April 12, 2006

TurboTax.

After all these years, I finally caved in to using tax software. I really can't explain my past resistance. Was it the money? Was it some sense of control I felt handling the paper forms? Was it the prediction that typing in all the numbers would be a lot of trouble, offsetting all the efficiencies gained? Was it a fear that the software would crash and malfunction? I really can't say. But this year, things looked to be complicated enough and stressful enough that I finally bought TurboTax.

Bottom line: It was way easier.

32 comments:

Mark the Pundit said...

Perhaps you resisted because you felt solidarity with your tax-attorney friends?

Brendan said...

Hell, I give you credit just for doing your own taxes. And yes, all blogging expenses are valid deductions. :-)

John Jenkins said...

If you can do it with tax software, you didn't *need* a tax lawyer.

Ann Althouse said...

I've always done all my own work.

Ann Althouse said...

Blogging expenses: there aren't that many, really. Blogger is free.

DennisThePeasant said...

You should have called me...

I would have given you my "Friend O' Roger" discount.

Mark Daniels said...

I've been using it for about thirteen years now and love it! Because clergy taxes are so complicated, I find TurboTax particularly helpful.

Mark Daniels said...

PS: They didn't even pay me for that testimonial either.

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Dennis!

Ann Althouse said...

TurboTax needs to buy a BlogAd, which I would then have to pay taxes on.

Word verification: lvqizm. You know what it means!

SteveR said...

We used it for the first time last year and loved it. Because my wife got into the real estate business we used an accountant this year, in no small part because we could afford to.

I always tackled the job before even under relatively complicated scenarios, even though my wife has an accounting degree. I think it was stubborn determination to defeat the task, I considered it a male mindset, not unlike driving around lost until you conquer the map rather than stop and ask directions (admitting defeat).

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sean said...

I started using Turbo Tax a few years ago, mostly because taxes had gotten so computationally complicated. All those phaseouts, which I kept messing up. Maybe law professors aren't in the income ranges where everything (deductions, personal exemptions, allowable passive losses etc.) phases out?

But be careful. Turbo Tax is no where near as smart as a law school graduate. A few years ago, it malfunctioned for me when (i) I had passive losses from an active rental activity which were allowed because I had passive income from other activities and (ii) I was subject to AMT. The software disallowed the passive losses for AMT purposes, which would have been correct if they had been allowed because I was under the relevant income ceiling, but was incorrect when they were allowed to offset other passive income. (In other words, these particular passive losses were allowed for both regular tax and AMT purposes, but the software got it wrong.) Fortunately, I realized the mistake and overrode the software manually, which you can do.

This spring, I have been billing at 2350 hours annualized, so I decided to hire an accountant rather than give up 10 hours of weekend time.

Ricardo said...

A few years ago, friends dragged me kicking and screaming into TaxAct for doing the individual return. It was an absolute delight, and I can't imagine ever going back to the pencil and paper and calculator approach. Plus they prompt you will all kinds of suggestions and tips as you go along. And since all the data is stored at their site, even the meltdown of your own computer can't impact your taxes. All this for $7.95 a year! When it works well, the electronic age is fantastic.

Dave said...

What's even easier is outsourcing the preparation to a cpa, having my refund in hand two months ago, and having made 10% on my refund in the stock market--in my IRA, nonetheless!

downtownlad said...

Accountants are the way to go. All you do is lump the stuff in their laps and then your refund magically appears three weeks later.

Bee said...

I have a friend who uses an accountant. She also doesn't reconcile her checkbook every month. Me, I like knowing what all the inputs and outputs are--what every line means, in both taxes and bank statements. It certainly can be time consuming, but I'd rather be informed about such things...

TWM said...

Taxcut is excellent as well.

MadisonMan said...

I normally spend a weekend in early February doing my taxes, and the refund shows up several weeks later. I still mail everything. Hopeless Luddite.

Our problem is we spend the refund six different times, it seems.

Every year I think "I'll ask for TurboTax for Christmas". And then every year I forget to.

Tom T. said...

I'm a big fan of tax software, but I have to admit that the first time I used TurboTax, it told me that I should expect a $31 billion refund. Of course, that result was ultimately traced to operator error...

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh no no no no no. It's better to pay an accountant.

That way when the IRS comes after you, you've got some recourse.

It's easier to use an accountant as an excuse, than say it was the software's fault.

Nobody'll believe a software malfunction. But crooked Arthur Andersen accountant doing your taxes....you can get away with murder!

Peace, Maxine

Goesh said...

I may go that route too - I heard on NPR this morning that more and more people are using it and there are fewer errors found...

Slocum said...

I normally spend a weekend in early February doing my taxes, and the refund shows up several weeks later. I still mail everything. Hopeless Luddite.

I've been using tax software for 10 years at least, but I still mail everything too. Why on earth would I pay to file electronically? Not having to key in the data saves the IRS money--when they're ready to pay me to file electronically (or at least provide the service for free), I'll be happy to do it, but not before. (I usually have to pay in rather than get a refund, so I'm in no hurry).

Ann Althouse said...

Slocum: Yes, I resent having to pay to file electronically, but it saved me a LOT of time (and some postage).

As to using the on-line service, I still bought the disk and kept everything in my computer. Something about the sense of control.

Der Hahn said...

I've been using TurboTax for years. You'll appreciate it even more next year, Ann, when you don't have to re-enter all the prior year information.

My taxes aren't difficult but I *hate* filing out forms by hand. That alone is worth the cost of the software, and hopefully avoiding any mistakes in computations.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

I hire an accountant to do my taxes because I make enough money that I can afford an accountant. Besides, I make so much money that I need an accountant anyway to keep track of all the money I make, because I make so much money. So it makes sense to have the accountant do my taxes too, and use the time I save to go out and spend even more money, which I can afford because I make a lot of money.

PatCA said...

I have used the Turbo Tax version online for a fee for the last five years. It's updated every year. Maybe I should buy the software, I don't know. My taxes are complicated but always the same, so I figured why pay an accountant every year when I do the heavy work of getting all the info together? I've saved about $1200-1500 in fees.

So far, so good. No midnight raps on the door from any G Men.

rafinlay said...

I gave up on accountants more than 30 years ago when I went to one with a tax question. He pulled down the reference book, and said something that didn't make sense to me, so I read it and explained it to him. For this, he charged me $20. Took all the mystique out of CPAdom.

I used TurboTax (online) for the first time this year and while I grimaced at the cost, it justified enough savings to pay for itself.

I COULD have just used it to work out the issues, then filled out the forms myself without paying them, but just didn't have the chutzpah.

Also tried out H&R block; TurboTax was easier to use and more complete.

jeff said...

I used TurboTax back in 98 or 99. I've used Taxcut ever since. It does what I need it to do.

I'd despair of ever doing all that stuff with paper and pen.

Paul said...

I've used it a long time and wait till next year when it fills the mundane in for you, if you use it again. It's worth the price just for that!
I went electronic filing a few years but really resented the deduction. So far, using the mail, no problems and takes 3 - 4 weeks.
Next year, you'll have a house sale to deal with, it handled my several fine.

me said...

www.taxslayer.com rocks if you aren't doing anything too complicated -- $9.95 to file state and federal returns.

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