January 29, 2013

Tax.

You might want to buy Turbo Tax and minimize the pain. I know some people think the pain should be felt and the outrage kept ever raw. I used to do my taxes without even using a calculator. No more.

ADDED: I downloaded Turbo Tax and got part way into the process, which includes chatty notes "celebrating" the discovery of exemptions and photos of specific human beings —"Juan M." — smiling as if they are smiling at me and helping me.

44 comments:

Bob R said...

Death and Taxes. Gonna be a fun day.

Expat(ish) said...

Pay an accountant. Seriously, I did my taxes for years and years using paper and TurboTax and it was fine. But my time is worth more than that to me.

Get a good reputable local firm with at least a dozen CPA's on staff - they'll have expertise in everything that way and you'll be protected from turnover.

Plus if anything ever happens you have someone experienced with a personal interest in straightening it out. And big CPA firms carry a lot of insurance.

Well worth the money.

-XC

vet66 said...

For a little more than the cost of TurboTax I use a CPA. There is no way any of us can figure out the tax code. To make it worse, the updates are going to be constant. Good luck to us all. At least those of us who actually pay taxes and are vilified for having the temerity to be employed.

rhhardin said...

The trouble starts when Turbo Tax decides to decide something wrong for a case they've decided not to cover correctly.

Then you've got all this time invested in a form that you can't complete.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

As a business owner, I believe no taxes whatever should be deducted from wages or salaries, but that instead everyone be required to send the IRS a check every quarter (on pain of an IRS lien against their bank account).

rhhardin said...

I used to program every return, following the instructions on the return that turned out to be necessary, so that in the end if I made a change to any number, the whole thing recomputed itself.

That was the time-saving part.

Then the instructions themselves went off onto worksheets after worksheets, and the hell with it.

mark said...

An estimated 6 billion hours will be spent on complying with the IRS. And the cost of doing all this mess is somewhere between $300 and $500 billion dollars.

Here's a great idea: let's make the IRS in charge of making sure everyone has health insurance too.

Patrick said...

I was just going to have Tim Geithner do my taxes this year.

mark said...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...
everyone be required to send the IRS a check every quarter


That is similar to the first year of income taxes.

No one complied and it almost killed income tax the first year.

Bob R said...

I'd prefer that everyone had to send it all in one check per year - some time in October.

AllenS said...

Geithner was unable to figure out the complexities of Turbo Tax. What makes you think that we can?

Bob R said...

Actually, I am in favor of making the income tax unconstitutional again and replacing it with a national sales tax. The time spent keeping records and doing calculations is bad, but the fact that we have to give all that personal information to anyone, let alone the government, is worse.

AllenS said...

My friend, Nick does my taxes for $20. He uses Turbo Tax. Geithner he ain't.

CWJ said...

I still do my taxes by hand (and calculator). I make a first pass in a 1040EZ. Fashion, and then I get to work on the real thing. For me, this has two benefits. One purely psychological. I compare the two tax bills at the end of the process and divide by the time it took me to prepare the forms. For me, that's the value of putting in the effort to do the work, and its usually the best hourly rate I've ever earned.

The more important benefit is by getting my hands dirty, I understand the tax consequences of my behaviour and financial decisions in a far more actionable way than just seeing the final result.

Marshal said...

Bob R said...
Actually, I am in favor of making the income tax unconstitutional again and replacing it with a national sales tax.


This is a good idea. But it will never happen because the Dems can't exempt their voters.

rehajm said...

The tax code is an embarrassing abomination. The economic waste of tax compliance is the equivalent of Krugman's alien invasion preparation, and it's not helping.

southcentralpa said...

Just remember, unless you've the inside track to become the next Secretary of the Treasury, use of TurboTax will not get you out of criminal liability for tax evasion ...

Shouting Thomas said...

i'm getting a nice return which will give me some more time to sit home and work on two new CDs.

One, half original and half standard blues.

Two, hymns and sacred music.

If I never go back to programming and sitting in a cube, I don't care.

Social Security kicks in soon. In a year and a half, same with the pension. House will be paid off in nine months.

Freedom!

Freeman Hunt said...

I use TurboTax. I used to use an accountant, but the accountant just asked the same questions as TurboTax. I figued I didn't need to hire someone to click the mouse on his in house tax computer program.

Will Cate said...

I've used Turbo Tax for years, but I especially like the fact that it's now 100% cloud-based -- so software to install, or data files to keep track of.

Scott M said...

(insert obligatory derisive, but relevant Tim Geitner tax comment here)

Leland said...

Wife did the taxes with the online TurboTax. She discovered we are now rich, so all our financial worries are now over and gone, like our refund.

cryptical said...

Intuit has problems with gun owners, some folks think they should be boycotted.

http://www.saysuncle.com/2013/01/25/stepping-intuit/

Big Mike said...

Turbo Tax must be really hard. Remember how much trouble Geithner had using it?

Freeman Hunt said...

TurboTax will make you angry though. When you see how the tax code works, how things affect other things, all the special interests written in there, you can't help but get a bit peeved.

Paul Zrimsek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Lets just make sure Tim Geithner downloads Turbo Tax.

Pete said...

You do your own taxes, Althouse, and I'll be my own attorney.

Edgehopper said...

I can get plenty angry at the IRS using TurboTax. When I discovered last year that I effectively didn't get the full deduction for NY state and local taxes last year because it put me into the AMT bracket, I was very pissed off.

bridgecross said...

TaxAct.com beats Turbo Tax.

Andrew Koenig said...

If you're considering Turbo Tax, some financial institutions offer discounts for depositors.

I Callahan said...

Well worth the money.

Are you kidding??? Unless you have one of those returns with business income, rental properties, all kinds of investments, etc., you're completely insane to go to a CPA to get your taxes done. They use tax software that's pretty similar to TurboTax, and do it in about an hour, if you want to pay $200.

H&R Block is reasonable, and so are the other outfits like Jackson Hewitt, etc. You're nuts to go to a CPA firm for a tax return.

I Callahan said...

Geithner was unable to figure out the complexities of Turbo Tax. What makes you think that we can?

That's a reflection on Tim Geithner, not Turbotax. Turbotax is NOT complex. It's pretty idiot-proof.

edutcher said...

I always just put the money out there and let them take what they think they need.

Still waiting for Zorro to deliver my refund.

AllenS said...

That was my point, Callahan.

phx said...

(insert obligatory derisive, but relevant Tim Geitner tax comment here)

(so noted)

Ann Althouse said...

I would have pre-jibed about Geithner, but his name is a little hard to spell, so I didn't bother. That's the way it goes with these reflexes. They play out instantaneously or not at all.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Turbo tax is for people who have simple tax returns, a 1040 only and who lack the skills to do anything for themselves.

We have a S-Corp, pass through income K-1 forms, two schedule C's from a transition [phasing out] business and a second business not in the S Corp, rental and lease income, depreciation, payroll taxes, itemize our returns Schedule A, charitable deductions, home office deduction, travel and expenses, excise sales taxes. Turbo tax is about as useful as tits on a boar, or H&R Block, in this type of return.

I hope you have a good accountant/CPA to help you with the income that needs to be reported that has been gained from your scrabbling for pennies through Amazon and to make sure that your home office deductions and other business deductions that you are writing off against that income on your Schedule C is not going to cause you to be audited. Turbo Tax isn't going to help you.

Crunchy Frog said...

I use TaxCut from H&R Block, and have done so for years. I trust it to have the relevant updates and changes to the tax code way more than I trust the schmuck CPA down the street, and I'm far less likely to get audited if anything is incorrect.

At any rate, I don't make enough for the IRS to waste time on.

Freeman Hunt said...

DBQ, TurboTax can handle all of that. (Not the basic version.) that's the kind of stuff I have.

mccullough said...

Cash under the table is exempt from income.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ, TurboTax can handle all of that. (Not the basic version.) that's the kind of stuff I have.

Can it represent you in an IRS audit? We've been audited and came out not owing.

Ann Althouse said...

"I hope you have a good accountant/CPA to help you with the income that needs to be reported that has been gained from your scrabbling for pennies through Amazon and to make sure that your home office deductions and other business deductions that you are writing off against that income on your Schedule C is not going to cause you to be audited. Turbo Tax isn't going to help you."

I don't have many deductions for the business, and I don't have a home office thing, because I do my lawprof work at home at the same place, plus all sorts of other personal things. I'm not going to dedicate a special room for this.

I don't find it hard to use Turbo Tax to report my Amazon and Blogads income. It's easy.

Ann Althouse said...

I believe if you have Turbo Tax at one level and you need more, it asks you to trade up and you pay and download. Easy.