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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 09:41 AM   #41
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I have done my own for most of my life... I was a tax accountant doing complicated returns when I graduated from college.... we are talking some that were over 500 pages thick... doing some of the arcane stuff in the code...

BUT, when I was an expat for awhile, my company paid for my returns for a few years... and I found an error every year they did the return (and this from one of the big four accounting firms)...

And to be fair, I have made mistakes that the IRS has caught and either dunned me for more taxes or sent me more money back... but I had done them by hand... I will use one of the free programs this year to get the math correct...
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 10:17 AM   #42
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

We use a CPA. DW pays tax in three states and her partnership form (K9?) never arrives until late March. I ran the numbers with Turbo Tax in 2005 using the same info we send to the CPA but he did a lot better than me. Convinced me that there can be value in professionals. When DW retires in a couple of years things will get relatively simple and we will probably DIY. I have run some post DW ER withdrawal scenarios through the 2004 Turbo Tax and thanks to suggestions here have downloaded H&R Tax Cut to run more this year.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 10:38 AM   #43
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

This is the last year I'll have the CPA do them, since they will be simpler next year -- the first full year of retirement. Also the taxes will be so low that even if I miss something, it won't make that much difference (maybe).

I'd been doing them myself until 7 years ago, when I switched to a CPA. He immediately saved us much more than his fee by showing how I could employ wife and daughter and deduct all medical expenses.

I'd recommend that even if you generally do them yourself, you hire a CPA once every several years to see if there's something you are missing.

Also, a convenient routine that I've developed is to have all the necessary tax-related reports on Quicken. I then just go through those, print to PDF's and send those PDF's to the accountant. Did that yesterday!
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 10:44 AM   #44
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I own a small business, I have a great CPA who does everything for $250. I have to tip her $50 so I don't feel guilty.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 10:46 AM   #45
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

We use TurboTax for our returns and MIL's. I like the import feature for the 1099's from FInancial Institutes. Has made MIL's returns much easier and have not needed a CPA for hers in 4 yrs.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 10:54 AM   #46
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've done ours using Turbo Tax for about 5 years.

We used to use a CPA when we had a small business and rental homes but after closing the business and selling the rental homes our returns were quite simple. Ironically that's the time when the CPA wanted $750 (!) to complete our simple return. That's when I decided that using TurboTax would be a good idea. For us its a no-brainer...
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 11:47 AM   #47
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

my family acts as an excellent testing ground. we don't let members get away with squat. you screw up, we're throwing it in your face. we try to be a bit more gentle outside family, but among our own there is little holding back.

when i email my accountant uncle (who specializes in generational wealth), i never use puter speak. i become my old editor self, my grammer & language proofread & perfected. yes, i even use caps. so my brother throws that in my face. "why does uncle get the better emails?" because, brother dear, he's the bigger ball buster.

i just started using turbotax last year based on this forum's recommendation. when i told uncle, i was very surprised to get this odd momentary silence. i don't recall ever having silence from this guy who busts my chops at every opportunity. he knows i'm w*rking to learn about investment and taxes so i can do this on my own. still, if i was screwing up, he'd tell me. i would never get a compliment, but i have the sense that i must be doing something right. or at least right enough.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 12:12 PM   #48
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Have always done my own, lately with TurboTax on the Web (thanks, Al). Nothing complicated enough to justify paying someone else.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 12:42 PM   #49
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Payin-the-Toll
Could never get over the fact that if I paid someone and it was screwed up, the I.R.S. would come after me.
That's exactly why I've done my own since high school and my partner's since we've been living together. Figuring out tax on stock options was taking so much time (the first year I sold any) that I paid a CPA to look it over. When he gave it back to me, there were several errors. Forget that - pencil and paper and then run it through software and I'm done.

Sometimes I wish I could ask my Dad for help. He's a CPA who still does taxes (more than enough $$ but no desire to retire). He's so judgemental that nobody in the family wants him to touch their taxes. Oh well.


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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 12:50 PM   #50
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I was obsessive about doing my own - even after partial ownership in an S Corp, which complicates the heck out of things. But last year I could not get Turbo-Tax to recognize the existance of the S-Corp so I finally just gave up and gave it to our company accountant.

I was stunned when I got the bill, though! $800!!
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 01:50 PM   #51
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've always done my own by hand except for a couple of years when TurboTax was free (from Vanguard, IIRC).

I don't have much in income, no business, no complicated transactions.

This year, I'll try the free version (Taxcut?) that wab linked to in another post. (Thanks, wab.)
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 02:11 PM   #52
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flipstress
I've always done my own by hand except for a couple of years when TurboTax was free (from Vanguard, IIRC).

I don't have much in income, no business, no complicated transactions.

This year, I'll try the free version (Taxcut?) that wab linked to in another post. (Thanks, wab.)
Vanguard still has a free version... but I am going to try the Taxcut since I don't like putting my info online...
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 04:18 PM   #53
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

After I do my taxes in about March with TurboTax I make a copy of it and save it to Next_Year_estimated_tax. Then during that tax year I continuously adjust it to the current tax situation as it develops. This helps to keep track of things and square things up as December approaches (even though it's the throw away version). For instance, this year I knew how much could be converted to a Roth because I had all the cap gains, etc. already entered.

We have a decent sized portfolio but I realized some time ago that a complicated return for me does not equate to an improved investment performance. So generally we try to keep it as simple as possible.

Les
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 06:54 PM   #54
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Another Taxcut guy here. (I'd use Turbotax but when I started they didn't have Hawaii).

My taxes are relatively complicated 20+ pages with AMT tax credits carry forwards, and business expenses... Like others I find doing the taxes a pain, but you do gain a much better understanding of the tax system and makes you more aware of the consquences of various actions.

My grandfather got me in the habit of doing my own taxes, and except for a few years where my AMT situation was so crazy complicated I hired a CPA, I have stuck with it.

Grandpa also had an ingenious plan for simplifying taxes. Anytime, he was at town meeting with congressman or high-ranking public official, he asked this question.

"Congressman would you favor a law requiring all congressman, senators, and cabinet official to prepare their own tax returns?"

The question (I even tried it once) was always met by audience applause. The congress critter always would sheepishly admit that he didn't do his own taxes, and would concede that such a law would probably result in simpler tax code.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:00 PM   #55
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

i've always done my own, and always thought everyone else should as well. it's important that the process of paying taxes be as painful as possible. (that was a serious comment.) and it's important that the taxpayer know exactly how one is being taxed. a couple of years ago i tried TurboTax ... and have been using it ever since. ya live 'n ya learn.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:07 PM   #56
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I can't imagine not doing your own? I run three business, oil and gas lease, rental property plus a job and investments with Turbo Tax. Until I did my own I never fully understood the real costs of mortgages, charitable contributions or real investment returns.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:16 PM   #57
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've always done my own...pretty simple return - 2 incomes, interest income, itemized deductions with property taxes, mortgage interest and a few charitable contributions. Can't see what a tax preparer can do for me at this point.

I see a lot of people making references to receipts. Other than receipts for education expenses, charitable contributions and maybe energy-related improvements, what does the tax guy do with them? I've never had to reference more than 6-8 receipts when doing my taxes. I know on the itemized deduction form you can choose either property taxes or sales taxes, but in NY the property taxes always win out and out-of-pocket medical expenses would have to be over $11k to start to count towards a write-off. What else are you guys (excluding those with businesses) saving receipts for?
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:18 PM   #58
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

One reason I've decided to do my taxes next year is that I know I'll be able to get my questions answered on this forum.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:28 PM   #59
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Another Turbo Tax user here. I used to do them by hand and may go back to it. We just paid our house off last year so I don't know if I will be able to itemize.

The only year I used a CPA was the year I relocated to Oregon and my company paid for the tax preparations as part of the relocation expense.

I think it's important to understand taxes as much as necessary. But, I also have a pretty simple tax situation.

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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-11-2007, 07:45 PM   #60
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I did my taxes by hand for 20 years, but when I moved overseas in '94 I had to turn them over to our corporate tax people due to foreign tax credits and all the tax complications of expat benefit programs. When I moved back to the US I had about $20K in foreign tax credits to carry forward, so I continued with a tax accountant until those were used up. I then went back to doing taxes myself using TaxAct. I screwed up on reporting non-qualified options, however, which led to some friendly letters back and forth with the IRS. So we are going back to our tax guy this year until our tax situation becomes simple again.
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