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Old 03-25-2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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So yeah I've been putting this crap off til now cause I'm lazy and know I won't get much back if anything.

We usually go to this one lady and she charges 60 bux.

This year I'm thinking I want to do my taxes online using one of the many sites/programs out there right now.

Anyone know of some REALLY good ones? I want something simple so I don't have to sit there for hours trying to figure out WTF I'm doing.

Only one I know of is Turbotax which seems decent, but I know the UBER geeks in here know of all the coolest **** EVAR.

So lets hear it

Thanx in advance
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:19 AM   #2
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I've used the H&R Block Tax Cut applet off their website for the last several years. Its pretty cheap, think filing costs an everything cost me $40 last year. Pretty simple to use and H&R claims they'll stand behind your return if you get audited..
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:27 AM   #3
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Since I'm single and only working one job, my taxes are pretty straightforward. I've been using Tax Slayer for a few years, it was free for federal and $5 for state filing. They have advanced parts of their system (Extreme Edition) that cost more to use, but for basic tax prep, there's no reason to. Looks like this year it's still $5 for state, but $10 for Federal. Also says something about "paying only when satisfied", don't know what that's all about. Guess I'll find out when I file. I owe for the first time ever this year so I've been putting it off. lol
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:33 AM   #4
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Working one job and being single... I just do my own.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:35 AM   #5
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TurboTax, web app. There's supposed to be some decent free web tax apps, but TurboTax pulls in my previous year's info automatically and I'm familiar with the format, so I'm okay with spending $40 or whatever for convenience's sake.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:38 AM   #6
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We go see someone (father-in-law's accountant), and it's really worth it.

I'm sure I could do it myself, but the deductions I'd miss out on + my time + having someone to stand behind it = making it worth it.

He only charges us $75, and our returns always impress us (we claim zero at work, so pay a LOT in, but get some of it back).

Married, both work full time, and I wouldn't trust that much money to a simple error I could make. That and I HATE funding our current government spending trends, so we bring in everything we can possibly deduct, and still get pissed about the percentage we pay in...
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elesjuan View Post
I've used the H&R Block Tax Cut applet off their website for the last several years. Its pretty cheap, think filing costs an everything cost me $40 last year. Pretty simple to use and H&R claims they'll stand behind your return if you get audited..
This.

And if you use it again next year you won't have to input most of the basic info because it will import everything from the previous year. I still don't enjoy it...
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:49 AM   #8
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Turbo tax
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:07 AM   #9
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so the common ones are Turbo Tax, Tax Slayer, and H&R block?

Cool thanx
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
TurboTax, web app. There's supposed to be some decent free web tax apps, but TurboTax pulls in my previous year's info automatically and I'm familiar with the format, so I'm okay with spending $40 or whatever for convenience's sake.
This. I've used it for several years now and it's so easy. It is a bit cheaper than my previous preparer, plus I don't have to take off work and drive all of the way there. It's almost an hour each way. Sucks when you live in smallville.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:31 PM   #11
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I've been using either TurboTax or the H&R Product since '99. They're ok if you're completely new to the task, but this year I just got fed up with the software, and did it all manually using the PDF forms available at IRS.gov.

Frankly, I found it easier. The tax-prep software packages, IMO, add a level of abstraction above the actual forms that is just distracting and pointless. They try to separate you from the actual IRS forms to such an extent that, if you have even the faintest idea how the forms work and are trying, in your head, to project how the data you enter into the software is going to be translated into them, it's just plain confusing.

H&R, for instance, wanted me to break up all of my business travel expenses into a dozen or so different categories. Well, I know for a fact that on Schedule C they all get summed together into just a couple of cells, and I'd already formatted all my spreadsheets (expense records) into this format. I'd computed the IRS per-diem rate for all travel days (rather than computing actual meal & incidental expenses), grouped airfare, cab fare, subway fare, rental cars, etc., all together, etc. I sure as hell wasn't going to break it all back apart again just to satisfy this stupid software.

My return for TY09 consisted of of the following:

Form 1040
Schedule B
Schedule C
Schedule D
Schedule D1 (two copies)
Schedule SE (section B: long form)
Form 2210 (part 3: short form)

When I started into it, I figured it was going to be a pretty gargantuan task. Truthfully, it was clearer and easier than using the various software packages.


After I was done (and nearly had a heart attack at line 74 of the 1040) I made an appointment to see an H&R Block specialist to have my work reviewed. We chatted for a while, looked over what I'd done, and the guy basically told me that it was perfect and that he was surprised I'd even bothered coming in, as I didn't need their services. Didn't even charge me for the visit. I was really hoping he'd find something I missed, but no.

Honestly, it's just not that hard. All you need is this document: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf

That's the full instructions for form 1040. Don't try to read it all at once, just start at step 1 and work thought it line by line as you do the actual 1040 itself. When you come to a line that needs input from another schedule, branch off and do that one. The instructions for Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, J, M and SE, along with all the worksheets and tables, are also in the document I linked to, and it's got pretty clear instructions on the top of each on whether or not you need to do them in your particular situation.
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Old 03-25-2010, 12:50 PM   #12
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I've always just filled out a hard copy using the booklet. It's really not as hard as most people make it out to be. Of course I don't have a lot of complex stuff to fill out, just the basics.This year I did them myself, but then my mom insisted I bring my stuff to her tax guy and let him do it. I finally gave in, and it cost me $50 and he didn't find anything that I didn't already, so it was a waste of $50. I will continue doing it myself in 15 minutes, put a stamp on it and send it in. Never had an issue in the 8-10 years I have filed.

The one time I did e-file about 5 years ago, I used TurboTax, and it took 5 times as long, was much more complicated, and my return still took like 2 months.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I've been using either TurboTax or the H&R Product since '99. They're ok if you're completely new to the task, but this year I just got fed up with the software, and did it all manually using the PDF forms available at IRS.gov.

Frankly, I found it easier. The tax-prep software packages, IMO, add a level of abstraction above the actual forms that is just distracting and pointless. They try to separate you from the actual IRS forms to such an extent that, if you have even the faintest idea how the forms work and are trying, in your head, to project how the data you enter into the software is going to be translated into them, it's just plain confusing.

H&R, for instance, wanted me to break up all of my business travel expenses into a dozen or so different categories. Well, I know for a fact that on Schedule C they all get summed together into just a couple of cells, and I'd already formatted all my spreadsheets (expense records) into this format. I'd computed the IRS per-diem rate for all travel days (rather than computing actual meal & incidental expenses), grouped airfare, cab fare, subway fare, rental cars, etc., all together, etc. I sure as hell wasn't going to break it all back apart again just to satisfy this stupid software.

My return for TY09 consisted of of the following:

Form 1040
Schedule B
Schedule C
Schedule D
Schedule D1 (two copies)
Schedule SE (section B: long form)
Form 2210 (part 3: short form)

When I started into it, I figured it was going to be a pretty gargantuan task. Truthfully, it was clearer and easier than using the various software packages.


After I was done (and nearly had a heart attack at line 74 of the 1040) I made an appointment to see an H&R Block specialist to have my work reviewed. We chatted for a while, looked over what I'd done, and the guy basically told me that it was perfect and that he was surprised I'd even bothered coming in, as I didn't need their services. Didn't even charge me for the visit. I was really hoping he'd find something I missed, but no.

Honestly, it's just not that hard. All you need is this document: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf

That's the full instructions for form 1040. Don't try to read it all at once, just start at step 1 and work thought it line by line as you do the actual 1040 itself. When you come to a line that needs input from another schedule, branch off and do that one. The instructions for Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, J, M and SE, along with all the worksheets and tables, are also in the document I linked to, and it's got pretty clear instructions on the top of each on whether or not you need to do them in your particular situation.
Wow, I will definitely give the forms a shot. planb would be the online apps. planc would be go to the tax woman. Its amazing how everything starts to make sense when you explain it to me in english instead of that bullshit jargon the tax people use
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:56 PM   #14
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Its amazing how everything starts to make sense when you explain it to me in english instead of that bullshit jargon the tax people use
And that's the thing that's really amazing. If you actually read the instructions provided by the IRS, they are, in fact, in plain English! They tell you, in simple terms, how to determine when things like a Wash Sale have occurred, how to compute per diem, how depreciation works, the difference between cash and accrual accounting, the Mark-to-Market election, etc. It's all there.

Yes, the instructions are 175 pages in length, and they're dense. The key is to just go one step at a time, starting at Line 1 and then, when instructed, jumping to other sections as appropriate. Remember the old "Choose your own Adventure" books we read as kids? The 1040 Instructions Book works exactly the same way. Some are GOTOs, others are GOSUBs, but it's the same fundamental idea.
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:12 PM   #15
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If you go to a retail center preparer they often use the same or similar software and just sit there and ask you the questions that pop up on the screen. Joe's right, and I've done it that way, but I'm fine with using the software. I've done it all three ways. I'm just sticking with "Tax Cut" by H&R Block out of convenience.
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