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Your Take: How Will You File Your Taxes?

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When it comes to preparing and filing your taxes, there are a variety of options. You can prepare your taxes electronically with software like TurboTax and efile for a few dollars. You can prepare you taxes on paper, double check with software like TurboTax, and then mail in your return (for those keeping track at home, this basically means you prepare your taxes twice). You can work with an accountant, either at an independent CPA firm or one associated with one of the tax preparers, which still gives you the option of efiling or mailing in your return. Whatever method you choose, the only rule is that you file by April 15th (or April 18th this year).

How will you be filing your taxes and why?

{ 45 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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45 Responses to “Your Take: How Will You File Your Taxes?”

  1. Josh Levine says:

    Free file. Accountants don’t know everything. If you have anything out of the ordinary on your return, do your own research on IRS.gov

    • Strebkr says:

      This works for some people, but have you seen the sheer size of the US tax code. Even CPAs can be intimidated by it.

      • billsnider says:

        If you want to control and understand your costs, you have to do the research. You should not add to your costs by hiring someone to do something you can do yourself.

        Bill Snider

        • cubiclegeoff says:

          Smart people know that sometimes, it’s best to have an expert do the work. It’s about how much your time is worth and knowing when someone else would be better to do it.

          That said, my taxes aren’t complicated so I do my own.

  2. cubiclegeoff says:

    I use TaxAct (free federal filing), although they’re currently telling me that I’m not eligible for a tax credit that I’m 100% positive that I am. Unfortunately they don’t have much in terms of customer service or support.

    So if that doesn’t work, I may send in a hard copy, or possibly use another program, although I’d hate to pay for filing.

    • billsnider says:

      I tried TaxAct this year since their federal and state software is $5.00 cheaper than TaxCut (HR Block At Home).

      There was nothing special about it otherwise. they are all the same. If one has an advantage one year, the others will have it the next. It is vetry competitive.

      Bill Snider

  3. Frugal says:

    Turbotax / Tax Act – efile all the way

  4. camu says:

    TaxACT is my friend! :)

  5. SoonerNATX says:

    first time doing my own taxes.
    E-file using turbo tax
    it seemed alright although i was surprised i was going to get a refund. i used the IRS’ calculator on their website to determine the amount of taxes i will need to pay and setup my witholdings according to their recommendations… and still ended up over paying.
    oh well, straight into the new car fund you go.

  6. Shirley says:

    I have been using TaxACT since 2000 and it hasn’t failed me yet.

    • Strebkr says:

      A friend of mine found an error in the Ohio return. He spent some time on the phone with customer service and they agreed that he found a problem. They gave him a refund and two days later the problem was updated across all their software. Its not fool proof, but its pretty darn good.

      • billsnider says:

        I did my taxes around 21, but have not files as yet. I hold out till late March in case there are situations such as this.

        Bill Snider

        • billsnider says:

          sorry – 21 should have been 2/1. I have to go to typing school with my refund.

          Bill Snider

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      It didn’t fail me until this year. Now trying to deal with how to fix it so I can file.

      • cubiclegeoff says:

        Also, always check your forms. As I’m dealing with TaxAct not including a credit I’m eligible for, I was using a different way to fill in the forms and found that TaxAct actually had my required tax lower than it actually was. I’m sure that wouldn’t have been good.

  7. HedgeHoncho says:

    1040EZ baby. I don’t have any incentive to itemize at the moment.

  8. DoubleD says:

    E-file with Turbotax.

  9. Jared says:

    I’m a DIY kind of guy, almost masochistically so.

    In the past I’ve used TurboTax and e-filed with relative ease. Being the anal retentive guy I am, I have a homemade spreadsheet that checks all the software’s math. I don’t just inherently trust their numbers–I have to understand every step of the process.

    But even my patience has been tested this year due to a new IRS ruling that says Domestic Partners in a Community Property state (like California) now must split certain types of income on their tax returns. That means that we have to submit Single returns, yet most of the income and deduction amounts will be adjusted and will not line up with IRS forms. Even worse, the IRS has been slow to publish guidance on what exactly they’re requiring, despite the fact that this procedure is now mandatory for 2010 returns.

    For now, I have everything figured out in my spreadsheet (after much ado) and have put the adjusted numbers into TurboTax. From there, I’ll print & mail the returns and include an adjustment worksheet. I’m still waiting for the IRS to publish its final guidance before I send though.

  10. Katrin says:

    After doing it by hand a couple years, we finally went to TurboTax (E-file) and we are never looking back! It’s great! And also has 24hr customer support. :)

  11. freeby50 says:

    Our taxes are very complex so we have a CPA do it. We have multiple rental properties, stock sales, an HSA and other stuff.

  12. Anthony says:

    I’ve been using TurboTax online for years and I love the convenience. I completed everything at the end of January and filed it a week or two later. My state and federal have already been approved. I really like how they keep track of previous year filings and that lets them help detect errors and omissions. They even do a side by side comparison between this year and last so you can double check at a glance.

  13. Dave says:

    Tax Act is great – I switched from Turbotax about 10 years ago and I couldn’t be happier. This year, it was great that they auto-sent my return as soon as the IRS opened the floodgates for returns with itemized deductions and I got confirmation that my return was approved the next day.

  14. skylog says:

    h and r bloack at home software. return done and refund already received. i have been using this software for years and it has been great.

  15. javi says:

    efile with Turbotax last month. I got my refund already and don’t have to worry about it now.

  16. Sarah in Alaska says:

    By hand with PDF forms.

    1) I don’t have internet at home and have tried downloading several programs at the library with great frustration; 2)I’m too cheap to pay for e-filing services/software.

  17. elloo says:

    I have used the same accountant to prepare my tax returns for years and pay him a lot do them. Last year, I wanted to see if TurboTax could do just as well and save me from paying hundreds of dollars to my CPA. So as a test, I just did the federal part using TurboTax. I completed each section very carefully, and the result was I would have to pay the feds about $1700. Then, I had my accountant prepare my federal tax return, and he determined that I was entitled to a refund of $1500. Guess which one I’m using this year?

  18. dcw says:

    Been using TurboTax since at least 1997. eFiling for the last several years. I don’t like the $20 to eFile the state, but I pay it anyway.

  19. Glenn Lasher says:

    Already done.

    I paid a small local tax prep shop. The preparer was very friendly and helpful, and it cost me maybe a third of what I would have paid at H+R Block.

    Getting price quotes from the different tax prep shops, though, was a real challenge. I ended up telling one right out that if they didn’t give me a number, I wouldn’t darken their doorstep. They didn’t, and I didn’t. That’s no way to do business.

    • Strebkr says:

      There are some really good local shops like this all over the place. H&R Block is all about volume and they might not have the best trained people.

    • Glenn,

      There is a very simple reason behind the preparers inability to provide you with a solid fee price. Nobody has a flat fee, as most are based upon either the complexity of a return (ie: number of additional schedules), or an hourly rate. Did you tell them exactly what forms and documents you would be using to file? If not, it would be fairly impossible to give an accurate quote over the phone. There is no “menu board” when it comes to professional services, which is why many offer free consultations–in order to determine what the job will entail and to give a ball-park range on costs. So, it’s not necessarily that they don’t know how to do business, but it’s simply a difficult task to shop that kind of service over the phone.

  20. The new tax accountant (unlike the tax lawyer who heretofore has done my returns) will prepare my taxes for electronic filing. That will be my choice this year — especially after the neighborhood association reported that people’s mail is getting stolen by thieves looking for tax documents with Social Security numbers.

    I can’t even BEGIN to understand the tax code. There really is no choice but to hire an expert to do this stuff. I see the accountant’s fee as just another tax. A tax on top of the tax.

  21. James says:

    I like to use HR Block’s At Home tax software. I made the switch from TurboTax a few years ago since it’s cheaper than TurboTax. It is just as easy to use and I haven’t missed any features from making the switch.

  22. daenyll says:

    TurboTax with the free e-file, just annoyed by the delay.

  23. eric says:

    I think I’m sticking to doing it by myself again this year. I’m still seeking an awesome CPA but haven’t found one yet in my area.

  24. Ryan says:

    V and I just did our taxes today with the TurboTax system. It was much more straightforward than trying to figure out everything all over again. With the yearly evolving tax code and the new house, we were surprised to learn of some things that we didn’t think of last year (charitable contributions and personal property tax deductions). Oh well, sometimes I don’t feel bad letting Uncle Sam keep some money seeing as they are so extremely efficient at using it (sarcasm, obviously).

  25. thunderthighs says:

    Turbotax! It almost makes doing my taxes fun.


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