Money Poll #25: Tax Preparation

I noted the other day that I was waffling about how to handle our tax prep this year… Do it myself again, or hire a pro? Well, I ended up deciding to split the difference this year, and do it both ways.

Over the weekend, I fired up Turbo Tax and hunkered down to figure things out on my own. With that done, my next job is getting them figured by a pro. While it’s not the most efficient approach, it’s almost certain to be the most instructive. Once I’ve had a chance to make a direct comparison between the two, I’ll have a much better feel for whether or not I should continue tackling our taxes going forward.

As it turns out, this is a particularly tough year tax-wise, as our income was split between two different states, and we had to deal with moving expenses, deductions relating to two different houses, and our first year of substantial self-employment income. Thus, I’d welcome the opportunity to have a second set of eyes look things over.

With that said, lets get to Money Poll #25…


As always, I invite you to share details in the comments section.

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10 Responses to “Money Poll #25: Tax Preparation”

  1. Anonymous

    Our company cpa does my personal taxes for free every year. I used to do it myself but he found so much that I missed! I will always use a pro now.

  2. Anonymous

    I did my own this year. While they were mildly complicated (one W2, a bunch of Int/div 1099s, a K-1, Lifetime Learning Credit, Energy Credit) at least the personal taxes have a booklet of instructions. The instructions might not be clear, and you might have to read them six times to figure them out, but they exist.

    I have a (tiny so far) side business set up as an LLC. It has to file a 1065, and send K-1’s to the partners. Since our total profit last year wasn’t enough to pay an accountant, we spent a while doing it ourselves. The instructions are a total of four pages (one large sheet of paper folded in half, printed on both sides). I guess the IRS doesn’t expect a business to try the DIY route.

  3. Anonymous

    I use H&R Block Online for the federal return, but only because the IRS won’t let individual taxpayers e-file directly. The Illinois and Indiana state returns I’m doing manually (because they WILL let taxpayers e-file without going through a preparer). (Yeah, I suppose I could install tax-prep software, but then I’d have to pollute one of my computers with a Microsoft OS…and frankly I’d rather pay H&R Block.)

    I’ve been doing my own taxes since I was 14 years old…I see no reason to stop now. (I do use an accountant to file my corporate taxes, but that’s because I’m not as familiar with the fairly wide variety of jurisdictional issues involved in those. But personal taxes are just a matter of filling out and submitting the correct forms.)

    I’ve thought of setting up a service with the IRS specifically to provide e-filing services for people like me who don’t want or need their hand held by a professional preparer, but rather just need to e-file their own forms.

  4. Anonymous

    I am hardcore paper and pencil. We have simple taxes most years. But this year I did use the PDF fill-in-able forms available from the IRS. The forms don’t do any math for you, though.

  5. Anonymous

    I’ll be doing my own taxes again this year. After a few years with TurboTax, I switched to TaxCut and have been quite happy.

    Our tax situation is pretty vanilla though, 1-2 W2 jobs with a modest amount of self-employment income. No tricky capital gains situations to date or stock options. If I were to get into a more complex tax situation, I would probably do what you are doing with software on my own and the use of a professional.

    That would at least shed some light on how well I am doing on my own as compared to a professional.

  6. Anonymous

    Tinyhands, I solved that problem by getting my girlfriend a larger ring than she would have expected. That’s the advantage of having a fairly heirloom, though. Now we just have a larger insurance bill to keep it covered…

  7. Anonymous

    I’m an avowed turbotaxer, at least until my finances become more difficult. I may still ask my girlfriend, a professional tax accountant, to look them over. Only problem with that is that then she’ll know what size ring to expect. 🙂

  8. Anonymous

    I’m doing the same as you. I’m not sure I’m doing my taxes properly in TaxAct, so I’m gonna schedule a time to take my stuff in to H&R Block. I’ve never gone to one of them before, so it’ll be a new thing.

    However, by doing the taxes myself, I should know everything I need to take in.

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