First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

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Topic Author
Yvy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:46 pm

First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Yvy »

I decided to take the leap and fill out my own taxes this year. I am sharing my experience for those who have uncomplicated taxes and are thinking of doing the same while still hesitating.

1-I bought the Mike piper book "taxes made simple" to have basic understanding of taxes. The book is great for beginners. Quick read, simple, precise and short explanations.
2- I used the online version of Turbo Tax "deluxe" option "Help me do it" (the other 2 options were "do it myself" and "do it for me").
3- The "help me do it" appeared to be a "do it myself plus direct explanatory links". The "help" links were really helpful in case you did not understand a question well
4- I was not comfortable having them directly download from various accounts (brokerages, mortgage institution , employer site etc) and choose to download from computer or fill boxes myself which was a great way to learn
5- It was possible to review and save the taxes docs as you go by using the "print" option to download a PDF version (not the download option under Tools)
6-Back door Roth went smoothly thanks to this link I found on this website:
https://thefinancebuff.com/how-to-repor ... botax.html
7- Before filling, I used the "Live help" option and I was connected with a tax expert for reviewing what I deemed necessary to be reviewed and doing a quick safe check
6-I choose to pay the extra $64 dollars and do the State tax right away, just to make the whole process simple

I learnt a lot in a very short time frame and it was a great experience. Definitely will better plan my finances next year to take advantages of more deductions/credits.
BradleyB
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2023 7:31 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by BradleyB »

Good for you!

When I retired and sold my practice, I also went the DIY route. Talked to my CPA about it too.

I do feel that I understand everything much better now and am able to strategize as we go. It gets easier every year. I did upload info from my brokerage, but usually go back and change my password, just in case.
aristotelian
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:05 pm

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by aristotelian »

If your taxes aren't too complex, give FreeTaxUSA a shot next time.
invest4
Posts: 1947
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:19 am

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by invest4 »

Thanks for sharing and glad to hear you had a good experience while saving money doing it yourself.

Since our children started filing a return, we do it together first couple of times while discussing the what, why, and how of completing the return. They then do it themselves with help from me if they need it.

I am also not comfortable with direct download for both security and the idea that it may just be another way to share / sell some aspect of my information.

I think it is also important that one saves both their tax returns and supporting documents (W2, etc.) for future reference in case it is needed.

Like investing, having a reasonably good knowledge of taxes is useful and no one will care about your return / money more than you do.


Best wishes.
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tetractys
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Location: Along the Salish Sea

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by tetractys »

Good job! And as you probably know, you can custom print with the selected worksheets for reference—the default print can skip what you want and add what you don’t.
Topic Author
Yvy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:46 pm

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Yvy »

Sure. This forum has made so much difference in my financial life.
Outer Marker
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Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Outer Marker »

Yvy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:02 pm - I was not comfortable having them directly download from various accounts (brokerages, mortgage institution , employer site etc) and choose to download from computer or fill boxes myself which was a great way to learn

-I choose to pay the extra $64 dollars and do the State tax right away, just to make the whole process simple
I'd get over the paranoia of downloading your tax forms next year. That's a major convenience, eleminates multiple opportunities for error, and is conducted securely.

I bought the Deluxe desktop package for around $55 total including fed and state. I refuse to pay the rediculous $25 efile fee for state, and just use my printer and a stamp.

Turbotax is great for what it does -- but it irks me to pay them given the lengths they go to to defeat Congressional efforts to make filing taxes free and easy.
Texgal17
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Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:51 pm
Location: Texas

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Texgal17 »

aristotelian wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2024 11:22 am If your taxes aren't too complex, give FreeTaxUSA a shot next time.
+ 1 I discovered freetaxusa last year and used it for the first time to file this year, for FREE! And so much easier in my opinion. After paying for TurboTax for umpteen years, I won’t go back to them. No state tax in Texas.
miket29
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Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by miket29 »

Yvy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:02 pm 7- Before filling, I used the "Live help" option and I was connected with a tax expert for reviewing what I deemed necessary to be reviewed and doing a quick safe check
Two suggestions for next year.

First, prior to filing I pay the Turbotax fee so that I can print out my complete return as a pdf and then review it. I print all the worksheets as well as the return, then go thru and make sure I understand everything. It's informative to see how the calculations are done, plus I am checking to see if anything seems unexpected. You can't print out your tax return this way until you've paid the fees, otherwise people would just do their return and copy the return onto paper forms without paying.

Second, I save that return plus worksheets. Turbotax only lets you print the worksheets prior to filing. There are workarounds you can find online if you don't print the worksheets before filing that let you get them. Having the worksheets lets you see the details of the info you entered and answers you made to many of the questions TurboTax asked while doing the return.
sycamore
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Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by sycamore »

miket29 wrote: Sun Apr 07, 2024 3:27 pm
Yvy wrote: Tue Apr 02, 2024 6:02 pm 7- Before filling, I used the "Live help" option and I was connected with a tax expert for reviewing what I deemed necessary to be reviewed and doing a quick safe check
Two suggestions for next year.

First, prior to filing I pay the Turbotax fee so that I can print out my complete return as a pdf and then review it. I print all the worksheets as well as the return, then go thru and make sure I understand everything. It's informative to see how the calculations are done, plus I am checking to see if anything seems unexpected. You can't print out your tax return this way until you've paid the fees, otherwise people would just do their return and copy the return onto paper forms without paying.

Second, I save that return plus worksheets. Turbotax only lets you print the worksheets prior to filing. There are workarounds you can find online if you don't print the worksheets before filing that let you get them. Having the worksheets lets you see the details of the info you entered and answers you made to many of the questions TurboTax asked while doing the return.
Those are good suggestions.

I'll add that the TurboTax desktop version lets you print whatever forms and/or worksheets anytime you want. There are other differences between online and desktop versions but this one seems rather odd to me.
dcdowden
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:42 am

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by dcdowden »

Congrats on taking the leap with DIY taxes. I have used TurboTax for many years and second the recommendation to take advantage of downloading information from brokerage accounts and such. There are a lot of details there that can be tedious and error prone to enter manually. You will have the opportunity to review it all as well. If your taxes are similar each year, then TT will remember a lot of things from this year and carry it over automatically making it even easier going forward. This is especially useful if you have carryover losses and such that you need to remember to claim next year.
Outer Marker
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Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Outer Marker »

The desktop version is more powerful and has better functionality. I much prefer it to online. Turbotax Deluxe desktop will handle nearly every situation and you can ignore the upsell. Not true of the online version.
Topic Author
Yvy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:46 pm

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Yvy »

Thanks much to all of you!! Very helpful replies.
Last edited by Yvy on Mon Apr 15, 2024 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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StevieG72
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Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by StevieG72 »

Another vote for downloading statements directly to TurboTax.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Topic Author
Yvy
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2022 9:46 pm

Re: First timer with Turbo tax, first time DIY taxes

Post by Yvy »

StevieG72 wrote: Mon Apr 15, 2024 7:45 am Another vote for downloading statements directly to TurboTax.
Okay. I was a little nervous about doing that not being sure about the level of security. It is good and helpful to hear from others' experience.
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