Tax time topics

As 2019 comes to a close, it will soon be time for planning to get those evil taxes done. This is as good of a thread as any for people to discuss that topic, I guess.

Let me start of by offering my best tip for Canadians: Unless your taxes are very complicated, in which case you’re likely paying an accountant or other tax preparer, you CAN do it yourself for free. StudioTax has worked well for me now for a decade or so. No need to add the to the financial burden of paying taxes by paying for the software to file them. It supports free online filing.
https://www.studiotax.com/

Does anyone know if there is free software for American tax filers?

I have used Turbo tax for about 10 years now. Much, much cheaper than going to H&R Block.

There may be cheaper software, but I like howbit pulls so much info from the program if you used the program the previous year.

IRS.gov lists some free options for doing & filing taxes.

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I’m SO done with Turbo Tax. You want a picture-perfect example of why lobbying has absolutely no place in government? https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-turbotax-20-year-fight-to-stop-americans-from-filing-their-taxes-for-free

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Wow an interesting read!

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I guarentee ANY service that does taxes was lobbying against such a change in the tax code. It is their business. Despite it being harmful to society as a whole, of course they would be lobbying against that.

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Yes, and not just tax service companies. I would say that any company that provides a product or service that the government can influence is most likely doing some pretty heavy lobbying, in their own interest. Banks, auto makers, technology firms, and on and on and on…

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I have used both TurboTax and H&R Block Tax software, have been happy with both. Especially compared with doing it by QuattroPro spreadsheet. I’m using H&R Block Tax software again this year, mostly due to cost (have a coupon as a repeat customer) and familiarity with the interface. But for tax planning, at least for California residents, I absolutely love the tax planning spreadsheets available for free from this site: http://www.taxvisor.com/taxes/

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I use the H&R Block software. Been using it for years. Tried TurboTax, but felt that the H&R Block software was more intuitive to use.

Now, don’t get me started on the fact that I need to pay a fee to file my taxes. And by fee, I mean the efile fee (granted it is now included in cost). I don’t object to paying for software, but the fact that I need to pay a fee to the government really bothers me. Plus I need to pay extra to efile my state taxes. Unfortunately, my local state no longer offers another option.

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A link from the discussion in This Week In Tech


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My wife does the taxes and has used TurboTax for years. I doubt that she will stop since it can import last years taxes into this years with a click and can do the state taxes while there with little effort.
Convenience is a big factor, and the IRS free file is not that convenient. Looks like you have to print and mail it in so far, as I did not see anything about e-file on the site yet. They should update the site this month, but no idea if the free e-file system will ready or stable for this years taxes.

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Free E-File has been available for years for ever… Is just that Intuit and the like hid it. but if your taxes are complex at all then the Free File version won’t work for you.

1040EZ only I believe.

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Not “ANY.” I’ve been a CPA for over 35 years. I didn’t lobby for that. I hate taxes. The whole structure sucks. 95% of the tax code is social engineering not revenue raising. I wish the whole tax system was thrown out so that I no longer had to charge people for preparing their tax returns.

Over 13% of my tax prep revenue goes to the tax software (not Intuit) I use to prepare individual, corporate, partnership, and trust tax returns.

P.S. No, I won’t answer any tax questions.

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The issue with free e-file is that you have to qualify for it. I don’t. Before the software included efile in the cost, I would print and mail my returns so as not to have to pay to file my taxes. Yet, I would love a system where I could use software to prepare my taxes, and then just upload a file to the IRS for no additional charge. Maybe these changes will allow for this.

Now P_J, a question about my withholdings…

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Okay…final comment (maybe). Just some advice. Especially if you are self-employed. It does not take a very high level of income to where your marginal tax rate (Fed income, Self-employment, State income) approaches 45%. Don’t do your own taxes. The tax code is disgustingly complex. Pay a professional. You’ll save taxes > than fee charged.

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I can attest to this, I started using a professional about 10 years ago when my income became more complex with Self Proprietor, LLC, Rental Income etc.

I used turbo tax like always and it said I had to pay 3K! I almost passed out, at the time I was utterly broke (poor decisions) and had never saved a penny for taxes.

I went and paid a professional who got it down from 3K to a few hundred dollars… have never looked back, each year I do Turbo Tax just to compare and every year without fail they have saved me thousands!

And no they don’t cut corners or do anything shady (I’ve been audited and was all fine) but you know what you know and well I don’t know TAX LAW!

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