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Turbotax
Old 06-18-2018, 07:10 PM   #1
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Turbotax

We have always had our CPA do our taxes, and probably will continue doing so. However I would like a tool I could use to forecast our taxes using different income source scenarios. Per the Turbotax website, it appears that all they offer right now is a free tool called Taxcaster. It looks like their regular software that you can buy is still based on 2017 tax laws.

Am I missing something? I tried doing a search to find this but couldn't find an answer to whether there is a tool available that can be either downloaded or purchased to put different scenarios into. I'm thinking about whether to turn on pension and/or deferred comp income sources and a simulation tool would be very helpful.

Thanks!
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:32 PM   #2
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I like this free download:

https://sites.google.com/site/excel1...er-new-tax-law

Note that it is an Excel spreadsheet with macros, which may make some people uncomfortable from a security standpoint.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:03 PM   #3
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My copy of TurboTax 2017 I can do 2018 forecasting. So it does have the new 2018 rules.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
My copy of TurboTax 2017 I can do 2018 forecasting. So it does have the new 2018 rules.
could you explain exactly how you use turbotax to forecast taxes for next year. where on the software do you go? Thanks.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:47 PM   #5
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There are no actual tax prep programs for 2018 because the IRS hasn't finished its rule-making or published the 2018 forms. The spreadsheet SecondCor521 mentioned gives that author's best guess as to what the forms will look like and how the calcs will go.

The TurboTax desktop version also has the what-if feature, which is Intuit's best guess about how the calcs will work, but you'd have to enter the data from your 2017 return first in order to use it. It's nice because it gives you all the inputs in columns and you can play out multiple scenarios and compare them side-by-side.

One caveat is that it doesn't do the full return calculation for all forms and can't handle a complex situation such as having a prior year passive loss carryover on Sch E where the amount you're allowed to use is dependent on this year's income. What-if only has one bottom line number for Sch E and doesn't adjust it as you add more income elsewhere. This matters for me, because my main use for it is to test what happens as I convert more money to Roth IRAs, so I have to manually adjust the Sch E number as that allowed loss gets phased out. I also don't think it handles the new passthrough business rules yet, but I haven't tested that. It does work fine if you're only using Schedules A, B, D though.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:50 PM   #6
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could you explain exactly how you use turbotax to forecast taxes for next year. where on the software do you go? Thanks.
You must have the desktop version of TurboTax to do this.

1. Open your return and press Ctrl+2 to go to Forms mode
2. Click Open Form and type "what" in the pop-up
3. Select What-If Worksheet from the search results and then click the Open Form button
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:11 PM   #7
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You must have the desktop version of TurboTax to do this.

1. Open your return and press Ctrl+2 to go to Forms mode
2. Click Open Form and type "what" in the pop-up
3. Select What-If Worksheet from the search results and then click the Open Form button
You can do it with the on line version as well. Type the question into help and follow the instructions. It leads you to a set of instructions.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:15 PM   #8
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You can do it with the on line version as well. Type the question into help and follow the instructions. It leads you to a set of instructions.
Oh cool! That didn't used to work online. Good to know they added that feature at some point.
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Old 06-19-2018, 12:28 AM   #9
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Thanks for explaining where to get the “what if” function in TurboTax. I also didn’t know that the 2017 version had been updated for 2018 law.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:02 AM   #10
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Just be sure to check the check box to use 2018 tax rates.... otherwise it will use 2017.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:24 AM   #11
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You can do it with the on line version as well. Type the question into help and follow the instructions. It leads you to a set of instructions.
I just tried this. It brought up a link to "What-If Worksheets". The answer/response said:

The on-line version does not support a 'what-if' scenario (that is only available with the desktop version).

Once you make ANY changes to the online version the previous information is overwritten and is PERMANENTLY deleted. You will have to manually re-enter/re-create your return.

You might want to try to create NEW dummy accounts for your various scenarios and then simply abandon them when you are finished.


No other links come up that take me to a set of instructions.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:44 AM   #12
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Thanks. That was a helpful feature I wasn't aware of.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:59 AM   #13
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I just tried this. It brought up a link to "What-If Worksheets". The answer/response said:

The on-line version does not support a 'what-if' scenario (that is only available with the desktop version).

Once you make ANY changes to the online version the previous information is overwritten and is PERMANENTLY deleted. You will have to manually re-enter/re-create your return.

You might want to try to create NEW dummy accounts for your various scenarios and then simply abandon them when you are finished.


No other links come up that take me to a set of instructions.
I searched something like 2018 estimated tax. It will give you a set of instructions that leads you to a tool.
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:01 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
I searched something like 2018 estimated tax. It will give you a set of instructions that leads you to a tool.
Oh I see. It does have a tool that prepares the 1040-ES vouchers, but it's not really the same as the what-if worksheet. That one has more flexibility and allows for multiple scenarios.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:49 AM   #15
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There are no actual tax prep programs for 2018 because the IRS hasn't finished its rule-making or published the 2018 forms. The spreadsheet SecondCor521 mentioned gives that author's best guess as to what the forms will look like and how the calcs will go.

The TurboTax desktop version also has the what-if feature, which is Intuit's best guess about how the calcs will work, but you'd have to enter the data from your 2017 return first in order to use it. It's nice because it gives you all the inputs in columns and you can play out multiple scenarios and compare them side-by-side.

One caveat is that it doesn't do the full return calculation for all forms and can't handle a complex situation such as having a prior year passive loss carryover on Sch E where the amount you're allowed to use is dependent on this year's income. What-if only has one bottom line number for Sch E and doesn't adjust it as you add more income elsewhere. This matters for me, because my main use for it is to test what happens as I convert more money to Roth IRAs, so I have to manually adjust the Sch E number as that allowed loss gets phased out. I also don't think it handles the new passthrough business rules yet, but I haven't tested that. It does work fine if you're only using Schedules A, B, D though.
cathy63,

As a first-time user of the "What-if" feature, I'm trying to use it mostly to see whether Roth conversions make any sense for me, how much to convert, and the tax impact.

From your description...do I need to create a 'pseudo 2018' return and adjust Schedule E within that return for various Roth conversion values before I can see the impact in the What-if worksheet? Or how do I go about testing various values of Roth conversions?

Thanks,

omni
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:26 AM   #16
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cathy63,

As a first-time user of the "What-if" feature, I'm trying to use it mostly to see whether Roth conversions make any sense for me, how much to convert, and the tax impact.

From your description...do I need to create a 'pseudo 2018' return and adjust Schedule E within that return for various Roth conversion values before I can see the impact in the What-if worksheet? Or how do I go about testing various values of Roth conversions?

Thanks,

omni
Do you have a Schedule E in your 2017 return? If not, you don't have to mess with it. I was just using that as an example of something to think about if it's relevant for your situation, as it is for mine.

What I do with the What-If form is check the box to copy col 1 to col 2, then start from the top of col 2 and make changes to reflect this year's data.

So, first check the box for 2018 tax rates. I manually change the numbers for salary and interest to what I think they're going to be this year. I think dividends will be about the same, so I leave those numbers alone. I know what our tax refund was, so I put that on line 10 ... and then just keep going like that.

Line 15b is where you put the taxable portion of your tIRA to Roth conversion. I have about 12% after-tax money in my tIRA, so whatever number I put on this line of the what-if analysis will have to be inflated accordingly when I actually tell the broker to do the conversion. If you only have pre-tax money in your tIRA, then your entire conversion will be taxable and you will tell your broker to convert the exact amount you end up with on this line.

Then continuing down the form, line 17 is where the Schedule E number is. This is the one I have to adjust to account for the fact that our allowed loss will be phased out as we convert more from my tIRA, which increases our income. If you don't have a carryover loss on a rental property, then your situation is simpler and you don't need to make any adjustments here.

Continue scrolling and adjusting numbers as necessary until you get to line 74. That's how much you'll either owe or get as a refund. You can also continue further down to adjust your Schedule A deductions if you need to.

Once I've set all the numbers that aren't going to change, I just go back to line 15b and line 17 and keep adjusting them until I get to a final number on line 74 that I like.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:44 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by cathy63 View Post
Do you have a Schedule E in your 2017 return? If not, you don't have to mess with it. I was just using that as an example of something to think about if it's relevant for your situation, as it is for mine.

What I do with the What-If form is check the box to copy col 1 to col 2, then start from the top of col 2 and make changes to reflect this year's data.

So, first check the box for 2018 tax rates. I manually change the numbers for salary and interest to what I think they're going to be this year. I think dividends will be about the same, so I leave those numbers alone. I know what our tax refund was, so I put that on line 10 ... and then just keep going like that.

Line 15b is where you put the taxable portion of your tIRA to Roth conversion. I have about 12% after-tax money in my tIRA, so whatever number I put on this line of the what-if analysis will have to be inflated accordingly when I actually tell the broker to do the conversion. If you only have pre-tax money in your tIRA, then your entire conversion will be taxable and you will tell your broker to convert the exact amount you end up with on this line.

Then continuing down the form, line 17 is where the Schedule E number is. This is the one I have to adjust to account for the fact that our allowed loss will be phased out as we convert more from my tIRA, which increases our income. If you don't have a carryover loss on a rental property, then your situation is simpler and you don't need to make any adjustments here.

Continue scrolling and adjusting numbers as necessary until you get to line 74. That's how much you'll either owe or get as a refund. You can also continue further down to adjust your Schedule A deductions if you need to.

Once I've set all the numbers that aren't going to change, I just go back to line 15b and line 17 and keep adjusting them until I get to a final number on line 74 that I like.
Thank you cathy63. That was very helpful.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:00 PM   #18
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...to see whether Roth conversions make any sense for me, how much to convert, and the tax impact.

The tool mentioned in this post in Projecting taxes in retirement might interest you for this purpose.
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