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

  
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polarred21

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goeduck

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The services like HR Block and TT pull information from the previous year backup file so you get a bit of a running start.
 

MAD777

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I've used Turbo Tax since they began. Always happy with them.
 

riptides

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Ugh..... I use a tax preparation service. I have two pass through entities and get a lot of activity moving stuff around. My prep work is like an old fashion crime scene interview with the preparer. Hoping next year will be simpler as I closed out one business line this year but went all in on another.

Well maybe in two years...lol.
 

duffer

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I've done my own taxes since I was toilet trained. For a decades I used Turbo Tax. Then...in 2016 or there abouts, TT decided not to include many of the forms I used in their Basic software package, in order to "force" us into buying the more expensive "Deluxe or Premium" versions.. Simple stuff like Sch D, some health insurance stuff, nothing complicated. So I switched to HRBlock about 4 years ago. Never looked back. Has all of the forms, easy to use, and you can get the basic program (without state) for about $25. And HRB will import your TT return from last year to do the HRB return this year.

TT lost a ton of business and got raked over the coals on social media and lousy reviews on their website, as well as Amazon's, Sams, Costco, etc. A year or 2 later TT relented and added back some, not all, of the forms needed, and begged all of us that left to come back. I told them to "go pound sand".

Re: using a CPA/accountant...if you look at the CPA "worksheet" that you need to fill out, it is in the same exact order as the 1040. The worksheet just looks different. So they have a "dooser" input your numbers that you put together in the first place, into their software and then the CPA "reviews" it, and charges you $250. Absurd IMO.

Now...having said all of that, you DO need to be diligent in doing your own taxes. The key is not to wait til the last minute, but rather break up the input of data into several sessions. Personal info and wages in one session, interest-Dividends in another, cap gains on investments in another, etc. That way you won't be over-whelmed and get frustrated, lazy and make mistakes, or more likely, omissions. HRB does a good job of guiding you thru the process, and there is a ton of info embedded in the program, and on their website to help you thru stuff. And, you can always do a topic search on the IRS.gov website to get the info you need.
 

Oaktree

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I've done my own taxes since I was toilet trained. For a decades I used Turbo Tax. Then...in 2016 or there abouts, TT decided not to include many of the forms I used in their Basic software package, in order to "force" us into buying the more expensive "Deluxe or Premium" versions.. Simple stuff like Sch D, some health insurance stuff, nothing complicated. So I switched to HRBlock about 4 years ago. Never looked back. Has all of the forms, easy to use, and you can get the basic program (without state) for about $25. And HRB will import your TT return from last year to do the HRB return this year.

Another vote for Block. I switched to them maybe 7-8 years ago for the reasons you mentioned, plus the fact that it was ~$10 cheaper. We don't have a state income tax here so I don't need to worry about that, though I do have some income from a neighboring state so I do need to file there. Unfortunately, their calculation methods are a bit convoluted and since only 20-25% of my income is from that state I'm not sure paying extra for the state edition would make things any less frustrating. All in all I'm pleased with it.

Now...having said all of that, you DO need to be diligent in doing your own taxes. The key is not to wait til the last minute, but rather break up the input of data into several sessions. Personal info and wages in one session, interest-Dividends in another, cap gains on investments in another, etc. That way you won't be over-whelmed and get frustrated, lazy and make mistakes, or more likely, omissions.

Or for that matter discover you're missing some info and have to scramble to get it. You're right, procrastination doesn't pay here.
 

TractorGuy

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I used Tax Act for years until 3 years ago when they went online only. I preferred the free download version so I could take my time and work on my own PC before it went up for filing. I bought the $14.95 version once but most years I used the free version and it worked fine. The paid version would let you import your info from the previous year so it would save 5 minutes of typing.

3 years ago I discovered there were free services for seniors that would do your taxes for you. The wife and I have been using those every since. I have used two different versions. One you stand in line and wait and one we found would give you an appointment. The appointment version I signed up for from the IRS web site. Easy Peasy and FREE!
 

Bird

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Way back when I was about 23 years old, and had always done my own short form tax return, came a year in which I figured I was going to owe more than I had, so I visited the Federal Building to ask the tax folks about a payment plan. However, the gentleman I talked to refigured everything, and instead of me owing, he got me a small refund.:cool2: I know most of us complain about the IRS but they sure ain't all bad.

One year, when I was still working in the Post Office and filed the short form (how many remember the old form on a little card with 7 or 8 lines?), later in the year I got a letter from the IRS that my tax return was one of those randomly selected for audit and an error was found on line number (I don't remember the number) and that I had a $10 refund coming. I later got a check for $10 and spent it, but I had kept a copy of what I filed and there was NO error on it.

When we bought our first house, instead of doing the short form myself, I went to H&R Block. I have no idea how they do things now, but back then, an elderly guy got it all done, and I paid him, but then he said he had to send it in to their office to be checked and then they'd send it to me to mail. When I got it in the mail, on a Saturday morning, it had some of my forms and some of someone else's forms and a notation of the errors they'd found. Since they were closed on weekends in those days, I simply redid everything myself, filed the return, and then called H&R Block Monday and told them I thought they owned me a refund of what I'd paid them. The guy said, "Sure you could do it yourself, after you had our figures." And I told him, "I'm mailing you paperwork to you, and if you can honestly tell me that anyone could use your figures for anything, then you owe me nothing. Otherwise I want a refund." They sent the refund.

When I retired from the police department, the city was late that year getting all the paperwork out, so it was getting near the deadline when I got all the paperwork done, and I decided to contact one of the biggest firms in Dallas to review everything I'd done and tell me how to correct it. The guy asked lots of questions that day, and finally told me I had everything done and that he couldn't help me. I asked how much I owed him and he said, "Nothing, since I can't help you." So my wife and I took off for Alaska the next day. But a month or so later, I got a letter from the IRS wanting about $150 for not paying in enough in advance DURING the year. I just sent them a check.

When we bought the little farm down in the country, I had some new forms and entries to make, so when I finished, I took everything to a tax accountant and left it with him a few days. When I went back to get it, he said it looked good to him, and when I asked how much I owed him, he said, "Nothing."

So ever since then I just use TurboTax. I think they say if you pay an extra $45 they'll represent you if you get audited. I've never paid for that service and have never needed it.
 

KennyG

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No matter what method you use, having the records readily available is the key, as others have noted.

During the year, anytime I get anything that might be tax related, I scan it into a pdf file and put it into a folder on the computer. Then I put the hard copy into a file. When it comes time to the do the taxes, everything is right there. This method developed from years of not doing it right. :laughing:
 

GeneV

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I use turbotax for both personal and business taxes. I usually buy the deluxe edition for personal, and their business edition for my s-corp return. Once you do it a few times, it easy to do, and is actually kind of fun, at least for me. I'll echo what others are saying, the key is to have all your data sorted out beforehand. I use itsdeductable.com to keep track of our donations made. I use quickbooks for both work and home record-keeping. For the home, I just created quickbooks accounts relevant to home expenses, no big deal. I just make sure to keep up with entering all relevant info on time, I don't let it pile up.

So at tax time, alls I have to do is print out the year's profit & loss report, and all the data is right there. Turbotax links up with the itsdeductable.com account, and all our donation stuff gets uploaded that way. So all that's left to do is put in the w-2's, and all the stuff from the banks, mortgage interest, etc, and I'm done.
 
 
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