Income tax filing

Rose Pekelnicky

For close to 20 years I have been doing my own income tax returns using H & R Block software on my computer. Before that my husband and I would do them together with pencil and paper. I also do my sons' taxes and my brother's. None of these are complicated. Mostly wages from a job, interest and dividends. For me and my brother the last few years have included social security and pension income. I also prepare the state and local forms. Do you do your own taxes?

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katlan

I do. I do ours, my son's, my one sister in law and her husband, my in-laws. I have done nieces and nephews also, and sat with them while they did them online so they could do their own.

Ours are like yours Rose, not complicated, so easy peasy online.

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OklaMoni

Yup, Rose, easy peasy.. I do mine online too.

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aok27502

No way, and I have a degree in accounting. We have two businesses; I have a top-notch CPA.

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Raye Smith

Sure, typically at least twelve pages but I've done up to a fifty page return.

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Fun2BHere

I always did my own until a few years ago when we made the mistake of buying some stocks that require complicated extra reporting. Now, I sort of enjoy dropping the documents off, sometimes in person, sometimes digitally, and not having to worry about going through the process myself. It's become a personal indulgence for me to have someone else do the taxes.

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Lucille

I've already done mine, filed it, and got my refund from the IRS :)

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joann_fl

Yes I use FREE TAX USA or one of the free ones. No problems

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Hot Rod

No way! We own property and have income in other countries! I pay someone to let them take care of all that. lol

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chisue

Never. There's income from too many varying sources that have been taxed at varying rates. Changes in the standard deduction have *simplified* returns while at the same time eliminating valuable deductions.

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morz8

No, I don't do ours, have used the same accountant for the last 40 years. I've been paying closer attention to what she's doing, now that DH has retired when our accountant retires I may begin doing the annual taxes. I don't anticipate a lot of major changes and could use last years, this years as my guide.

I did the quarterly reports and payments for our business for many years + became good at getting just enough paid in for our personal estimated without overpaying, but always had the final years end report prepared for me.

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maire_cate

Not since I had a part time job while attending college. I am very happy to pay my CPA for his expertise.

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amylou321

Yup. Like lucille,mine have been filed, and I got my refund yesterday. Mine are very easy.

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Kathsgrdn

Yes, use taxact.com. Have one income. My kids also do their own on-line.

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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Husband is a CPA, he does them. I would have to hire a professional if he wasn't able to do it.

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schoolhouse_gwagain

I use to do mine online, but now since I'm over 65 and a senior, I get them done free through AARP at the local Community Center. Very simple, just a few deductions, nothing fancy. Have an appt. Feb. 19th.

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HU-955941711

I've done ours, with TurboTax, since we got rid of our rental properties 20+ years ago. I've got a CPA standing by to do this year's due to an inheritance.

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

I've always done my own with the exception of one year in the 70s. Of course that was the year all filers got a rebate, and we would have been better off to file separately - but the preparer didn't take the time to take the rebate into account.

I use TurboTax currently, but have used a few other free programs. I prepared the returns of two of my coworkers for a few years too, because what they were being charged by a chain was utterly ridiculous for a return with standard deduction and only wage income and savings account interest. Neither one took me more than an hour.

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nhbaskets

I’ve been using TurboTax for years with no issues. Always itemized until last year with tax changes.

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kathyg_in_mi

We’ve been using H & R Block for the last few years. Now it’s gotten simpler, no extras, so we will give it a try this year.

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grapefruit1_ar

My DH and DD2 are both CPA's. Therefore, it has never been necessary to even try. I am not proud of that.

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ratherbesewing

My DH and I do our own taxes. We opted to use a CPA during a few complicated years. The final CPA year, I also ran a TurboTax and numbers were close enough to give us confidence going forward.

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Marilyn_Sue

No, since there is a business involved, never in the past fifty years have we done our own taxes.

Sue

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chisue

As young marrieds, we used one of the tax chains twice. They made so many mistakes, that even we could see. We realized (duh) that they were all just temp hires, churning out returns as fast as possible.

I don't understand why anyone would want/plan to get their own money back. It means too much was withheld or paid ahead as estimated. We prefer to owe a little.

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Rose Pekelnicky

Chisue, I agree with that. My father said that years ago. I do have to pay some because I don't have taxes taken out of the retirement incomes I receive. I'm ok with that.

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sjerin

Like Chisue, many years ago we used a chain service and the poor woman made so many mistakes her boss finally just refunded our money. Dh realized he could do even the more complicated returns just as easily as a service and has done ever since. I'm happy to let him. :)

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jemdandy

I've been using TurboTax for over 10 years and have been satisfied. I have moved up one notch from the basic version to deluxe. This version includes state tax with on-line filing. I'm retired and managing two funds: An IRA and a private brokerage account. Tax filing software makes it easier to prepare the tax forms and provides on-line filing. Also, all the needed forms are available through the software and I don't have to chase all over town to find those.

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Elmer J Fudd

jemdandy, I believe all tax forms, fed and state, are available online for download in PDF format. No need to go anywhere. Many of them are "fill out-able" in Acrobat too.

Still that's no substitute for going the software route when one's financial position is simple enough to not need a pro, because return software eliminates math errors in doing addition, subtraction, and tax calcs.

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chisue

In her column in today's Chicago Tribune, Jill Schlesinger mentions that the IRS offers a service called Free File. It's open to anyone earning $69,000 or less. (The IRS says that's about 100 million Americans.) Visit www.IRS.gov/freefile

She also warns that tax season brings out the bad guys. Ignore or report messages supposedly from the IRS that come to you by phone, text, email, or social media channels. Forward suspicious messages to phishing@irs.gov Even if you get a letter supposedly from the IRS, contact the government independent from any contact provided in that letter to verify that it is valid.

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dedtired

My investment advisor includes free tax prep in his fee, so I let them take care of it.

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sheilajoyce_gw

DH has a business and finance background and has always done our taxes.

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bob_cville

We have several businesses: rental properties, a horse boarding farm, and sometime consulting gigs as well, in addition to normal jobs, but since I've always been inclined to DIY we've always used software to do our own taxes, originally Turbo Tax, but for the past dozen years or so using HRBlock software. I think at least partially because we've done it ourselves over the years as our situation has become more complex, I feel I'm now far more skilled in the rules that apply to us than any run-of-the-mill tax preparer we might find. Also in my experience the organizing of all of the year end material is much more work that the actual filling in of forms. So the amount of work saved by using a tax professional wouldn't be that much.

Furthermore the only experience I have with paid tax professionals, (other than long ago using a friend's mother who was a CPA) are when a local friend of my wife's was charged $300 by a tax preparer when his situation was simple enough that he could use the 1040-EZ form, and advice from a tax lawyer for how my wife's family should handle transferring their father's house to a trust to try to minimize estate taxes, that was partially incorrect, and in the long run, actually detrimental.

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Elmer J Fudd

" we've done it ourselves over the years as our situation has become more complex, I feel I'm now far more skilled in the rules that apply to us than any run-of-the-mill tax preparer we might find. "

bob, it isn't what you know, it's what you DON'T know that you're compromising by doing it yourself if your situation is other than vanilla. If your situation is complex, you'd be making a mistake going to a "run of the mill" preparer anyway, so that hypothetical isn't a fair assessment.

Anyhow, what you're describing seems to be more information-bulky than complex, but do as you see fit.


For your friend's mother and the tax lawyer,/trust situation any fee paid to someone who's incompetent or doesn't have the client's best interest in mind is too much. The damage was done by going to the WRONG person, not by getting outside help.

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bob_cville

I corrected a typo above. The friend's mother, was knowledgeable and trustworthy, but was also many years and two states ago. It was a local friend much more recently who went to a "storefront" tax preparation office, who may well have had their taxes done perfectly, but for which I felt the $300 fee he said was charged was akin to highway robbery, given how simple they were.

> "any fee paid to someone who's incompetent ... is too much."

I agree, but by the the time you know enough to determine whether someone is not competent to address your needs, it is usually too late. The house trust issue was that they had set up a 5-year QPRT and a 7-year QPRT and transferred half of the house to each, then when the QPRT's "matured" we were instructed to establish two completely separate trusts with separate federal ID's and separate bank accounts, to hold and manage the property, This advice was incorrect, and that ended up more than doubling the amount of work to manage the property for the trust.

In the end though all of their advice which was geared toward reducing the impact of estate tax on his estate, was valid at the time they gave it, but when the threshold at which estate tax would be owed had changed enough by the time he passed away that his estate wouldn't have owed any estate tax anyway. And instead because of the way the various trusts were set up, his heirs received assets where the basis value was set at the time the asset was placed in the trust, rather than when he passed away, and some of them had appreciated significantly.


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Elmer J Fudd

The client/customer usually has no way of assessing the competence of an expert, and certainly not in advance. As with trades people, the best indicator is a referral or more than one from existing clients/customers.

Estate planning like income tax planning is often a moving target because of law changes. Especially for estate planning, rates, lifetime exemptions, etc., have changed in more years than they've stayed the same. If the lawyer didn't advise the clients of that, didn't advise that what was in place needed to be reevaluated regularly, and if the "plan" didn't put something in place that had a reasonable chance of durability as the tide goes up and down, they didn't earn the fee they were paid.

My experience in this field, more time spent in a related field, is that the percentages of practitioners (both legal and CPAs) who are truly competent is shockingly low. Not different than in other professions.


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bob_cville

All true. But with tradespeople even when you get a recommendation from an existing clients/customers those making the recommendation may have no good way of assessing the competence of a given trades person even after the work is finished. The previous owners of our house left a list of trusted tradespeople they had used. After seeing the work that had been done, I dubbed that the list of tradespeople who will never set foot in this house again.


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quasifish

I've always done our until last year when we had some awful complications as the result of my dad's estate not being properly handled after he passed. We went to H&R and were very impressed.

This year, DH is having significant medical issues (should recover fully, but will take many months). I am not even thinking about doing our own taxes this year- back to H&R when I get everything together.

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Lars

I think I will try TaxAct this year. We've been using TurboTax, but they have raised their prices significantly, and I think TaxAct should be sufficient for me this year. Next year will be different.

I did see Jill Schlesinger on CBS This Morning talk about Free File through irs.gov, but I don't think I want to go that route. If it is through the government, it is going to be more complicated😵. I like the options offered by TaxAct - thanks for that link!

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raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio

Lars, unless it changed this year (I haven't looked), freefile at irs.gov is just links to "approved and agreed to be free" tax programs. TaxAct and TurboTax have been among them. It is no more complicated that going to the TaxAct site itself - but if you go through the irs site, and meet the conditions (each tax program sets their own) it will be free. It has always only been simple returns that are free, though.

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Olychick

I always did our taxes myself, when things were more simple financially, and even enjoyed the itemizing/preparing. Now my finances are very complicated and I've used a very good CPA, who had to educated herself about the unusual situation I was in (significant loss in a Ponzi scheme). She's done a stellar job and even though my taxes should become less complicated after this next year or two, I'll continue to have her do them. I'm no longer interested in figuring it out for myself and as long as I can pay someone to do them, I'll do that.

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Elmer J Fudd

By googling "tax loss ponzi scheme", a return preparer will quickly find what's needed to know. I'm not saying that the analysis will necessarily be immediately understood by the average person on the street (though it may be) but for someone in the biz, it's not a difficult topic.

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Olychick

thanks for 'splaining that to me!

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Elmer J Fudd

Your preparer may overstated the degree of difficulty and that's why I made the comment - your praise seemed disproportionate to the degree of difficulty involved. While it may not be a common occurrence and the source of resolution not immediately familiar to someone who does other work (a Revenue Ruling and a Revenue Procedure from some years back, there are hundreds of each in most years), the treatment is pretty straight forward. A theft loss, which of course, is what it is.

PS - If you only accept new (to you) information from other females and think there's a gender factor when getting same from a male, too bad for you.

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Olychick

Well, since you know zero about this particular situation, you really have zero helpful information to offer, so 'spaining is what I call that.

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Elmer J Fudd

You said Ponzi Scheme loss, I responded to that. Tax issues affecting individuals are usually very straight forward from a technical standpoint. That doesn't mean all are immediately known or familiar, but answers are almost always simple just the same and readily found.

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Olychick

Well, almost always simple doesn't apply to this situation, but thanks for more 'spaining.

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Elmer J Fudd

Attitudes sure do vary from person to person. Not what they are but whether any particular person has one.

Play on for the majority female crowd, there are others similarly disposed. Fortunately not many.

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olychick

Lol

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joann_fl

I did mine today, I use free tax USA. No problems at all I've used them for several years now.

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