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Your Take: Professional Tax Preparation or a Box?

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I’ve been working full time for five years now and have used TurboTax for the last four (I did it by hand the first year, I have no idea why!). I’ve never walked into a tax preparation store like an H&R Block or a Jackson Hewitt but my friends have and walked away with experiences that hardly warranted the $300 fees they paid. On one hand, my tax situation had been fairly simple for the last four years. Single income (one year I had two W-2s but that’s hardly rare), standard deduction, twenty minutes in TurboTax and I was done. I went to an itemized deduction two years ago because of the mortgage interest but that hardly registered. Two years ago I even added on a Schedule C for income generated from side ventures, again that wasn’t much of a curveball for TurboTax. I don’t have a complicated situation… why would I pay $300 for someone to ask the same questions a box would ask?

What’s your take on tax preparation? Worth it? Not worth it?

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26 Responses to “Your Take: Professional Tax Preparation or a Box?”

  1. Stephanie says:

    The value and peace of mind that is offered by having someone else prepare your taxes, is not easily replaced with saving some money preparing your own taxes! I manage a busy Tax Preperation office in Springfield Illinois, Tax Partners we use a tax software called TaxWise. Although we do offer the bank products we also offer a service with out the bank products, the only requirement is that you pay the $75.00 preperation and E-filing fee before we send the return. You would be suprised how many of our customers simply do not care what the bank will charge them to get the money fast, only how fast can they receive the money. I have gone thru the H&R classes and learned how to prepare the taxes by hand (a great way to learn by the way), i also have had extensive training provided by my software company and i can honestly say I would still have my taxes prepared using any company that will stand behind their services. In our office if a return is audited or a deduction denied we still pay the penalties and intrest of our customers, just like the big name tax prep places only we dont charge extra for this service!
    I recently was out of town and my aunt asked me to help her prepare my fathers taxes using the box software, (he lives on disability and retirement) the box asked if he had retired early and by answering the question as it was asked the software incorrectly figured his taxes, giving him a extra six hundred dollars on his return! Something he would not have been able to afford to pay back on his limited income!
    I have seen alot of clients come in after using a box software, to have me ammend (correct) their taxes, some clients even getting as much as $5000.00 back in missed deductions! So for the difference in what the box cost to paying $75 dollars to have them proffesionally prepared by someone who has had training in how to handle taxes, I would strongly recommend spending the extra $30 bucks and have it done for me!
    Always ask your preparer what the least expensive way to file is! A straight Electronic filing of your taxes still can get your money directly deposited in as few as 8-16 days! I would consider that a rapid refund! No matter what company you go with! Taxes are Taxes one company cant get (legally) anymore of a return for you than any other company make sure your prepared with all your personal tax information! Definaltly ask questions and mention any concerns or Idea’s you might have about your taxes! So many people dont realize they can itemize and save a bundle!


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