Do I need an accounting package? (tax lots etc)

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global
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 1:27 pm

Do I need an accounting package? (tax lots etc)

Post by global »

Do I really need an accounting package like Quicken? Or will good ol' spreadsheets do the trick? Just wondering if I'm missing anything?

I track tax lots with a spreadsheet, manage my asset allocation, rebalance, take portfolio snap shots quarterly...I can get totals of taxable interest and dividends from banks and VG at year end.

I haven't needed to file taxes in the US yet as I'm currently a non-resident alien for tax purposes due to my employment by an international organization and my visa status. However, this will change soon as I'm marrying an American. I'm trying to get all of my ducks in a row and at the moment I'm thinking the spreadsheets will do just fine.

What are your thoughts? Who's just using spreadsheets like this?

Cheers.
dbr
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Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:50 am

Post by dbr »

I do tax planning in spreadsheets. I would prefer to see and enter all the data myself and manage the manipulation and presentation of the results as I see fit.

For tax filing per se, you might consider a tax preparation program such as TurboTax or others, but I have no experience with complications that might arise from non-residency or alien status.
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global
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Post by global »

dbr wrote:I do tax planning in spreadsheets. I would prefer to see and enter all the data myself and manage the manipulation and presentation of the results as I see fit.

For tax filing per se, you might consider a tax preparation program such as TurboTax or others, but I have no experience with complications that might arise from non-residency or alien status.
Thanks dbr. I'm across all of the tax stuff prior to my status change. Then I'll be filing as a resident. I was planning on just using spreadsheets and taking that data and plugging it right into Turbo Tax. I had a play with Quicken yesterday and don't really see the benefit. (Obviously for some it may be easier.)
livesoft
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Post by livesoft »

I don't use quicken or msmoney for tax lots per se, but I do use MSMoney as a quick double check.

I do not have many transactions that will end up on a tax form. TurboTax can download accurate and complete info provided by WellsFargo, so I do not worry about that and even do not need a spreadsheet. I can simply look at the hardcopy statements to confirm the accuracy of my info. TT downloads from my other financial institutions as well. Vanguard seems to provide the least info, so I moved my taxable money elsewhere.

Bottom line: No need for quicken, no need for spreadsheet. Big need for turbo tax, a good broker, and minimal transactions.
InvestingMom
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:45 pm

Post by InvestingMom »

I use Quicken and I love it.
However, I think the answer to your question depends on whether:
  • You have large taxable accounts (presumably you do)
    You reinvest dividends, cap gains and interest
    You trade a lot
    You are good with software packages
    You don't mind the time it will take to set up
Quicken makes it extremely easy. Every Saturday I simply download my transactions (Vanguard, Wells Fargo and Charles Schwab and my husbands 401K) by pushing one button. I then have to accept the transactions, most of which are pretty easy and can even be done by pushing one button, but ususally there is at least one transaction that needs some special care (for example sales from my money market account will ask me if I want to use FIFO or choose the lot...which obviously doesnt matter but i have to choose.)

I also like the reports.

If you are already using spreadsheets and that is working for you, perhaps you don't need quicken.
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