Who does their own taxes?

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elainet7
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Who does their own taxes?

Post by elainet7 »

my buddy uses TurboTax and says its simple
We have SS IRA distributions, muni interest and NO capital gains and NO STATE TAX
How much simpler can it be with the standard 27k deduction?
fingoals
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by fingoals »

I suggest you to Capitalize your post's title. There is no need to shout. :-)
Topic Author
elainet7
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by elainet7 »

really?
quantAndHold
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by quantAndHold »

With taxes as simple as that, you probably don’t even need to buy a copy of TurboTax.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
mortfree
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by mortfree »

I do my own.

I got 24k standard deductions (MFJ)
fingoals
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by fingoals »

elainet7 wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:27 pmreally?
Really. Please see rules (section 2b).
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KlingKlang
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by KlingKlang »

You will be completing the Social Security Benefits Worksheet for your SS which includes information on your muni bond interest. If you have qualified dividends you will be completing the Qualified Dividends and Capital Gain Tax Worksheet. You may have to deal with Form 8606 for your IRA distributions. Obviously all of these can be completed by hand and I did them for myself and several family members for years, but it is easy to make mistakes as I get older so I feel using TurboTax is worthwhile.
Last edited by KlingKlang on Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
livesoft
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by livesoft »

A large fraction of taxpayers file their own taxes. It has always been pretty easy, so I have never paid to have anyone do our taxes in the last 45 years.

Let me ask a question back: If you haven't done your own taxes, then how did you get them done and how much did you pay (for each of the past 5 years)?

Also: Do you know if any mistakes were made by your tax preparer?

Thanks!
Last edited by livesoft on Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Vulcan
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by Vulcan »

Credit Karma does an excellent job with free federal and tax e-filing.
Used it this year and last.
Very satisfied.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
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LadyGeek
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (taxes). I also fixed the capitalization as noted by several members.
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Cloud
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Cloud »

I use and suggest FreeTaxUSA.....

https://www.freetaxusa.com

This was my 3rd year using it and I really like it.
Aaldarius
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Re: WHO DOES THEIR OWN TAXES

Post by Aaldarius »

Vulcan wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:06 pm Credit Karma does an excellent job with free federal and tax e-filing.
Used it this year and last.
Very satisfied.
Me too. My taxes are really simple and basic, wish they had the W2 snapshot but overall it was a pleasant experience. It took them a few weeks to have state taxes ready to file though.
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StevieG72
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by StevieG72 »

I do my own business ( S-Corp) and personal.

Know enough to be dangerous, actually entertained the idea of running a tax business franchise. Dodged a bullet on that one.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
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homebrewer888
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by homebrewer888 »

Cloud wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:29 pm I use and suggest FreeTaxUSA.....

https://www.freetaxusa.com

This was my 3rd year using it and I really like it.

I did my taxes with FreeTaxUSA this year after 16 years of using TurboTax. I was very pleased with FreeTax and it was much cheaper than TurboTax (free for Federal and $12.62 for State taxes). My taxes are not very complicated.
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baconavocado
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by baconavocado »

I've been using TurboTax forever.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by cheese_breath »

I can compute my taxes in Excel, but I use TT to make sure everything ends up in the right places on the right forms.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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leeks
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by leeks »

I do ours with Turbotax. It seems like the program could handle a lot more complexity than we (and probably you) have.
Last edited by leeks on Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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catdude
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by catdude »

Another vote for FreeTaxUSA...
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Vulcan
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Vulcan »

catdude wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:55 pm Another vote for FreeTaxUSA...
They charge $13 for State.
Credit Karma does not.
If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything. ~Ronald Coase
mindboggling
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by mindboggling »

I've always done my own taxes.

I used FreeTaxUSA this year for the first time. No problems. Did tax loss harvesting, itemized deductions.

Tax Act just became too expensive.
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Wakefield1
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Wakefield1 »

I do (at least up until now,still waiting for my IRS 1040 sets I ordered
Mother and brother went to a 'Liberty Tax" for the last few years,she enjoyed the socialization with the proprietor but last year she was ill and unable to leave the "Rehab" unit easily,I did hers and my brother's.
Still hoping when and if the 1040's come they will have the new "Schedule 1",didn't see anyplace on the IRS website to order it. (them)(3)
Fear the 3rd party software leaking information and make too much for free filing.
123
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by 123 »

I've always done by own taxes. Turbo Tax makes it very easy.

I've used Turbo Tax since the early 90's. Never a problem or issue. Usually I "warm up" every year by filing returns for relatives with less complicated situations then I move on to our return. We get by with Turbo Tax Deluxe with State for about $40 - $50 each of the last 3 to 5 years. There's a free on-line version which will work for a lot of people.
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bloom2708
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by bloom2708 »

Taxact.com

Online version. 1 year I dipped my toe into having someone do my taxes. Once was enough.
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rkhusky
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by rkhusky »

I used to get paper forms from the library or the IRS. But now I download the pdf's from the IRS web site, fill them out, print them, and mail them. Best way to understand what is going on with your taxes. I also use a spreadsheet to forecast my taxes during the year, so that I end up owing about $500 come tax time.
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mfswatz9
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by mfswatz9 »

I've done ours for years with Turbotax. It's a few hours work and it's so easy to download all the information from Vanguard. I still have to type in all the CD interest, etc. I've never understood why people with uncomplicated taxes pay a CPA to do theirs.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I have prepared our taxes for the last 18 years. I had a tax person for the first couple of years after my accident, as $$$ were flying hither and yon, large amounts coming in, large amounts going out, and I was pretty fuzzy about what all was going on.

This year we have SS income, TIRA distributions, interest on US Savings Bonds, interest from MetLife for a mistake on my LTC claim around 10 years ago, W-2 earnings to account for life insurance over $50,000 provided by MegaCorp. We also received 48 cents in dividends for our taxable brokerage sweep account, and 4 cents dividend from my credit union account . I suppose my total dividends of 52 cents will be rounded up to 1 dollar! :( No state tax, just a federal return.

It is possible I will be able to itemize deductions and beat our standard deduction (MFJ both over 65) of $26,600. It looks promising.

I think I'll check into the Credit Karma tax filing to see if it will work for us. If it doesn't, I will use fillable forms at IRS
All in all looks like a pretty simple return for us.

Next year will be even simpler, I believe.

Broken Man 1999
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Mr.Wu
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Mr.Wu »

Another vote for free tax USA. Our tax is relatively complicated: capital gain, dividends, backdoor Roth, itemized deduction. We like it so much that we even pay for their state tax filing, though my state offer free efile.

We did use the free version of TurboTax as a benchmark for federal tax. The final numbers always converge.
depressed
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by depressed »

I feel a compulsion to post this paradox:
I do the taxes for everyone in my family, except for those people who do their own taxes. Do I do my own taxes or not?
ddurrett896
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by ddurrett896 »

Does anyone do their tax with a rental? I get hesistant because of depreciation, etc and don’t want to miss something.

Paid $430 this year.
mattshwink
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by mattshwink »

My wife or I have never paid anyone to do our taxes (before we were married or after) so ~20 years of doing our taxes, 13 years as MFJ. We have charitable contributions, mortgage interest, property taxes, and state/local taxes with two backdoor Roth IRAs. Takes 1-2 hours every year.
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Gray
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Gray »

TurboTax desktop app since 1995. TurboTax online and since 2007-2008. I love that I can access all my prior (TurboTax Online) returns online. (I store them elsewhere as well). TurboTax works with the LastPass and Google Authenticator apps for MFA.

If you know how to access the print center (hard to find), you can exports three kinds of PDFs: tax return filed, tax return with all govt worksheets, and tax return with all government worksheets and TurboTax worksheets. A great resource to have for reference if audited.

When I login each year, it prepopulates with prior year information and walks through any changes. It knows my refund amounts and other questions relating to prior year returns. You can do amendments through it as well.

I can export a .tax file if I ever need to work with the full TurboTax form-based solution, or provide to someone. I export this file with the PDFs. People are always selling older versions of TurboTax on eBay for different years.

There are cheaper options, but I actually enjoy using TT. (I manage the gathering of all the tax forms and supporting documentation as PDFs, and then it’s a two hour sit down with my wife as we go through data entry. Two sets of eyes reading instructions/responses is a great QA control.

When I efiled, last Saturday, my Federal tax return was accepted an hour later, and VA accepted it an hour or two after that. I’ve had multiple situations where I have eFiled and have a refund in my bank account 3 days later.
Last edited by Gray on Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:07 pm, edited 7 times in total.
tomd37
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by tomd37 »

Elainet7 - Please don't do your own return if you are going to submit a return with a standard deduction of $27,000. There is no way to come up with that amount. Standard deduction for MFJ couple over 65 would be $26,600 plus $1,300 for each person deemed legally blind. Of course if you use a tax program it will determine the correct standard deduction based on the data you enter.

If you don't want to do your own return there are two free tax preparation services available to you; AARP Foundation's Tax Counseling for the Elderly (sometimes referred to as Tax-Aide) and another program (income limited) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). Both are under the IRS umbrella.
Tom D.
minesweep
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by minesweep »

I use my Excel spreadsheets to compare with my federal Tax Act e-file & my free e-file for my state. It gives me a greater piece of mind knowing that what I am filing is correct.
Time is your friend; impulse is your enemy - John Bogle | Learn every day, but especially from the experiences of others, it's cheaper! - John Bogle
scrabbler1
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by scrabbler1 »

Since 1985, I do my own taxes, with help from homemade spreadsheets since the mid-1990s, and with the free fillable forms since 2014. I have cap gains and ACA subsidy forms (no more itemizing with the SD now much larger). I tried (free) TurboTax 2 years ago as a check on my work but it gave me garbage, nonsense results. No big deal.

I do the taxes for 2 other people. One is my ladyfriend, whose taxes are very easy (1040EZ, formerly). Another friend's taxes are like mine but without the ACA subsidy. Spreadsheets and free fillable forms.
Topic Author
elainet7
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by elainet7 »

How do I contact this site as I cannot log on with my name/pw-using my wifes
quantAndHold
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by quantAndHold »

ddurrett896 wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:22 pm Does anyone do their tax with a rental? I get hesistant because of depreciation, etc and don’t want to miss something.

Paid $430 this year.
TurboTax handles rentals just fine.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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GerryL
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by GerryL »

I have always done my own taxes, beginning in the 60s when the 1040 really was just half a page. It's a principle: I'm perfectly willing to pay the taxes I owe, but I should not have to pay someone else to be able to pay my taxes.

At some point in the late 90s I finally broke down and started using TurboTax (or what ever it might have been called at that time), so I guess I was paying someone else. Sometimes I used H&RB. Last year I realized that I was eligible to file for free (and probably was eligible since I stopped working) and have been using a program called OLT (On-Line Taxes).

The process is so much more complex these days, I will have to start thinking now about how to deal with this task if I begin to experience cognitive issues.
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Ice-9
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Ice-9 »

I've always done my own taxes. Did them by hand until late 1990s. Typed out the IRS' PDF forms and printed and mailed until about 2004. Used Turbo Tax from then until maybe 2012, then switched to TaxAct because they were cheaper. Now that TaxAct has raised their prices, I'm planning to try FreeTaxUSA next year.

I have never understood why so many people who have relatively common tax situations with no unusual twists or turns hire someone to do their taxes. The most work in my opinion is getting all your forms and documentation together, and you have to do that no matter what path you're on, so why pay someone more to complete and file the return? To each their own.
mptfan
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by mptfan »

Ice-9 wrote: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:45 pm I have never understood why so many people who have relatively common tax situations with no unusual twists or turns hire someone to do their taxes. The most work in my opinion is getting all your forms and documentation together, and you have to do that no matter what path you're on, so why pay someone more to complete and file the return? To each their own.
Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses and everyone has different levels of competence and comfort in different areas of life. And some people just don't have the interest and don't want to be bothered to do certain things. For example, I know how to change the oil in my car, but I just don't have the interest or the inclination to go out and buy the oil and the filter and get a pan to collect the used oil and spend the time and effort to do the work and get oil and grease on my clothes and then store and dispose the oil. I prefer to pay someone else to do that, not because I don't know how, but because I just don't have the inclination and the desire to do it.

Some people know how to prepare their own tax return but they choose not to spend the time and mental effort necessary to do it and others just don't know how to do it and don't have the aptitude or inclination to figure it out. This may come as a shock to some Bogleheads, but in my experience most people's eyes glaze over when I start talking about taxes or investing or any personal finance related topic, most people just are not interested and don't care to learn. Many people just don't have the desire or the inclination to prepare their own taxes no matter how simple it may seem to others and they are happy to pay someone else to take care of it for them.
student
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by student »

I do my own using either TaxCut or TurboTax.
harrad
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by harrad »

I used FreeTaxUsa previously but now switched to freefilefillableforms.com. I believe this is a service from the IRS. It requires manual input and manual calculation of almost every line in the 1040 and other forms/schedules. I personally like it as there is no gimmicky feeling that I typically get when I enter data in Turbotax, FreeTaxUsa or H&R Block.

I was forced into using this method as H&R Block could not handle an in-plan 401k Roth conversion and in addition FreeTaxUsa could not handle corrections to cost basis in the 8949 form. TurboTax did everything but given the option of filing for free vs spending 50+$, I choose the free option through freefilefillableforms especially since my refund amount for both matched.
MDCrab
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by MDCrab »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:27 pm
ddurrett896 wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:22 pm Does anyone do their tax with a rental? I get hesistant because of depreciation, etc and don’t want to miss something.

Paid $430 this year.
TurboTax handles rentals just fine.
I’ve used TaxSlayer for about 7 or 8 years now. I have a rental and it wasn’t difficult.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by LadyGeek »

elainet7 wrote: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:11 pm How do I contact this site as I cannot log on with my name/pw-using my wifes
The contact info is on the site home page under Contact. Or in the Forum Policies, Introduction section. bhadmin@bogleheads.org

Since you're already logged in with your wife's account, you can PM me and explain what's wrong.
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DetroitRick
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by DetroitRick »

I've done our own taxes every year of my life except 1, when I used a CPA. Year-to-year, complexity level ranges from easy to moderately-complex. Used TurboTax almost every year since the mid 1990's. After experiencing several years of really dumb preparer mistakes by an enrolled agent, I started doing mother-in-law's returns last year too. Also via TurboTax for Federal and state website for state return. Hers were moderately complex as well.

It doesn't take me too much effort to keep up with the tax regs that affect me, so I don't find this too burdensome. Plus any effort expended is always more than offset by improving my tax planning. In fact, my payoff in that regard has been substantial.
Last edited by DetroitRick on Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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GerryL
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by GerryL »

Ice-9 wrote: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:45 pm
I have never understood why so many people who have relatively common tax situations with no unusual twists or turns hire someone to do their taxes. The most work in my opinion is getting all your forms and documentation together, and you have to do that no matter what path you're on, so why pay someone more to complete and file the return? To each their own.
When I was in the USAF and living in the dormitory, many of my fellow WAFs (that's what we were called at the time) had one of the other women fill out their 1040s for them. Very simple, half-page form. I noticed that they would just sign the form without even checking it or trying to figure out what they were putting their name to. I asked, "Aren't you even going to check it to make sure it is correct?" The response was always, "Nah. I trust her." No interest at all in even having it explained. Just sign and send.
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legio XX
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by legio XX »

rkhusky wrote: Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:11 pm I used to get paper forms from the library or the IRS. But now I download the pdf's from the IRS web site, fill them out, print them, and mail them. Best way to understand what is going on with your taxes. I also use a spreadsheet to forecast my taxes during the year, so that I end up owing about $500 come tax time.
Same here except I try not to owe. Haven't done this year's yet so don't know what new joys await . . .
lunean
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by lunean »

I've done ours on my own for years. I fill in the pdf and print and mail. For 2018, I decided to buy Turbo Tax just to double check my work. We got the same answer. Next year, I'll do them on my own and save the $30.
mortfree
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by mortfree »

CPA= CYA.

SWAN

I’ve only paid one time for someone to do my taxes. I wasn’t comfortable with something.
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Darth Xanadu
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by Darth Xanadu »

DetroitRick wrote: Mon Feb 25, 2019 4:36 pm Plus any effort expended is always more than offset by improving my tax planning. In fact, my payoff in that regard has been substantial.
Great point!

I've always done my own taxes, until my 2017 returns when I paid someone to do them for me. It was a colossal fiasco, to the point where after much back-and-forth (me pointing out errors, him correcting them), he sent a "final draft" which he labeled version 1,000,001. I don't know if it was a dig at me, or he was trying to be funny. Either way I was unimpressed. I'm using a different guy this year.
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TierArtz
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Re: Who does their own taxes?

Post by TierArtz »

I've used TurboTax every year since at least 2002 (still have the data files and PDFs) and filled out the forms from tax booklets prior to that. I've never had anyone else do them.

In recent years, I use a spreadsheet to record pay-stub info, pension info, SWAGs and known profits for investment income, and deductions in an attempt to owe as much as possible without paying a penalty. I've never paid a penalty :-)
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