Income Taxes: Turbo Tax - H&R Block - File Your Own?

   / Income Taxes: Turbo Tax - H&R Block - File Your Own? #131  
Here’s a little nugget if true regarding the two largest tax prep software giant. Be careful clicking on the multiple AGREE boxes.

What data do they want?

America is sorely lacking privacy laws, but it does have one that prevents tax-prep companies from disclosing the contents of your tax return. For H&R Block and Intuit, that means they can’t automatically use the contents of anyone’s returns for purposes other than preparing taxes.

Both companies are asking you to grant them special permission to go beyond these default federal protections and use your return — including your income, investments and mortgage details — to help them upsell you on other things.

In addition, H&R Block also wants your permission to share some of the content of your return with two independent companies in the Philippines that help them do customer service.

What happens if you click ‘agree’?

Clicking yes for the “personalized service” or “offers” request means you’re probably going to receive marketing from H&R Block or Intuit that’s eerily specific to your financial situation.

This might come in the form offers for financial products when you’re done with your taxes, ads on sites that belong to sister companies (like Intuit’s Mint or Credit Karma), or ads that come from these companies via email.

- Copied from the Washington Post website. Just something I ran across, not necessarily a fan of them.
   / Income Taxes: Turbo Tax - H&R Block - File Your Own? #132  
Yeah, brokerages are getting better at reporting the cost basis of equities accurately. However, they still have some stocks that come up as "uncovered", and they have not always dealt with splits and return of capital distributions accurately. Options basis reports are improving, but not always right.

If you use "various" to report totals, then you still need to properly account for each transaction outside of your tax software. There can be a lot of them if you own mutual funds, participate in dividend reinvestment plans, or do short sales.

Mutual funds may also make it easier to report LT and ST gains by generating an "average cost basis" for you. That method may not be advantageous, however.
Trouble with mutual funds is that there's a lot of "churn" in their holdings, much of it short term gains that you need to pay taxes on.

I don't worry about the grouped short/long term reports from my brokerage account, I figure I'm safe as long as what they report to me is the same as what they report to the IRS.
State Taxes are a whole other story. I'm lucky enough to live in Oregon. Almost routinely, my filings were looked over and they said I OVER PAID, and here is your adjustment refund check and the reasons why I was getting a refund. When I lived in Maryland, it was the opposite. That State WAS draconian. You owe this much more, and its up to you to prove us wrong. :)
Yeah. I live in a state with no income tax (other than one on interest & dividends earned out of state, which I've never exceeded the exempt threshold), but some of my (self-employment) income is from a neighboring state who does have one. Unfortunately, they don't offer on-line filing for non-residents, and their forms are convoluted enough to make your head explode. Fortunately, only a relatively small portion of my income comes from there.