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Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:06 PM   #1
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Who does their own taxes?

I know most on the boards manage their own finances, but do most handle their own taxes at year end? This year I'm considering a bit of help. But seeing numerous programs where they go to 5 different tax experts with the same tax information and get 5 different return amounts, I wonder if I shouldn't continue to do it myself?
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I do my own ( I am a CPA though)

That may change in the future. It's been almost 7 years since I took the exam and I have not kept up with all areas of tax. I'm seriously considering hiring another CPA to do mine next year.

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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:13 PM   #3
 
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I don't do mine. I use the same tax guy I have for 20 years. He has saved me money and more than paid for his fee. I don't have to study taxes each year.

The difference between managing your own investments is the tax man looks into the past and can see what to do. The financial planner has to look into the future. I don't believe that anyone can predict the future. 8)
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:18 PM   #4
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've used TurboTax since it first went on the market. I've always done my own taxes and wish to keep it that way. Of course, my situation is probably not as complicated as other posters.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:23 PM   #5
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I do my own, but it almost is like a hobby to me. I keep up with all the tax changes, and my return is not complicated. I itemize, but have no other schedules or rental property, etc.

What some folks do is go to an outsider one time and see what new items if any that person comes up with, and then copy it themselves the next year. That way you are only paying once for this knowledge. If you do your own taxes, you should read one of the guides for the changes in the tax laws in 2006.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I do my own using Taxcut. I don't enjoy doing them one little bit. However, I like saving the fee, and, more importantly, I like to see how taxes are computed so I can better understand how to meet the bizarre criteria in our tax code and save money through maximizing deductions, eliminating/deferring taxable income, etc. For me, doing the taxes myself is the best way by far to understand these things. Reading about them does not capture some of the interdependencies.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 07:55 PM   #7
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've always done my own. After I retired I took a free tax course from a franchise tax service and was offered a job. I worked two years. It was a good experience and I had time to do a lot of "what if" scenarios with my own tax situation going forward with Social Security and Roth inputs.

Tax is a very important factor in everyone's retirement well worth talking to a professional who knows their business.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:00 PM   #8
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Taxcut for several yearrs now - cheap, easy, reliable for straightforward affairs, do them when I want (no scheduling an appt. with accountant). We've only got w2s, 1099s, some self-reported interest income on an in-family mortgage, and deducts. No business, rental real estate or others to complicate things. also handles state pretty much automatically from federal. works great for us.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:12 PM   #9
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I do my own using TurboTax. Have done so for ten years. I don't have a terribly complicated return. Had stock option exercies and restricted stock sales but nothing TurboTax can't handle.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:20 PM   #10
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I have normally done mine but this year with the divorce it is considerably more complicated so I talked to a CPA today about helping me. What I prefer to do is do my own with paper and pencil or Turbotax and then bring them in to ask for their expert guidance / review. I never could see the sense in paying someone $100 per hour to copy numbers into forms and do adding and subtracting (yeah, I know it's all computerized now).

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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:31 PM   #11
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I do my own. I took a class while in college many years ago and learned that if you are willing to wade through the reading and ask a few questions, you can figure out just about anything. I like to do that stuff and I don't like to pay people either.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:37 PM   #12
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I've done my own taxes for 29 years... ever since Dad sat me down with my first pay stubs, a blank tax form, and a pile of sharp pencils. I figure it's better to become an inch wide and a mile deep in our own tax knowledge so that we can be aware of the tax concerns before hauling that shoebox of receipts to a CPA.

Remember the days when you minimize the tax bite by doing something called "income averaging"? Don't miss that a bit. TurboTax has greatly improved the process, although its power & flexibility has allowed our tax situation to grow ever more complex & detailed.

Another reason that we don't use a CPA is because we're control freaks. We like to tinker with the program, go through all the "What if?" scenarios, and try to plan deductions and other tax moves for future years. It's an iterative process and our questions would probably drive a CPA nuts. Then there's the Roth IRA conversions...

But I don't hesitate to consult my BIL the CPA if we have a wacked-out question whose answer isn't clear from the documentation, and I pick up the tab every time we get together.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:42 PM   #13
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Free (or close), online, through IRS site.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:44 PM   #14
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

I have done my own for the last 31 years. We have used TaxCut for about the last 6, which has greatly eased the burden - but then, my taxes are not that complicated -- earn a paycheck, pay an obscenely large amount to the government.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:51 PM   #15
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
We like to tinker with the program, go through all the "What if?" scenarios
That's one of the main reasons I do my own. The other is that I find that 90% of the work is just pulling all the records together. If I had to explain my shoebox method to a CPA, that would probably double the work for me.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 08:57 PM   #16
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

For many years I went to a CPA, however, over the years his fees increased too much for my taste. So I went to the post office and picked up the forms and instructions, and sat down and figured my own. The first year that I did that, I bought either Turbo or Taxcut (don't remember which) and ran the numbers through it, too. Everything came out the same as what I had figured with paper and pencil, so I've stuck with paper and pencil. Now I paper and pencil, then go file online at IRS and IL Dept of Rev.....for FREE!!!

I talked to my old CPA last year (about another matter) and he said he always wondered why I liked paying him to do my taxes, when I could have done them myself all along! He's a nice guy!

However, NEXT year I may go to him because of FIREing in April, and having my current income, my pension (soon), and some lump-sum cash from here 'n there. Then after that, I'll revert back to doing my own taxes again....probably forever.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 09:09 PM   #17
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerdude
. After I retired I took a free tax course from a franchise tax service and was offered a job. I worked two years. It was a good experience and I had time to do a lot of "what if" scenarios with my own tax situation going forward with Social Security and Roth inputs.
What was the work experience like?

I took one of those tax prep courses also which I paid for and was offered a job. I was suprised how "methodical" the tax prep process was.......I was more interested in the logic of the system and how to minimize my own liability, but there was little time for discussion as instructor was focused on completing the return quickly and very busy explaining terminology, etc that was already familiar to me.

I declined the job offer as I was told by many that you could not make much money the 1st two years until you built up a client base....at that point many preparers take thier clients and go on thier own. I am potentially interested in working for a neighbor that has a growing franchise with the #2 chain.
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 09:34 PM   #18
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

On my own for over 20 years...........first by hand ( :P), then TaxCut, and now Turbotax for the past 7 years or so. SInce I track it all in Quicken, and am busy, I like the automatic download from Quicken that Turbotax does...........cuts the time down a lot.

I am hiring a CPA buddy to do my sister's final tax filing...........there's a few quiirky things with Nebraska law I don't want to mess with, so I'll take that CPA signature on them...........
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 09:41 PM   #19
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Oh...forgot to say I use Turbo-Tax and file a paper return because I've never been able to convince IRS and SSA what spouses name and SSN are.

I am amused how many times I have asked others "Do you do your own taxes?" and get a response of "No, I use turbo-tax (or other software)"
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Re: Who does their own taxes?
Old 01-10-2007, 09:45 PM   #20
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Have always done my own, with pencil and paper. Was considering using one of the tax preparation programs, but after checking them out they still don't quite seem ready for primetime when it comes to overseas returns.

My tax situation should be a fairly simple one, except for all the weird-@$$ stuff that gets thrown in the path of people with lives abroad for no good reason that I can see. I've had 40-odd-page filings, with zero tax owed at the end -- what purpose does that serve anybody? But no, god forbid I should be taxed as a non-resident, just because I am a citizen.

I admit I kind of enjoy the puzzle-solving aspect of doing one's own taxes, up to a point. But it gets to be way too much after a while, and my fuse is getting shorter every year.
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