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Why not paper-file taxes?
Old 01-16-2017, 01:41 PM   #1
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Why not paper-file taxes?

Lord knows, being ER'd means having some spare time So, since I no longer can get free Turbo Tax (Deluxe), what's the downside to paper filing? Obviously, there's the delay in getting any refund. But is that delay much longer?
Yes, I can easily afford the cost, but I never had to pay for it in the past. Being the cheapskate that I am, so far I haven't been able to fork over the $$$. Granted, I'm rusty from DIY tax filing after years of Turbo, but if I did it before I'm sure I can follow my old Turbo template.
Am I being unrealistic?
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:49 PM   #2
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Am I being unrealistic?
Not at all. I did mine by hand and on paper for decades in the days before home computers. I'm sure my mental acuity hasn't declined so much that I wouldn't be able to now.

But TurboTax and the other software makes it so much easier they're worth the money to not have to wade through the IRS jargon on the tax forms and push buttons on a calculator for hours.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:49 PM   #3
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I like the time-savings of the computer doing a lot of the work for me (and not risking anyone having to try and decipher my handwriting..), so that alone makes the cost worth it to me.

The one other upside I see to the tax software is that it has the ability to catch changes to the tax code from year to year that may impact me, but which I may not be aware of. That chance of a tax-code changing and having an impact on my return is another factor that makes paying for the software potentially worth it to me.
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:50 PM   #4
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The only other disadvantages I can think of, are pretty minor.

You have to either print out the forms, or find someplace that has them available. You probably want to pick up the latest edition of Lasser.

And, you are relying on the Post Office to deliver your return. Might or might not be a worry.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:07 PM   #5
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Yes, you are being unrealistic. I paid $40 for TT this year. It is so much better compared to doing a return by hand (I do my Mom's simple trust return by hand and even that is a hassle).

Not to mention being able to efile and not having to print a return, assemble the W-2, 1099 forms with it and all.

Easy decision... spend the $40.

Now that you have time will you go down to the bank to pay your mortgage and to the cable company office to pay your cable bill, etc... or write checks instead of using bill pay? False economies.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:15 PM   #6
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I'm sure my mental acuity hasn't declined so much that I wouldn't be able to now.
Well, you would think that, wouldn't you?
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:17 PM   #7
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I think this is a 2-part question.

1. Do you do your taxes by hand without software? I tried that a few years ago with a State return for my state of residence (had downloaded the version for my employment state and didn't want to pay for a second one). I'm an actuary, math-friendly, legal-ese friendly, Excel-friendly. Still too many "mini-worksheets" and twists and turns and I made a few mistakes, which the state's computer flagged. I owed more $$, of course. Now I use software. Always.

2. Do you e-file or send a paper copy? I'm old-fashioned. I send a paper copy. I just figure I'll make them work for the details if they want them rather than giving them data to mine. That's delayed refunds in years when I overpaid, but I'm willing to wait. Never had a problem with returns going astray.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:18 PM   #8
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I used to paper file with TT
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:25 PM   #9
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I use tax software and paper file, just because I can.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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I used to paper file with TT
So did I before they began accepting e-filed returns. And I still print and mail the state return - I'm sure not gonna pay to efile!
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:37 PM   #11
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So did I before they began accepting e-filed returns. And I still print and mail the state return - I'm sure not gonna pay to efile!
Idaho charges to e-file
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:38 PM   #12
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I have other things to spend my time on.
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Old 01-16-2017, 02:59 PM   #13
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I think this is a 2-part question.

1. Do you do your taxes by hand without software? I tried that a few years ago with a State return for my state of residence (had downloaded the version for my employment state and didn't want to pay for a second one). I'm an actuary, math-friendly, legal-ese friendly, Excel-friendly. Still too many "mini-worksheets" and twists and turns and I made a few mistakes, which the state's computer flagged. I owed more $$, of course. Now I use software. Always.

2. Do you e-file or send a paper copy? I'm old-fashioned. I send a paper copy. I just figure I'll make them work for the details if they want them rather than giving them data to mine. That's delayed refunds in years when I overpaid, but I'm willing to wait. Never had a problem with returns going astray.
Exactly! I do use TT or TC for assembling the return (because this makes it easier for me), but I refuse to pay for e-filing - fed or state. As far as I'm concerned, the IRS should pay ME to file electronically since it makes THEIR work much easier. Until such time, I print it out and stick it in an envelope to be sent by regular mail.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:08 PM   #14
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When push comes to shove I'm sure I'll just suck it up and ante up. But I definitely won't pay to efile if I owe to Uncle Sam or my state.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:17 PM   #15
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As far as I'm concerned, the IRS should pay ME to file electronically since it makes THEIR work much easier. Until such time, I print it out and stick it in an envelope to be sent by regular mail.
The IRS does not charge you to file electronically.

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If you're looking for an excuse not to efile, it isn't cost, because the IRS and states do not charge for efiling. The only costs associated with efiling are those charged by a tax preparer or tax software. Depending on the software brand and version, electronic filing charges have ranged from free to around $25.
https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tool.../INF12060.html

If you want to efile for free then you can,

https://www.irs.com/file-taxes-online
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:21 PM   #16
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I have other things to spend my time on.
Hmmmmmm..... I've e-filed the past few years too. But mailing in a paper copy was never a long project. Maybe 30 mins tops. Do you have a really slow printer, walk 3 miles to your rural mailbox or ??
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:23 PM   #17
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I wouldn't do it completely by hand; I'd want to check the math and stuff over too many times before I was confident to send it off. So although I could do it, I know I'd waste so much time on validation, it would be too painful.

If I were too cheap to buy the tax software, then I'd at least type my information into IRS Free File or something like that. If I were not interested in e-file, you could always print out the forms and mail them. But really, H&R Block "TaxCut" is only $20, and it includes e-file.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:26 PM   #18
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Although I've e-filed for a few years now, I was a holdout because I wanted to have as little data in the IRS database as possible. I read that if you file a paper return, they only enter a small percentage of your data from the main forms.

I used TT, printed a complete copy (with all supporting docs) for my files and then pressed the button for a copy to mail. But now I've succumbed and press the button for file electronically. Little difference in time and effort either way.
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:37 PM   #19
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TT is way faster and worth it to me, I remember doing taxes by hand, it was fun when I was young - I'm over that.

However, my state charges $10-20 for eFiling which seems ridiculous - doesn't it make it easier for the state if I file electronically too? So I do Fed & State taxes on TT, eFile Fed for free, and mail in my state return on Apr 14th - hoping they're buried in paper...
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:43 PM   #20
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I use software to prepare my taxes, but I always print them out and mail them in.
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