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Old 12-31-2014, 04:52 PM   #61
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I tried to do that with Federal last year and gave up. Too darn many "mini-worksheets" where the number you put on the form is a function of your Adjusted Gross, your house number and the spot price of the Argentine peso. As I noted earlier, I find that aggravating. You've got more smarts/patience than I do.
The income tax spreadsheet I created is part of the larger spreadsheet which includes my checkbook register. This enables me to link tax deductible expenses and my investment income (taken as cash deposits) to the skeleton tax forms. I have also added those annoying tax booklet worksheets, especially the one which calculates income taxes when I have LTCG and QD income. In 2008, I had a lot of one-time worksheets with the income spike from cashing out the company stock, so I got rid of those extra the following year. It was also nice to delete the NJ non-resident and NY Resident Credit forms 5 years ago after I ERed. My spreadsheet also enables me to do a lot of what-ifs which are vital in determining estimated taxes.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:12 PM   #62
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I think that tax software should have another interview for after you submit your taxes with the purpose of building a pro-forma return for the next year.

It could ask you if values just submitted would be similar the following year. They'd have to stress that it's only an estimate, but it would be a lot better than nothing, and somewhat better than plugging estimates into another copy of the previous year's software.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:22 PM   #63
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I should add - one of the reasons I do it myself is because the ONLY time I hired a CPA to do my taxes, she missed a pretty big item.

It was a year I changed jobs, moved states, sold a house, bought a house, had a move package and signing bonus, and had tax gross-up on the move package and signing bonus. I felt like there were too many moving parts - and wanted a professional CPA to do it.

She missed the fact that I had seriously over paid SS that year (because of the signing bonus, 2 different employers, etc.)

Fortunately, the IRS caught it and gave me a HUGE refund.

Using Turbo Tax - the way they input the data, etc... they'd catch that. I wish I'd purchased TT to double check the CPAs work.
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Old 12-31-2014, 05:49 PM   #64
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This is what tipped me off to potentially doing things myself. I gathered and organized everything as completely as possible, and it seemed like I was simply handing over the paperwork to the CPA to fill in the IRS forms.
+1 on that....

I do corp tax, my own with rentals, multiple country returns, stock sales, option trading call and puts, self employment.
Turns out to be quite a bit of effort, but thousands cheaper than CPA's - last bill years ago for part of was over 2K

Last yr, the State shorted us some as we didn't include the form (from the State) as the form said "don't mail with your return".
So I mailed them a copy of it and avoided being bitchy about it as they are real dummies and wouldn't see the humor !
We got sent the owed $$$ after about 2-3 months wait...

I cannot die, or DW will be totally lost taxwise
I will simplify it over a few years as it feels like work Jan to April
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Old 12-31-2014, 07:15 PM   #65
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Turbotax online is my method, works out very well. When I worked overseas my company paid for tax service, I found 1-2 mistakes every year in my cursory review so the aura of tax professional was dispelled. To be fair these were always young new employees at the accounting firms so I never really had an experienced pro. The best part of turbotax is it keeps past year info for comparison.


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Old 12-31-2014, 10:53 PM   #66
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....She missed the fact that I had seriously over paid SS that year (because of the signing bonus, 2 different employers, etc.) ...
Heck, when I was in practice over 35 years ago that was one of the things that we would check for as SOP.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:08 AM   #67
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I have done my own taxes for all but a handful of years. If there was a major occurrence, I would defer to a CPA. I think knowing a bit about the tax code was invaluable to reaching FIRE.
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Old 01-01-2015, 12:12 PM   #68
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Also a long time TTax user. I have used CPA for my small business corporation. Quality and consistency by CPA is a real issue to be aware. I have my company corporate return done by the same firm for about 10 years--I could always tell when they had a new junior
For personal returns, like other I found a lot of the return cost was driven by junior accountant reentering my data from their workbook. Senior would "review" but unless you had flagged areas of concern generally would not catch errors. I had as many years of errors as done well. I finally gave up on CPA for personal return and pay my CPA doing my corporate return by the hour to answer issue specific personal return questions. For example, on capital improvements for my rentals (think appliances), what level of spending can be expensed instead of capitalized. Answer $500).
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:24 PM   #69
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For the last 6 years we've used a CPA. I started using him when we bought several rental properties in one year and went into a fixed term private partnership.

Last rent house is under contract and will be sold on January 15 and the parter ship closes this year too.

With all of those complications gone I can go back to doing our own taxes starting with our 2016 return.

He's done a great job and his fee has been worth it to my piece of mind.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:31 PM   #70
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She missed the fact that I had seriously overpaid SS that year (because of the signing bonus, 2 different employers, etc.)

Fortunately, the IRS caught it and gave me a HUGE refund.

Using Turbo Tax - the way they input the data, etc... they'd catch that. I wish I'd purchased TT to double check the CPAs work.
I've been in the situation of overpaying SS a few times and the software always caught it. I'd really wonder about a CPA who either didn't use software or used a program that was so primitive it didn't catch that.

I used to work in a small consulting firm and the old guy who ran it always submitted the final corporate taxes in a handwritten version. He was scrupulously honest, but figured that a handwritten version would give the impression of a simple Mom-and-Pop operation (which it pretty much was) and they were less likely to be audited. They never were audited.
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Old 01-01-2015, 06:18 PM   #71
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I did our taxes back in the pre-personal computer days. I remember Pub 17. When Turbo Tax came out I used it...more for the gosh, wow, I get to use a computer to do this than any real need ...our tax situation was very simple. Then DH bought a small business and we switched to a CPA. We continued using the CPA after the business was closed....just out of habit. Then two years ago when I picked up our return it showed that we owed $1200 more than I expected. Our tax situation was basically the same as prior years. I asked for an explanation. While I waited to talk with someone I saw the error I pointed it out to the firm's employee...CPA was out of the office. His reaction was "I don't know maybe CPA will know". I left the taxes and they called in a couple of days and said you are right and fixed the error. No apologies just "hey we fixed it. " A quick year to year review would have shown them the error and it concerned me that the employee, who was preparing taxes couldn't see it.

Last year I used turbo tax and plan to this year.


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Old 01-05-2015, 07:28 PM   #72
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