copies, edit the forms easily, and print copies (to keep or file with state return). I notice the link above takes you to a private website to actually fill out the forms, so I have never tried it.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:19 PM   #11
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I have done mine every year since 1985, the first year I did them (including in 2008, the year I ERed and had a complex return which included the AMT after a large ESOP payout). Starting in the mid-199s after I bought my first PC, I designed a skeleton spreadsheet which enables me to check the calculations and try some what-if scenarios. I don't believe that is what the poll-taker meant as "software" so I answered the first choice in the poll.

I even prepare the tax returns for my ladyfriend and my best (male) friend, all the same way. Theirs have usually been easier than mine but not always.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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I did my returns paper & pencil until I remarried in 1986 . He worked for the IRS so he did the taxes . After his death I had someone do them since it was more involved than I thought I could handle . After a few years I started doing them again with a program . I refused to pay $350 for something I could do especially after they made a costly mistake . Just did mine yesterday . It took two hours from start to finish . I have to recheck it and then e-file .
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:49 PM   #13
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IMO the hard part is gathering all the records, while the easy part is filing in the little boxes. After I do the hard part, why should I then pay someone to do the easy?
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:52 PM   #14
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I used to do my taxes paper, pencil and buying a good tax guide book every year. Then hired a professional to do them for several years. But discovered that I'd find some mistakes that the preparer did -- irked me that I'd pay $150 or so and then have to proofread. So I went the software route (turbotax) and just input the information myself instead of handing my organized info to the preparer to do.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
That any money saved from doing your own taxes is lost in doing them incorrectly without the help of a pro.
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.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:13 PM   #16
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DW and I used an accountant for decades because of a weird mix of regular income, partnership income, multi-state involvement, etc. But we switched to Turbo Tax last year because we are in a far more stable and somewhat simpler situation now.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:17 PM   #17
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I have never used a pro/service. An all day affair with pencil, paper (everywhere!) and calculator when I was younger, using TurboTax for the last 10-15+ years (and 1-2 hours at most).
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #18
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I've always done my own. Pencil and paper until about 10 years ago, when I switched to software.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:45 PM   #19
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I forgot to add that I started using PC tax software a year or two after I got my first PC in 85. Prior to that, I would fill in the return with pencil, then put it away for a week or two before looking over it again to see if I missed anything. Then, I would fill out in ink.

The tax rules are getting more complicated, I think. Perhaps just because nearly everybody uses the computer, they think they can lay down even more clauses and exceptions and special provisions? I don't think I can do it by hand anymore, because I would miss something and had to recompute everything for each error.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:16 PM   #20
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I have always done mine except for 2005-2006 when Price Waterhouse Coopers did mine because I was expat in UK and the company paid for it.
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