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Turbo Tax vs. doing by hand

 
 
chai2
 
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 10:13 am
True confession time. All these years I've still been doing my taxes by hand.

Boy, am I glad I have been.

This year we had little taxable income, due to the fact Wally's VA disability is not taxable. In fact, for the first time our taxable income was below the level where any taxes would be paid.

All we had in the taxable income category was his Social Security, dividends, some part time work I did, and a little self employment income. Actually, NONE of his Social Security would be taxable, as the rest of the income total was low enough. Even when I was working full time, for years now only a small percentage of his SS was taxable. We do have taxes withheld on his SS for a bit of a refund. This year we would get back all of the approx. $850 paid into SS.

When applying to healthcare.gov in 2013, for 2014, I was overestimated what I was going to earn. I thought I'd keep at least a part time job through the year. I changed my mind and only earned enough to put us over the poverty line, so I wouldn't have to pay the entire premium. I didn't realize/remember until the end of the year to tell healthcare.gov of my lower income status, so paid January-November $155 in premiums, when I should have been paying zero. So, I would get back that $1705 overpayment.

So, as usual, I did it all out on paper, coming out with a the total refund of $1705 plus the $850 on his Social Security. I've adjusted it so this years premiums are zero, so this is a windfall.

Yes, my numbers are all correct.

I got curious, and saw on the IRS website I could file for free now. Went through all the steps, and it comes up with a $1400 refund. WTF? I look back and can see that it totally disregarded that the Social Security was not going to be taxable, and did not make an adjustment for some qualified dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate than regular dividends.

My observation is, how many people would have just filled this out online, as they had been for years, and been screwed out of over $1,100?

I know I should be getting about $2500 back, so I'm sending mine in by hand again. I don't think I'll trust the big computer in the sky.

If you do your taxes electronically, do you also do them by hand to make sure the numbers jive?





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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 2,016 • Replies: 10
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Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 02:36 pm
How did you learn to do your taxes?

Did you sort of just figure it out from the Pub 17?

I took a course, but I have gotten out of practice and can now basically only do my own taxes (which I do by hand).

It would be nice to know what the best reference was for anything you could ever want to know about the 1040.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 03:50 pm
@chai2,
I am curious.

I don't know what you mean by "saw on the IRS website I could file for free now". Is there now a connection between TurboTax and the IRS? Or are you using the term "TurboTax" as a general term for letting the IRS calculate your tax for you.

I always use an automated tax program that I pay about $20 for. I am pretty confident that it is correct.

I do check over the final result to make sure it makes sense to me. There are a couple of things in my taxes that are a little more tricky than normal that I pay special attention to. I haven't found any mistakes.

When I was going through a divorce, there were a couple of ways to do taxes including filling "jointly" or "separately" and classifying payments as child-support or marital support. The great thing about the software is it lets you try it many different ways quickly to see which got the biggest refund without having to fill in the form more than once.



0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 04:52 pm
@Kolyo,
Kolyo wrote:

How did you learn to do your taxes?

Did you sort of just figure it out from the Pub 17?

I took a course, but I have gotten out of practice and can now basically only do my own taxes (which I do by hand).

It would be nice to know what the best reference was for anything you could ever want to know about the 1040.


I've always done my own taxes. I got my bach. in business, but my associates in accounting. While in junior college I worked for an accountant, and he handed off about 70% of the tax returns for me to do. I remember thinking it was funny that some 18 or 19 year old girl knew more about taxes and was processing peoples returns. Most people returns are so easy, I have no earthly idea why they don't just do their own.

As my finances became more complicated I just learned what to do with the situations. It's not rocket science. I'm just a numbers person I guess. I do my own stock research and trading too. I subscribe to a website that has the tools I need for researching and picking stocks.For that I started by taking a weekend seminar, then did my own reading and education.

max, when I said I went on the IRS website and saw I could have my taxes done for free, I meant that for the first time my taxable income fell under an income limit, I and could file for free. The IRS can link you to several websites and I chose Turbo Tax because it seems to be the most well known. See irs website link below.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Free-File:-Do-Your-Federal-Taxes-for-Free

Instead, I'll just use their free fillable forms with my information.
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 05:25 pm
@chai2,
We have a tax attorney do our taxes. She was a friend of my parents so she only charges $350.00 to do them.

Just today I mailed off the tax payment. Sons of bitches!
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 05:32 pm
@jcboy,
Next year you'll have that adoption credit for 2 to look forward to!

jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Apr, 2015 05:38 pm
@chai2,
That's true! We still have three rentals in Florida, we may dump them this year if we get the right price, of course then you have to pay capital gains.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Apr, 2015 11:02 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:


If you do your taxes electronically, do you also do them by hand to make sure the numbers jive?


No. My spirit animal during tax season is the glorious ostrich. If I did my taxes by hand and calculator, I'd probably be compelled to jump off of the Brooklyn Bridge. I literally finished my taxes less then 5 minutes ago. I will only be getting $2 back from my Federal return..( ̵˃﹏˂̵ )
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 09:51 am
@chai2,
Quote:
Most people returns are so easy, I have no earthly idea why they don't just do their own.


People are afraid when they hear the word taxes. The damn easy form is so easy my middle school daughter could do it without any questions.

I always do my own taxes - other than the few years when my husband had a business - we then sent to my father in law who is a small business CPA.

Now I do it myself - you can still file electronically - there is a free filer form (or something like that) you input all the data yourself and submit electronically. It isn't a software package so you do need to know what the various tax rules are -- but it is simple to use. There is no income level that qualifies you to use it for free.

It is called something like freefiler or something like that.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 11:07 am
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:


Now I do it myself - you can still file electronically - there is a free filer form (or something like that) you input all the data yourself and submit electronically. It isn't a software package so you do need to know what the various tax rules are -- but it is simple to use. There is no income level that qualifies you to use it for free.

It is called something like freefiler or something like that.


I went onto the IRS website and the link below free software is one for getting fillable forms in pdf. You can click on a "do the math" button to have it add/subtract.

I just put my numbers in there. I'll print it out and mail it in. I'm in no rush.

The filing electronically for free software was the one that included Wallys Social Security as taxable, even though it's not. I guess the software never heard of the worksheet to determine if any of those benefits are taxable when compared to the rest of your income. It's the one that if I just believed it I would have gotten $1100 less than I know I should.

I just had someone who stained my concrete patio and driveway come by the house and give me an estimate for some more work. She said it'll be between $600 and $1000 depending on what she finds when she gets in there. It's a way fair price. THAT's where that $1100 they said I didn't have coming to me is going.

Seriously linkat, I wonder how many people who simply have their jobs, no home, standard deduction and exemptions go out and pay good money to have someone do something than is no harder than adding up a few numbers and looking at a chart.

Personally, I think that's embarrassing.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Apr, 2015 11:48 am
@chai2,
My best friend has a doctorate degree. She is very very intelligent. Now granted when she first started working she only had a bachelor degree, but still obviously she is a smart girl. Her first job she told me she brought her taxes to HR Block or some other walkin tax place. I scolded her all she was doing was the easy form - she could have done the tax her first time in less than 15 minutes if she just read the instructions. I even laughed as the blocks to put in the numbers are so huge the form reminded me of something you could get for home work in grade school.

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