41 answers

Do You Do Your Own Taxes?

Do you do your own or go somewhere? My husband and I have always gone to H&R Block, but I can't stomach paying over $200 for 30 minutes of work! I did ours last year with my dad sitting beside me, and it was simple! I started ours again this year, and I like that I can see how much I am getting back and what we should change for next year. So I'm just curious what more people do?

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I wish I could do my taxes myself. But, with numbers and formulas, even if it's a program it still confuses me.

For the last several years, I've used a certain CPA, but shes more expensive the more you have. And now w/ a house and a child it's to expensive for me.

I'm switching this year, to a different CPA who is cheaper and who will look for more tax benefits for me. My daycare provider uses him and hes a good friend of theirs. It's a flat fee of 85$ and I can definately afford that!

1 mom found this helpful

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i always did ours and was happy with the results - i used turbotax.com. i also refused to pay $200. ridiculous! BUT then a friend recommended a husband/wife cpa team who did it out of their house for $50 a pop. he almost doubled our tax return. i will never do ours again! no matter what the websites claim, they can't explain ALL the tax laws and loopholes to you. he was amazing. i would recommend asking around your friends and family. good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

We did our own taxes until the "special" situations piled up: House, baby, school loan...Ever since then, we have had our taxes done by a local provider. We do not use the big box places like H&R. I just feel like you are an insignificant number to them. 10 yrs ago, we got charged about $90 and last year it was $120-something. I kinda cringe when I hafta write that check but I remind myself I am buying not just my tax filing but peace of mind.

Two years ago, we got a letter from the IRS saying we had not filed $76,000 worth of income and owed the IRS $35,000. Yikes! Of course, there was no way we forgot about such a large sum so we contacted our tax guy and he looked over the letter and helped us craft our response. The IRS followed up by quickly dropping us from the case and moving on to the company that had incorrectly filed a contract employee's earnings under my DH's SSN. I smelled a smidgen of identify theft there but the point is, after 10 yrs of watching how simple our tax filing is, we COULD do it ourselves but boy were we glad we didn't!

2 moms found this helpful

When all is said and done, it's still the taxpayer's responsibility to make sure he/she pays all that's due and that he receives all credits available to her/him.
IF you include all your income, (and you'd be surprised at what the IRS considers income), and it's all entered correctly, it's virtually impossible for you or a paid preparer to make a calculation error. That being said, if you go to a paid preparer and they enter numbers incorrectly, (transpose numbers, get the Social Securites numbers wrong, enter the right number on the wrong line) the penalties and interest are the responsibility of the paid preparer. That should be stated in any contract you would sign for services. If you enter the numbers incorrectly, the penalties and interest are on your shoulders. With a paid preparer there should be 3 reviews BEFORE it is ever sent to the IRS. Those reviews would be performed by the preparer him or herself, the CPA that owns the preperation service, and then the corporate office of the preperation service. If the tax prep service does not offer these services, you are not getting value for your dollars spent on preperation.
There are certain entries that can alert the IRS to chose your return for an audit. If that should happen, you'd better be extremely certain of exactly why you entered what you did and be able to prove with documentation the validity of your numbers. Paid preparers are educated in this and are REQUIRED by the IRS to answer what are called "Due Diligence" questions, concerning these issues.
When using a paid preparer that is open year round, you always have access to your tax return, and all the forms that go with it, (there is a 5-page form that is just for the EIC credit, a 2-page form for the child tax credit, etc, nothing is simple with the IRS). Let's face it, for a variety of reasons, many of our filing systems are...um...lacking....
There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing your own tax prep and most of us are intelligent enough to do so if we just study up a bit. Just make sure you have all the documentation to back up whatever you claim so that if you get audited, all will be well.
In response to the mom who said you could take your return to have Liberty go over it for free, that's true....but that will only include making sure your numbers are correct. It will not include questions that would otherwise be asked if they were actually preparing your return. There would be no guarantee that you were using the most advantageous filing status or had claimed all the credits you were entitled to. That would be like going to a dr or attorney for a consultation and expecting their educated advice for free.
In the county I live in the county offices will prepare your state return for free.

1 mom found this helpful

We paid someone to do ours years ago and he ended up being a crook that was wanted in 4 states. It ended up costing us thousands of dollars. For years we've done our own taxes using Tax Cut or TurboTax. Now we know we're doing our taxes correctly (and legally).

1 mom found this helpful

We use Turbo Tax and love it! It is so much better than spending the money to have them done! Word to the wise, Liberty Tax will go over the tax claim before you actually file to make sure it is right. Just print it off and take it to them to go over! Where I live, there is no charge for this. I'm not sure if you have a Liberty Tax where you live, but maybe H&R Block does the same. It is worth a call to them to at least ask the question. I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I have a degree in accounting but am not a CPA. I've been doing my own taxes and those of my mom and grandpa for years, first by hand and then using tax software. I started with Kiplinger's TaxCut primarily because it's cheaper than TurboTax, and I've never been disappointed. However, the tax code is complex, changes constantly, and if you have any kind of complications (rental property, self employed, sold a house, own stocks and bonds that you've sold, joint custody of child, etc.) I would go to a paid preparer first. Get them to do a set of your taxes one year, and then you can use their documents as a guide for doing them yourself next year. I would caution you about using the H&R Block and Liberty type services. I'm on the PTA board at my son's school and we used our local H&R Block. They actually made mistakes on our PTA returns that could have cost us big time. This year we paid $750 to have them straightened out. The primary reason for mistakes is that, although they use tax software just like you can buy, the folks filling out the forms are just like you, not a tax professional/CPA. They get some training, but typically do not study accounting and tax law and are almost never CPAs. Best bet is to spend the cash to have an independent CPA (or a CPA firm) do them one year, and then copy what they did the next year using tax software. If your situation changes from year to year, be extra careful, or go back to them periodically for a "refresher" set of returns to copy. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I went to H&R block once, and a personal tax guy once. All they do is enter the information into a computer program. Well I can do that!
So for the last 8 years or so I've been doing it myself through www.taxact.com. Very easy and can be Free depending on your needs. Even if you need the deluxe addition like me its less then $20 and I always get my refund deposited into my account in 10 days! No need for H&R's expensive loan!

1 mom found this helpful

we use turbo tax and I work for a CPA, so if something is weird, she takes a look at it for me.

1 mom found this helpful

We use turbo tax online. It is easy and we always get a good return.

1 mom found this helpful

I have always done our own taxes, our are pretty simple! No reason to pay someone too. If you own a business, or something that would cause it to be more tricky then I would pay otherwise it isn't very hard to do yourself as you have learned.

1 mom found this helpful

I've always used Turbotax, with the exception of one year when they were a little more complicated. That year the accountant charged us about $500! So, now I try to figure things out on my own even if they are more complicated, and I learn a lot in the process! It has saved us a ton of money over the years.

1 mom found this helpful

I wish I could do my taxes myself. But, with numbers and formulas, even if it's a program it still confuses me.

For the last several years, I've used a certain CPA, but shes more expensive the more you have. And now w/ a house and a child it's to expensive for me.

I'm switching this year, to a different CPA who is cheaper and who will look for more tax benefits for me. My daycare provider uses him and hes a good friend of theirs. It's a flat fee of 85$ and I can definately afford that!

1 mom found this helpful

I have done them online at turbotax.com in the past. It's free to do your federal return and $30 for state.

1 mom found this helpful

I use turbo tax premier. I prefer doing it myself and have been for years. I began with 1040 ez and I took a H&R tax class when I needed to know more about business writeoffs. We save money by doing this and I will feel better knowing that it's done right.

1 mom found this helpful

We did our own when we were single, and when everything was simple (no kids, no reasons not to take the standard deductions, etc). But now that we are not such simple filers (by no means are we really really complicated, however, but kids, mortgage deductions, FSA's, retirement contributions, IRAs, etc... lol), we have it done by a CPA. We do not use H&R Block or another service like that though, we go to a regular CPA. It costs us less than $175 to have it done, and if there are ever complications or issues down the road, we know that we have the SAME PREPARER that KNOWS us and our history right there to deal with it.

The first year we were married, we moved across the state line from a state that has no income tax to one that does. We both worked in the former state, even though we were residing in the other (commuted across the state line to work). One employer deducted the state income tax for our residential state, one didn't. Hubby took our paperwork to HRBlock and they did it. Then they called and said it was wrong to come back in. Then re-did it. Then called again... it was a little scary. We went to a regular CPA the next time and had them look over what was done the previous year and have stayed with them ever since.

Oh.. we also are one of those families that is almost caught in AMT every year... so it is nice to have someone make sure we don't screw that up. lol
Also, with our income, some of the child credit is not fully available to us.. we only get a PARTIAL credit... so it can get confusing.

1 mom found this helpful

If your are going to use H&R, it is my experience that you are better off just using Turbo Tax yourself. It seems that they pretty much just walk through a similar software program themselves. If you do decide to pay someone, I would suggest going to an accountant who actually reviews everything and can make suggestions to you, etc. If you are worried about doing it yourself or want to see if it is worth paying, you could buy Turbo Tax, do them yourself and then go get them done as well. It could be a little "wasted" money this year but then you would for sure know which way you wanted to go from here on out.

1 mom found this helpful

We got to a tax accountant. She only charges $45.

I agree- Turbo Tax- this is the way we do it.

I use the H & R computer program at home. One year my husband and I were both mistakenly claiming 3 on Fed (BIG MISTAKE- we had only 1 kiddo at the time -- ugh!) and we OWED BIG TIME. We had a hard time stomaching it and took the taxes to H & R block to have them re-check. Came up with the same stinkin number...they plug in the same info to similar screens that you can get on your own through their computer or internet based program (and it is LOTS cheaper). If you do not have super complex finances, I think it is fine to use a computer program and do it yourself. I would only do the straight forms (without the program) if you were not itemizing, didn't have any kids, investments, etc. Otherwise you are likely to miss something. Good luck!

I am looking for an independent CPA team. The CPA that I have been using is no longer doing taxes. I would prefer someone in the Shawnee Mission area, or Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Merriam. Also someone that has been in this type of business for awhile. Any sugeestions would be great. Thanks

I started doing my own taxes when I was 16. I miss those days of the 10 minute return.

One year I had a frined who was a CPA help me as there were a few new things I needed to learn about, I bought her a nice dinner.

Three years ago I used a local firm. Long story, but it turned out to be a nightware. The valuable lesson learned, I should have done more research on the firm and stuck with my gut feeling when they were preparing my return.

The last 2 years, I've used turbo tax software to prepare my own.

Of course when preparing your own taxes, a lot depends on your personal financial situation. If I had some complicated issues, like being self employed or had rental properties, I would find a good tax accountant.

I would also be very cautious when using H&R block or similar type companies. Some of their employees are very knowledgeable, but others not so much, so it depends on who you get. I work as a bookkeeper and prepare lots of W2's and various 1099's. I've had H&R employees call and ask me questions. I had no idea that they charged so much. I could understand for a complicated return, of course that would take more than 30 minutes.l

The last 2 years, I've used turbo tax software.

TurboTax. It eliminates mathematical errors and dums down the lingo for us. They're not terribly expensive either and I get my return back quick.

Updated

TurboTax. It eliminates mathematical errors and dums down the lingo for us. They're not terribly expensive either and I get my return back quick.

YES! We always do our own taxes. My husband uses that Taxcut (I think that's the one) software and it's practically fool proof. My dad just had to pay almost $2,000 because his tax person made a mistake. A lot of people that I know that have someone else do their taxes almost always end up finding mistakes.

Unless you have a lot of capital... vacation houses and boats and sports cars and various accounts bringing in various dividends, etc... it's probably pretty easy to do your own with Turbo Tax. We do our own taxes with Turbo Tax and I also have my own business, which we also do with Turbo Tax business and home software. It makes it so incredibly easy... you just have to make sure you have to right answers to the questions... good record keeping solves that problem... and zippo - taxes done. :) Good luck!

BTW~ This is what my accountant sister (who used to run an H&R Block office) recommended we do! :) save where you can!

We use Turbo Tax online and it's a piece of cake. The earlier you do it the cheaper it is - it's usually best and cheapest to get it done before the end of February. Normally it costs $49.95 for the Deluxe version, which is what we have to use, but right now it is on sale for $29.95. You can get an even better deal if you have AAA - $22.45 (if you're a AAA member you just go to their website and do a search for Turbo Tax). Our credit union also has a link to Turbo Tax from their website and if we do it that way we would get a discounted price of $26.95.

We use TurboTax as well. Hubby does them. It works even if you have not so straight forward tax issues. We sold some stocks this year and made some other investments. Hubby's already gone through it and we'll be able to do it on our own again this year.

We use TurboTax online every year. I own a home and have lots of deductions and it is easy to do. TurboTax walks your through every step. I think the one I use costs about $40.

go to statefarm.com and get the free version of turbotax. I was chained to H&R Block for 10 years before I realized I could do it for free myself with TurboTax. I did electronic deposit, so, I had the money in around 10 days I think. I wouldn't go to H&R Block again unless it were a dire emergency that I get the money in 24 hours.

I've always done our myself. Back when it was simple I'd use the paperwork. Now that we have a lot more deductions and kids and all of that I go and buy Turbo Tax and still do it myself. Costco has it for a really good price, especially when the coupon books comes around beginning of the year. I enter everything in as it arrives in the mail, you can skip all around before finalizing it. I then take one day where I go line by line to make sure I didn't miss any mistakes or entries and submit it that day. My mom comes over to entertain the kids that day and keep them out of my way. Once you've used it more than one year you have all your past returns on your computer and it simply refers back to them for any information that is needed.
Turbo Tax is brilliant!

I did mine for years on H&R Block online. Last year I was having trouble with their website and out of total frustration I used Turbotax online. It was very simple to navigate and I ended up getting a larger refund then I would have at Block's.

Unless your taxes are super complicated (business, self-employment) I would do it yourself. You still have to pay with online companies but it's far less than going to someone.

I've done ours for years. My view is that generally you can do as well as a tax professional if your taxes aren't super complicated.

I do my own taxes every year and use turbotax usually to get everything calculated right. I think the only way I would pay someone to do my taxes is if I had overly complicated taxes (i.e. I had a high number of assets and funds to report) then I can't justify paying 200 either. That's usually almost half of my refund!

I do my own and I own rental property and have had a few businesses over the years. I must confess I do have an accounting degree and there are some things you may not know by doing it on your own but I also understand those tax programs can be a great help too.

There have been quite a few of my friends that have had their taxes done wrong by preparers at H & R Block which ended up costing them a whole lot of money in penalties and interest. I just say know enough for yourself to be able to discern if someone is doing it right or wrong.

Unless it is a complicated return, most likely you can do it yourself with the tax programs. I've been using TaxActOnline for a long time, and it is free (unless you want the deluxe program).

http://www.taxactonline.com/

One suggestion... if you DO use the online or computer programs, be sure to PRINT OUT a hard copy. This way you always have a copy available if your computer crashes. I keep all of the 1099 forms and w-2 forms in a file folder with a copy of the return for easy access.

I have always done my own, by hand. I don't trust someone else doing my taxes. I set up a simple spreadsheet using excel to do the calculations. Gathering all the forms seems like the hardest part. A few years we had some unusual things to report, but I was able to figure it out. One time I called the IRS to find out how to report something.

We use Turbo Tax and do our own at home - it is so simple and they walk you through all the steps - they even have the forms and stuff that you need - plus you can save the file on your computer and don't have to have a ton of records....plus they save your info for the next year so you don't have to input everything again and it will remind you of things you did before....we had some complicated taxes after moving and having three different states to account for - we did it super fast and then even checked out if it would be better for us to file jointly or separately. We decided to file jointly, but it is easy for any one to figure this out on their own with Turbo Tax's help. I could never bring myself to let someone else do this for me...and you don't even have to leave home! Good luck!!

I did my own taxes for years, even after I got married, then we moved to NY and things got complicated (having to do with the state taxes coupled with hubby's 3 jobs!) so we started using an "enrolled agent". An Enrolled Agent, is a Federally authorized tax professional who has expertise in the field of taxation and is licensed by the United States Treasury Department to represent taxpayers before all administrative levels of the IRS. They are suppose to be better than a CPA and I find her fees are much more reasonable.

If you don't own a home or have a ton of deductibles it is easy! You can go online and pay about $10 and they save your info year to year. We have used TaxSlayer for years. We started using it years ago when the Marine Corps was doing our taxes. They used it themselves. So I figured if they can just enter our info from our W-2s with no experience, why can't we? It was nice not to stand in line for hours too, lol. It's free for military but only $10 for others. They store our info year to year as well. Just fill in all your info and they do ALL the calculations and credits for you! I've heard there's new tax credits coming into effect January 16th so you may want to wait until then, and verify that fact on the IRS web site. www.irs.gov.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

We've done our before and it was fine. But now we use our communities free services and get them done by someone that knows all about it for free! You can look it up or call your information for your state and see where they offer these services.

Turbo Tax online - it's awesome!!

I used to use H&R Block, but for the past two years I have had to file an amended claim because their system missed some deductions. I will be using TurboTax this year, I have never heard anything bad about them. I wouldn't recommend going to H&R Block, especially in my area of Manassas, VA, I know some of the people that have worked there personally and they mess up their own taxes every year and owe the IRS a lot of money. So in my opinion, I wouldn't use them.

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