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How do you do your taxes?

Do you hire someone to do them? Do you do them yourself? What software do you buy? How much does it cost? Is it hard? I always had an accountant do my taxes but last year she charged $400. Does that seem steep? Could I do it myself for less?

by Anonymousreply 63March 30, 2023 1:03 PM

I do my own with IRS recommended EFile. It’s certainly inexpensive and helps if you’re math challenged as I am. I got my refunds back within three weeks. I’m retired and have SS, a few savings accounts, and IRAs withdrawal. Just have to remember to input your info.

by Anonymousreply 1March 26, 2023 5:35 AM

H & R Block....doing my taxes for many years.

by Anonymousreply 2March 26, 2023 5:37 AM

I used H&R Block software for around 10 years, but I finally gave it up this year. It's overpriced and clunky, and hasn't had a good update in years. And they charge you extra to e-file your state return.

I used FreeTaxUSA for the first time this year, and it was very easy. Free for Federal and $15 for state. No income limitations like many of the IRS FreeFile options have.

I'm also a volunteer tax preparer; we use TaxSlayer, and it's also a decent product. If you're hesitant about doing it on your own, there are volunteer sites (VITA and TaxAide) that will do your return for free (although it's a bit late in the season and it may be difficult to get an appointment.) VITA is mainly for lower-income people, but TaxAide doesn't doesn't have income limits--just issue limits.)

AARP also offers a program where someone will meet with you on Google Meet and help you to prepare your return using software. You don't need to be an AARP member, and there are no age or income limitations.

by Anonymousreply 3March 26, 2023 4:52 PM

Rates are usually reflective of how complicated your taxes are for your accountant to do.

I have a simple return for a full time job and part time job, both in the state I live in. It's pretty cut-and-dry, I take the standard exemption and usually owe a little money to the Feds and a refund from the state. My accountant charges $250.

A friend of mine lives in one state, but works in another - that right there costs her more from her accountant. She owns rental vacation property, she has multiple investments, itemized deductions, etc. She pays $400 to her accountant.

by Anonymousreply 4March 26, 2023 5:11 PM

I've been happy with TurboTax for a long time. I like that they keep all my records so that I can carry over most of the same info from year to year. They file and I usually get any refund due in a week to 10 days 🙂

by Anonymousreply 5March 26, 2023 5:17 PM

A good Tax accountant is worth every penny to me.

by Anonymousreply 6March 26, 2023 5:24 PM

I used to do my own but inevitably surrendered to hiring an accountant. . . since I've begun doing side hustles more frequently in the last decade.

You can save doing it yourself but if you're neither tech nor numbers savvy, stick with what you're comfortable with. It's a bit late in the season for an old dog to pick up new tricks. But you might be buy the software just to play with or a few DIY books and explore if it's something you want to try do next year.

by Anonymousreply 7March 26, 2023 5:31 PM

TurboTax is good enough for our blend of W-2, 1099, mortgage, student loan and investment tax forms.

by Anonymousreply 8March 26, 2023 5:37 PM

AARP provides free tax preparation and you don't have to be a member. During Covid it wasn't available. One year I paid H&R Block $375. Another year, Jackson Hewitt, $290.

by Anonymousreply 9March 26, 2023 5:45 PM

R9 here. Forgot to mention, AARP has In Person Service. Visited a public library with four preparers. Return is checked by supervisor, then E-Filed.

by Anonymousreply 10March 26, 2023 5:50 PM

My retirement account is something I just don't fully understand. I get the broad outlines. But during the course of a tax year, sales of one stock, purchases of another, and other issues put the prospect of comparing a tax return way above my pay grade.

I sign a piece of paper that lets my financial adviser talk to the tax person. Let them sort it out, and tell me how much I owe. It's worth every penny to me.

by Anonymousreply 11March 26, 2023 5:50 PM

I use the IRS's Free File offering.

It's easy to select a vendor using their "Help Me Choose" option.

by Anonymousreply 12March 26, 2023 5:54 PM

For someone pretty basic I don’t see paying a tax preparer $250 when you can just use software that walks you through it and allows you to file Federal for free and state for under $20. It’s super easy. The H&R Block guy is essentially doing the same thing for you.

My problem was that for 5 years or so the IRS would not accept my return by e-file, and I tried several different software programs. I had to mail my taxes in like in olden times and wait 6 months for the refund. Miraculously I was able to e-file this year like everyone else does.

by Anonymousreply 13March 26, 2023 6:15 PM

The law firm I use is quite large with multiple divisions that handle all my work. Their legal division does all my legal work, their finance & accounting division does all my tax work (personal and business), and their property management division manages my rental properties.

by Anonymousreply 14March 26, 2023 6:26 PM

We have an accountant but a lot of prep work happens on my end before giving them the paperwork. I own a small businesses and several properties so it's complicated.

by Anonymousreply 15March 26, 2023 6:31 PM

What's your retainer, r14?

by Anonymousreply 16March 26, 2023 6:32 PM

[quote]AARP provides free tax preparation and you don't have to be a member. During Covid it wasn't available.

Possibly not in your area, but I've worked as a AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteer every year sine 2018. We shut down early in 2020 due to COVID, but we had different, limited-contact service options the past two years. This year (at least in my area), we're back to full in-person service.

by Anonymousreply 17March 26, 2023 6:33 PM

One reason to avoid H&R Block and TurboTax -- they spend MILLIONS lobbying Congress to prevent the IRS from offering cheaper or free filing options, and to keep the tax law so complicated that it's pretty much mandatory to use a software program. And they rip you off by low-balling their prices then charging you extra for add-ons every time you add another schedule.

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 18March 26, 2023 6:35 PM

Unless there's something particularly tricky or uncommon, I use Turbotax for federal. I'm not at a stage of my life where I have difficult taxes. I don't pay the add-on fee for state taxes on Turbotax because it's not worth it. I file state taxes online through the state's website.

by Anonymousreply 19March 26, 2023 6:36 PM

Also a turbotax user here. i like how they interface digitally to other sites for my W2 and cap gains. Also mine is not a straightforward as I work in another state.

by Anonymousreply 20March 26, 2023 6:40 PM

Check it out:

Offsite Link
by Anonymousreply 21March 26, 2023 6:42 PM

CPA. Pointless to do it myself.

by Anonymousreply 22March 26, 2023 6:48 PM

Free File has income limitations, unfortunately. (Thanks to the TurboTax lobbying efforts.)

by Anonymousreply 23March 26, 2023 6:48 PM

I don't do them myself since I'd probably get it wrong and be arrested. Although, they'd have to drag me screaming "What about Trump?!"

by Anonymousreply 24March 26, 2023 6:48 PM

If you have basic income, like W-2s, 1099s from interest, dividends, or a pension or IRA distribution, Social Security, etc., your tax return will be very simple to prepare. Very few people are able to itemize their deductions on the Federal return anymore (fewer than 10% did in 2020) due to the huge increase in the standard deduction back in 2017.

As long as you don't have something a bit more complicated like self-employment, rental income, crypto, or a lot of stock sales, you can probably easily do your return yourself. Again, consider that AARP Tax-Aide coaching option mentioned above. They will send you a link to a free software option and talk you through preparing and e-filing your return yourself. No charge, and you'll learn something.

by Anonymousreply 25March 26, 2023 6:52 PM

[quote] What's your retainer,

I have no retainer with them. The property management service they provide is billed at 10% of the rental amounts per month for my 2 properties (just under $1000.00/mo), The legal and tax work is on-call work and billed by the hour.

by Anonymousreply 26March 26, 2023 6:52 PM

I use a tax haven to avoid tax

by Anonymousreply 27March 26, 2023 7:10 PM

I don't really know, I have people that handle this for me

by Anonymousreply 28March 26, 2023 7:13 PM

Most people can do their own taxes. It's not very difficult. I've only used a prpeparer when I had complicated finances (living outsde the country, renting a property in the US) and wanted a 3rd party to take responsibility.

by Anonymousreply 29March 26, 2023 7:31 PM

Just finished my state and Federal taxes with TurboTax. 34 minutes from start to finished all E-Filed 🙂

by Anonymousreply 30March 26, 2023 8:12 PM

Speaking of taxes, I shall pass along some advice my accountant gave to me years ago and I have always followed...

You should never, ever qualify for a 'big tax return' at the end of the year. You should always have to owe the IRS in April - preferably $500 or less.

If you're one of the tax payers who gets thousands of dollars in a refund in April, then you are doing something wrong. Why is the Federal Government keeping this money on you when you can be using it yourself throughout the year ? And they're not giving you any interest on it ? That's why you want to OWE THEM - sit on their money for a year and then give it to them April 15, (I try to keep mine below $200 - this year I owed the Feds $9).

by Anonymousreply 31March 26, 2023 11:17 PM

[quote]As long as you don't have something a bit more complicated like self-employment, rental income, crypto, or a lot of stock sales, you can probably easily do your return yourself.

I have a lot of self-employment side hustles like Instacart, Door Dash, OnlyFans, JustForFans, Chaturbate, Lyft, UberEats, etc. Would TurboTax be able to handle that or do I need an in-person accountant?

by Anonymousreply 32March 26, 2023 11:31 PM

[quote]You should never, ever qualify for a 'big tax return' at the end of the year. You should always have to owe the IRS in April - preferably $500 or less.

A return is what you file. What you get back is a refund.

by Anonymousreply 33March 26, 2023 11:31 PM

r32 Any software program can handle that, but you need to be organized and have all of your expenses figured out. Mileage (divided between the first six months and the last six months), any other expenses related to your work, etc.

by Anonymousreply 34March 26, 2023 11:32 PM

[quote]Most people can do their own taxes.

Yes, ever since Trump made it so we could all do it on a postcard, as he promised in his winning presidential campaign.

by Anonymousreply 35March 26, 2023 11:37 PM

Like r25 said, fewer than 25% of taxpayers itemize deductions now. So why do so many people pay to have their taxes? Most of them don't have capital gains to calculate.

by Anonymousreply 36March 26, 2023 11:45 PM

I haven't done my own taxes for more than 40 years and I never would. I pay an accountant that I'm paying anyway for assorted other things. I sign the return. I write the check. Done.

by Anonymousreply 37March 26, 2023 11:46 PM

[quote]How do you do your taxes?

In the buff

by Anonymousreply 38March 26, 2023 11:48 PM

I file for free using commercial tax software (Turbo Tax) routed through the IRS website. Without the IRS, Turbo Tax wanted $50 for a simple Federal filing.

by Anonymousreply 39March 26, 2023 11:51 PM

R38 - Did you up short?

by Anonymousreply 40March 26, 2023 11:52 PM

TurboTax free filing. Pay $0.

The standard deduction is better than an itemized for us. We do not own.

My husband didn’t believe me and insisted we did TurboTax our first year which I obliged. Now he sees how he was wasting money all these years.

by Anonymousreply 41March 26, 2023 11:55 PM

[quote]Like [R25] said, fewer than 25% of taxpayers itemize deductions now.

Fewer than TEN PERCENT.

by Anonymousreply 42March 26, 2023 11:58 PM

“Only the little people pay taxes”.

by Anonymousreply 43March 27, 2023 12:02 AM

Don't you have tax taken off your income before you get it over there?

by Anonymousreply 44March 27, 2023 12:04 AM

I have never completed a tax return, but I live in the UK where the Inland Revenue operate a very simple and efficient system. Mistakes are corrected very quickly.

The first £12,500 ($15,300) of earnings are tax free as is the first $1,200 of bank interest. No health co-pays to claim tax relief on either.

by Anonymousreply 45March 27, 2023 12:04 AM

[quote]Mistakes are corrected very quickly.

The IRS can take years to notify taxpayers of mistakes and it tacks on huge interest fees as a result.

by Anonymousreply 46March 27, 2023 12:12 AM

[quote]Don't you have tax taken off your income before you get it over there?

We have taxes WITHHELD, but we have to file a tax return to reconcile what was withheld and what we actually owe. And taxes aren't withheld from things like interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.

by Anonymousreply 47March 27, 2023 12:19 AM

[quote] So why do so many people pay to have their taxes done?

R36 The average American has the reading level of an eighth grader (and that’s old data; it’s probably lower than that now). Imagine how low the average American’s math skills are.

by Anonymousreply 48March 27, 2023 12:23 AM

“We don’t pay taxes.”

by Anonymousreply 49March 27, 2023 12:26 AM

After I inherited, my taxes became too complicated for me to do myself. For me it's worth it to use an accountant and not have to think about them. I'm paying an him anyway, may as well use him.

by Anonymousreply 50March 27, 2023 12:32 AM

You can also invest £20,000 a year (roughly £1,000,000 over a working lifetime) in a tax free ISA account (cash or stocks/shares) in the UK.

Unless you have complex investments outside of a pension and savings, the Inland Revenue don't trouble you. You wouldn't need a tax accountant.

by Anonymousreply 51March 27, 2023 12:53 AM

R49, Such wit.

by Anonymousreply 52March 27, 2023 1:26 AM

Accountant. I couldn’t possibly do them myself- Much too complicated with so many moving parts and for the last 20 years in 2 states plus Federal.

by Anonymousreply 53March 27, 2023 2:24 AM

R41 - Turbo Tax and Tax Act both (at least now) charge to actually file. It's free to prepare your return. They charge about $50 for Federal; I don't know if that would include state. And that's without online aid or bonus features. The De-Luxe runs close to $200.

by Anonymousreply 54March 27, 2023 12:55 PM

WHO gets a refund?! Seriously- I don't know anyone who gets one.

by Anonymousreply 55March 27, 2023 11:58 PM

If you are retired and drawing Social Security, be aware this is taxable income and you better be sending the IRS your quarterly tax payments.

by Anonymousreply 56March 28, 2023 12:04 AM

I use FreeTaxUSA. It's guides you through the form by asking questions, etc. but it is free to file the Federal form. It also makes you fill out the state form but you have to pay to file that through them, so I usually go to my state (Illinois) site and enter it myself. However, last year, I was lazy and just paid the $11 bucks to have the Illinois form sent electronically.

by Anonymousreply 57March 28, 2023 12:23 AM

[quote] If you are retired and drawing Social Security, be aware this is taxable income and you better be sending the IRS your quarterly tax payments.

Paying taxes on money returned to you from when it was taken as an earlier tax is simply farcical.

by Anonymousreply 58March 28, 2023 3:59 AM

[quote]If you are retired and drawing Social Security, be aware this is taxable income and you better be sending the IRS your quarterly tax payments.

1. Social Security is taxable only if you have a certain amount of other income. For many people, none of it is taxable.

2. There's no reason to make quarterly payments. If your SS is taxable, or if you have other income on which withholding is not possible, you can request to have Federal income tax (but not state) withheld from your monthly SS check. Much simpler than quarterly payments.

by Anonymousreply 59March 28, 2023 4:04 AM

what abt medicaid

by Anonymousreply 60March 30, 2023 3:00 AM

What about it?

by Anonymousreply 61March 30, 2023 3:16 AM

I stopped using H&R Block when I found a flaw in their software. I went into the office and its "tax specialist" was someone who probably worked at Target outside of tax season. Since then I have only used a CPA.

by Anonymousreply 62March 30, 2023 3:35 AM

H&R stands for homeless and retards, the pools from which they do their seasonal hiring. I wouldn't let them do my taxes for free.

by Anonymousreply 63March 30, 2023 1:03 PM
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