The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

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rattlenap
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The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by rattlenap » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:11 am

Well, I finally did my taxes today. What a time consuming, paper wasteful, brain drain of a mess! At least it's only once a year.

Any of you have difficulty with doing your taxes this year? If yes, what part?

DSInvestor
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by DSInvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:13 am

No problems here. What problems did you encounter?

Lovely Rita
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Lovely Rita » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:15 am

We all face similar stresses when we do our own taxes....so what insights are you expecting?
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Choy
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Choy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:18 am

This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:

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ClevrChico
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:20 am

For me, daycare statements were late and comingled for the two kids. I also switched from TaxAct to FreeTaxUSA, and some of the data had to be manually re-entered.

This may be the first year I file an extension.

aristotelian
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by aristotelian » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:23 am

STILL waiting for a 1099 from one of my wife's yoga studios. These people are always late. Unbelievable. All for about $1500.

Good experiences so far with Freetaxusa and Freefillableforms.

letsgobobby
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:23 am

Choy wrote:This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:

I did too, until I got a rental property and now it's a pain.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Choy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:29 am

letsgobobby wrote:
Choy wrote:This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:

I did too, until I got a rental property and now it's a pain.


One year I had invested and sold shares of some MLPs. After having to do the taxes for that I swore never to invest in such a thing again.

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tooluser
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by tooluser » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:16 am

Putting everything tax-related into a an expandable file, and years of experience with the contents, makes it a joy. A place for everything and everything in its place.

Until you need to figure AMT. :confused

I can't imagine how anyone on the government side could possibly defend the AMT as comprehensible to an ordinary person.
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GerryL
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by GerryL » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:36 am

No big issues this year. Saw the other day that both my state and federal refunds have been deposited to checking less than 2 weeks after filing. Well, except after reading the post/thread about the Oregon kicker tax I may need to file an amended return. Haven't yet sat down to try to untangle that issue.

HIinvestor
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:47 am

I love having a CPA. It keeps us sane. We have some rental properties and some partnerships and other assorted issues that make it more hassle for us than we care to deal with. I believe we've been hit with AMT once or twice as well. This is one of the duties we are pleased to delegate instead of doing ourselves. H is happy to do yard work but NOT taxes.

ccieemeritus
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by ccieemeritus » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:56 am

I'm withdrawing from my 20 yr old daughters Coverdell to pay for college expenses. I'm not sure whether that goes on my taxes or her taxes.

Next year I'll get to figure out if the 10% discount on ESPP is already included on my W-2.

Doing the taxes in prior years used to earn me a pizza dinner. :-) But this year I'm dieting. :-(

HIinvestor
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:07 am

We used the Coverdell and put it in our taxes years ago--the kids didn't need to file any taxes. It was an attachment the CPA prepared.

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randomizer
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by randomizer » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:35 am

I never have any headaches preparing taxes because I pay a trusted professional to do them. All I have to do is review and sign. Money well spent, at least according to my criteria (large value placed on time and psychological comfort).

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by investordad » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:47 am

I had no issues and I do my own taxes as I do not like how much places charge when I get guided instructions online,and chat or phone calls are available for questions. I use taxslayer, as it was free while i was in the military, but i gladly pay the small fee now. My wife freaks out every year though it is very funny to watch, she always thinks we are going to jail. She hates taxes.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:27 am

Thanks to reading bogleheads.org I've got no major problems with my taxes this year. We have 7 different 1099-R's because of all the Roth conversion tidbits we have learned here.

The only issue left is that I cannot get my spouse to find and gather all the receipts from her charitable giving. It seems a different one is found every week. The DAF is easy, but the others seem to be dribbling in. We will file for an extension and ultimately file later this year. It has been a joy.
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dodecahedron
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:40 am

livesoft wrote:
The only issue left is that I cannot get my spouse to find and gather all the receipts from her charitable giving. It seems a different one is found every week. The DAF is easy, but the others seem to be dribbling in. We will file for an extension and ultimately file later this year. It has been a joy.


This is one reason why I prefer to do almost all my charitable giving through my DAF. Easy to retrieve all archived records of my deductible donations to the DAF on their website for tax purposes. (Also, super easy to make repeated donations to the same organization, keeping track of what I have already given and to whom, can make anonymous deductions in a tax-deductible manner, etc.)
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livesoft
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:43 am

dodecahedron wrote:This is one reason why I prefer to do almost all my charitable giving through my DAF. Easy to retrieve all archived records of donations.

That is my preference as well, but despite having a DAF for many years it doesn't always work out that way.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Swansea » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:48 am

Some small 501 C 3 non-profits are pretty lax about providing receipts; others not so good. I made a donation to one in early December, 2016 and got an acknowledgement letter late January with a January, 2017 date on it. Fortunately it was through my DAF. Another group I support provides receipts only on request, which is not a good practice.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by carolinaman » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:49 am

As long as I have the same sets of income and expenses, taxes are pretty straightforward. Also, I have used TurboTax for many years and using the same software every year simplifies things as well. I refuse to change software to save a few bucks and have to learn another product. I have always done my own taxes. The only time I ever got help was with an estate issue when I was executor of that estate. Estates are a different animal and I knew I had to get it right. I went to a CPA. I asked her several questions and her response was "I do not know but lets see what my software says". Interesting, everybody seems to rely on the software.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:54 am

If the amount of the donation is less than $250, you can use cancelled checks or credit card records to substantiate your tax deductions. Only donations of $250 or more to a single charity require an actual letter from the organization acknowledging the donation and stating that "No goods or services were provided ..." in exchange for the donation. So on the rare occasion when I make a charitable donation that is not through my DAF, it is under $250 and I use a credit card or check. It is relatively easy to spot these on my statements.

Dantes
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Dantes » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:56 am

Massachusetts had a very well designed website for filing state taxes; they dropped it this year,with a new site that allows you to, oh, make payments. They are "streamlining" and "enhancing security". So I got some joy out of doing MA taxes on paper and mailing them in.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:32 am

I do about 15 returns per week. Typical time from start to finish is about an hour.

My own return takes just a little longer. This year I will have the sale of rental property and the usual manual assembly of some of the fields on F1116. But I can normally get it done in an hour and a half or two hours. The key is organization of source documents. But that isn't preparing the return - it is normal financial organization.
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Tycoon
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Tycoon » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:39 am

Choy wrote:This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:


Yep, that sounds crazy.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Grogs » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:54 am

I find taxes are pretty easy as long as I have the same items as previous years. When something changes, like adding rental property income, it can get more difficult. It's a lot easier now with tax software, but even then you have to make sure you're answering the questions correctly. I've been able to catch those by having a spreadsheet that calculates my expected tax refund as I go through the year. If the value H&R Block is giving me doesn't match the spreadsheet, I know I need to dig some more to find out why. That happened to me this year with my HSA contributions. The tax software was showing I owed several hundred dollars. Once I figured out that I hadn't entered the contributions separately and corrected it, it returned to the $130 refund I was expecting.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by BFive55 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:55 am

I screwed up on my taxes from last year and got hit from the automatic undereporting division or whatever it is called. When the tax bill came I almost had a heart attack. I walked away after looking at it for about an hour. Went out to the gym. Came back and looked at it and was relieved that my theory that I did not owe even 10% of what they claimed was true. In the end I'll owe about 5% of what they said I owe, plus some fee for filing incorrectly.

And it was my fault. I can't blame the IRS on that one.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by CABob » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:12 pm

I haven't started my tax return yet. My biggest problem is procrastination. I used to find it mentally challenging and somewhat enjoyable. My return is fairly easy but I now find it to be a pain and especially difficult to "just do it." Maybe this afternoon.
I should probably take it to a paid preparer but I just can't bring myself to think it would be money well spent. By the time I have assembled all of the required information the worst part is maybe over.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:37 pm

jebmke wrote:I do about 15 returns per week. Typical time from start to finish is about an hour.

My own return takes just a little longer. This year I will have the sale of rental property and the usual manual assembly of some of the fields on F1116. But I can normally get it done in an hour and a half or two hours. The key is organization of source documents. But that isn't preparing the return - it is normal financial organization.

my struggle is my rental. Specifically, it was a primary residence for part of the year, and a rental for part of the year, so everything should be prorated. But we made a lot of upgrades to the property after moving out, before renting it out. Does that get prorated? Does the full or prorated amount get depreciated? What depreciation schedule should I use? Does the software prorate for me or do I calculate it myself? And on and on. These are probably easy for a tax preparer but for me, it's a daunting task. Even though I stay with TaxAct so (fortunately) all my rental info is already in my return, the partial year stuff is unpleasant. 2015 I moved in mid-year so it was a part-year rental. 2016 I moved out mid-year so it was a part-year rental. 2017 should finally be 100% rental and so it is less confusing.

OffTheGrid
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by OffTheGrid » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:13 pm

Rental properties are the WORST. We don't have any but I often do other family members' taxes as well. Had someone with a rental property they made major upgrades to and it was a nightmare trying to sort out. Got conflicting information everywhere I went! I'm not doing that person's taxes again this year... :P

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:44 pm

livesoft wrote:The only issue left is that I cannot get my spouse to find and gather all the receipts from her charitable giving. It seems a different one is found every week. The DAF is easy, but the others seem to be dribbling in. We will file for an extension and ultimately file later this year. It has been a joy.


This is a year round issue. I put everything even be remotely tax related in the tax file as it happens. I trained my wife to do the same. It's much easier to sift through the file and remove the 90% that is not relevant (because pedicures are never tax deductible; and because medical expenses are not deductible this year because they clearly don't reach the 10% AGI threshold) than it is to chase down receipts after the fact.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by livesoft » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:49 pm

I can't force my spouse to load her dirty dishes into the dishwasher which is easy and trivial, so do you think I've had any luck with her saving statements and acknowledgements into a tax folder? :)
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by littlebird » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:52 pm

Choy wrote:This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:


Doesn't sound crazy to me. I've always enjoyed it too. This will be my 58th year of annual enjoyment. 8-)

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by tdhg566 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:52 pm

letsgobobby wrote:.. But we made a lot of upgrades to the property after moving out, before renting it out. Does that get prorated? Does the full or prorated amount get depreciated? What depreciation schedule should I use? ...

Any expenses before it was available for rent, or after it's available for rent, add to the basis, and it's the basis on the day it's available for rent that becomes the value used for depreciation while it is available for rent. All residential rental property is depreciated over 27.5 years. Only improvement (building) is depreciated, not land.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:38 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) taxes.

Since you asked, I do taxes for my Mom (state is PA). It turns out that her estimated tax payments just barely missed the 90% lower threshold to avoid a penalty.

The total penalty added up to $0.56, which rounded up to $1 and kicked out form PA REV-1630 (penalty for underpayment of taxes). :oops: Mea culpa, I increased her 2017 estimated payments to hit 100% and rounded up to the next $25 (TaxAct allows you to round-up your payments).

OK, let's e-file. Nope. TaxAct refused to file because the state did not approve the electronic version of the form. It was available on the PA website, though.

A quick check with TaxAct support suggested that paper filing was not affected. Nope. A second check with TaxAct support said "With the exception of Pennsylvania Form REV-1630 - Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, all Pennsylvania Individual Income Tax forms have been released and approved for e-file." The only form I needed was not available.

Yesterday, the form showed up in TaxAct and I e-filed both Federal and state returns. All OK. (My returns were done last week.)
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Carson » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:50 pm

I was fed up with the cost of HR Block online this year and am going it alone with the FreeFillableForms site. I mainly kept mine in Excel throughout the year anyway, so I have an idea if I am right or not.

I'm just fumbling around with the dependent credit at this point, subtracting out what I paid via Dependent care FSA and getting tax IDs.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:05 pm

Choy wrote:This is going to sound crazy, but I actually enjoy doing taxes for the most part. :shock:

Me too...to the point where I do them for friends of mine and my wife. It keeps my ole mine active a little bit too. :!:
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by MN-Investor » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:32 pm

For five years I absolutely hated doing our taxes - 2009 thru 2013 - when we owned shares in a MLP. I hated the K-1s and I hated waiting for them.

In 2013, as my husband's retirement neared, I said "Enough! We are going to simplify our investments and more closely follow the Bogleheads' way of doing things." So we sold all our odd investments in Dec 2013 and the tax returns have been SO much easier since then.

Because of some large long term capital gains in 2016, I bought TurboTax in December and did a very good rough calculation of our taxes at that time. I paid a large Minnesota estimated tax payment on 12/31 so that we could include it with 2016 itemized deductions. Because of all the work I did in December, it was pretty simple to put the return together now that I had actual 1099's in hand. I'm just waiting for one 1099-B which, I've been told, will be here by 3/15.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by tigermilk » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:45 pm

Took me all of about 15 minutes to finish mine. Hopefully this year my processing goes smoothly. 2 straight years of fraudulent returns.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Dale_G » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:31 pm

I set a new record this year. Under 2 hours at a leisurely pace. I have a refund coming - my bad. But I haven't filed yet, I like to sit on the return and review it later to make sure all of the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed.. It is helpful that all of the income streams are now stable.

TurboTax is getting better as time goes on.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by knpstr » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:33 pm

didn't take a lot of time and zero paper.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Mar 05, 2017 4:56 pm

tigermilk wrote:Took me all of about 15 minutes to finish mine. Hopefully this year my processing goes smoothly. 2 straight years of fraudulent returns.

Have you requested a PIN from the IRS so the fraudsters can't file the fraudulent returns? Seems like you should qualify for a PIN if this has happened to you twice in the past.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Nyc10036 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:08 pm

The last three years has been different, so it has been a new re-learning experience each year.

2014 was the first year I had significant 1099 income.
2015 was the first time my foreign tax paid was over $300 forcing me to file Form 1116.
2016 was the first time I had exclusively 1099 income except for interest and dividend. And also the first time I was eligible for Savers Credit.

To top it off I bought insurance on Healthcare.gov so I have had to file Form 8962 all 3 years.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:12 pm

Nyc10036 wrote:p it off I bought insurance on Healthcare.gov so I have had to file Form 8962 all 3 years.

The ACA reporting can get messy. We see a lot of cases at TaxAide with mix of subsidies, exemptions. It really gets cumbersome when we have to explain and obtain total household income in some of the cases.
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Nyc10036 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:19 pm

jebmke wrote:
Nyc10036 wrote:p it off I bought insurance on Healthcare.gov so I have had to file Form 8962 all 3 years.

The ACA reporting can get messy. We see a lot of cases at TaxAide with mix of subsidies, exemptions. It really gets cumbersome when we have to explain and obtain total household income in some of the cases.

The dollar amounts I received in my 2016 Form 1095-A is slightly "off" because the math does not match up to the premium amount I paid, but I decided to leave it well enough alone.

The corrected Form 1095-A shows no coverage for January 2016 which is absolutely false. Multiple calls have yielded the same form!

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Aggie1999 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:32 pm

Issues so far:

- FreeTaxUSA can't seem to deal with excess HSA contributions from previous year.
- CreditKarma can't seem to deal with long term capital gains where the broker did not report the cost basis to the IRS on form 1099-B.

I am running out of free tax software. Getting close to just using the fill-able forms from the IRS website.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 05, 2017 5:50 pm

Aggie1999 wrote:Issues so far:

- FreeTaxUSA can't seem to deal with excess HSA contributions from previous year.
- CreditKarma can't seem to deal with long term capital gains where the broker did not report the cost basis to the IRS on form 1099-B.

I am running out of free tax software. Getting close to just using the fill-able forms from the IRS website.

I paid $25 for HRBlock Deluxe. What does that work out to for an hourly rate for you on your chase for free software?
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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:09 pm

I actually enjoyed doing the taxes this year also. We are paying much more than last year, but I'm a silver lining kind of guy, and would rather focus on us making much more in 2016 than 2015.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by MarkNYC » Sun Mar 05, 2017 6:59 pm

Dale_G wrote:I set a new record this year. Under 2 hours at a leisurely pace... But I haven't filed yet, I like to sit on the return and review it later to make sure all of the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed.

I do the same, and I think this is good advice for those who prepare their own tax returns. After completing the preparation, put the tax return aside for a few days, or longer. Then go back and compare every amount listed on the tax return with the tax document or tax records that supports it. If all still looks okay, compare every item and amount on the prior year return with the corresponding item on the current year return, to see if anything may have been omitted.

Performing these review steps will help minimize any tax return errors, and in most cases will not take that long.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by Aggie1999 » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:13 pm

jebmke wrote:
Aggie1999 wrote:Issues so far:

- FreeTaxUSA can't seem to deal with excess HSA contributions from previous year.
- CreditKarma can't seem to deal with long term capital gains where the broker did not report the cost basis to the IRS on form 1099-B.

I am running out of free tax software. Getting close to just using the fill-able forms from the IRS website.

I paid $25 for HRBlock Deluxe. What does that work out to for an hourly rate for you on your chase for free software?


True, although it's been raining all day so I wasn't doing much else. $25 is $25. I ended up taking the PDF output of Credit Karma and used it to fill in the fillable forms on the IRS website, correcting what the free software screwed up (I hope) and doing the e-file there.

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Re: The Joys Of Tax Season! :(

Post by AAA » Sun Mar 05, 2017 7:19 pm

In my experience, returns involving more than one state are a pain, and the usual software programs seem to struggle with this.

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