Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tax Filing Software Megathread: A comprehensive list of tax filing resources

all 158 comments
[–]rnelsonee 51 points  
The software suite I end up using is TaxAct Deluxe. They are typically $18 (state and federal) and that even handles small business income (1099). Much cheaper than TurboTax (usually $45 or so for basic, $75 for small business). I've only seriously tried these two, however. It's almost as easy as TurboTax - like 95% of the functionality. It's a little harder to edit/review things (it's very sequential, not much easy drill-down) but hey, $18. And like TurboTax (or any other software), it remembers info from last year so you can import and then just change what needs to be changed. So years 2 and on take much less time.
As far as strategy, I do my taxes twice every year: TaxAct and TurboTax. Both are free if you don't actually file, and I fill out the screens on each and make sure they agree at the end (the refund or amount due amount - unfortunately they don't let you see the specific form data until you file - to prevent you just filing yourself). If not, that means I missed something on one of them. Then I file with TaxAct.
[–]utohs 17 points  
Anybody know if tax act will import data from last years turbotax?
[–]McHilikus 14 points  
yes. it will.
[–]Crestylia 5 points  
What about from H+R block?
[–]sbondsUnited States 2 points  
Sort of. It tries to read the PDFs that TurboTax produced. In my case it couldn't read the PDF saved for my records but was able to read the one saved for my state tax filing.
I'm trying both products this year and if TaxAct is good enough, I'll use it again next year.
[–]FakeQuotes 7 points  
TaxAct is free for everyone to file federal income tax returns. You only have to pay if you use it to file a state income tax return as well. I live in a state with no income tax and have never paid when using TaxAct for my federal returns.
[–]rnelsonee 4 points  
Huh, I always assumed that was if you qualified for the free filing with the IRS (AGI <$58k) - looks like TaxAct doesn't have any income limits for that though. TIL!
[–]donuthell 2 points  
Does taxact do schedule c? I had two jobs this year and for one I'll be receiving a 1099-misc.
[–]rnelsonee 2 points  
Yup (click Forms and Schedules for a list) - Schedule SE too, which you might need as well.
[–]wijwijwij 1 point  
I justed tested out taxact with regard to sched c and not only does it compute your SE tax for you, but it also correctly computes the maximum "compensation" you can use for making IRA contributions (it correctly subtracts the 1/2 SE tax so it doesn't get double deducted).
[–]siphontheenigma 5 points  
I've used TurboTax for the last several years. Basic is free if you make less than a certain amount, otherwise it's $20, not $45.
[–]CouchCushionStrategy 6 points  
We sold some mutual fund shares in 2014. According to Turbotax me need a special version and it'll cost me 92$ for them to file Federal+Tax. I'd be happy if you could point to where I can do this for 20$
[–]flongo 2 points  
If you have just basic w2 income then you can file for free with turbo tax. I selected file by mail and printed out the PDFs. I had one stock sale for the year, so I printed out that form from the IRS website, filled it out and added to what turbo tax gave me. Save $75 or whatever.
[–]boo_baup 1 point  
This is my issue also. From what I understand, none of these sub $50 charges will deal with having sold non-tax-exempt shares.
[–]FatTonyTCL 4 points  
Just an FYI, TurboTax has an additional discount for Amazon Prime members. It brings the cost of Deluxe down to 39.99.
[–]quantum-mechanic 3 points  
I've also used the 'get part refund as an Amazon gift card and get bonus 10%" offer. Paid for turbotax.
[–]rnelsonee 2 points  
Was that state and federal? Just curious. I know there's coupons and returning customer deals, because right now it's showing $34.99 + $36.99 for "Deluxe" which is the basic stuff (this is the cheapest option except the 1040EZ free file). But the CD/download is only $55, which is better.
I was just basing $45 off what I used to pay when I did TurboTax (no itemizing, nothing fancy)... maybe I needed to find better coupons! I'd switch back if it was $20 (but I guess that won't happen for me since we started a small business last year).
[–]siphontheenigma 1 point  
I paid $20 the last two years. I haven't gotten my W-2 yet (employer totally fucked up my 401k contributions and I'm trying to get that fixed) so I haven't started yet this year; the price may have changed.
And this is only federal, I don't do state.
[–]rnelsonee 1 point  
Oh OK, $20 federal does sound right for the last few years. They really like to get us on state, too! I can't wait to move to a no-income-tax state.
[–]DrFlutterChii 1 point  
I did federal + state the first year, but henceforth I'm just doing federal because, at least for my state, filling out a state tax return is absolutely trivial if you have a completed federal return in hand. Its like one page of "Write down the number in box ## from your federal return", and done.
[–]londener 1 point  
at the end you can get it to print it for you instead of electronically filing it. Wouldn't this be the work around? I use taxact and have always done it for free, but review the form version to make sure. (sometimes I think it's easier just to see the form than the questions)
[–]rnelsonee 1 point  
From what I remember they don't let you access the PDF forms until you pay - to prevent from us doing stuff like this. Maybe it depends on whether or not you meet the free file requirements (which I don't), something around <$58k AGI last year.
[–]flongo 1 point  
If you have just basic w2 income then you can file for free with turbo tax. I selected file by mail and printed out the PDFs. I had one stock sale for the year, so I printed out that form from the IRS website, filled it out and added to what turbo tax gave me. Save $75 or whatever.
[–]JerryLupus 1 point  
Personal and small (home) business turbotax is $100, so thank you for this!
[–]Ljppkgfgs 1 point  
Does it handle rental properties? I have had to use Premier or Home and business which are $80-90 now.
[–]brian_schiller 1 point  
I heard that it was really long and not intuitive. Also, does it handle capital gains in a friendly way? I have a Roth IRA that I'll need to account for.
[–]rnelsonee 15 points  
It handles capital gains fine for me, but yeah, it does take a while to edit things. But the more comprehensive the software, the longer it's going to take. TT takes about as long from what I've experienced.
And Roth IRA's don't have taxable capital gains... that's kind of the whole advantage of a Roth IRA (vs a normal investment account).
[–]the_onion_night 4 points  
Do Roth Ira contributions play into your income taxes?
[–]clown-penisdotfart 5 points  
Roth contributions are not tax deductible. The tradeoff being that you're paying taxes now and not later (on a larger sum).
[–]the_onion_night 4 points  
Right. Thats why I'm asking why Mr. Schiller is worryin about his.
[–]rnelsonee 2 points  
Yeah, he shouldn't enter gains from a Roth IRA into his taxes. Even if he's withdrawing them out of the IRA, ordering rules put contributions above earnings, so he'd only get taxed if he withdrew more than all of his contributions.
[–]cwenger 3 points  
If your income is low enough you might be eligible for the Saver's Tax Credit.
[–]brian_schiller 1 point  
I didn't contribute to my Roth this year, so no. So I guess it doesn't change my taxable income...but do my investments get taxed? I would think so, because I know it's tax free when I retire.
[–]the_onion_night 1 point  
The money you put into a Roth Ira was already taxed as your income. The big lump income amount you put on your 1040 includes money you earned then subsequently put into an Ira. As far as your yearly returns go, thats the end of the story. You don't have to think about it again.
Unless someone else can expand on that Savers Tax credit.
[–]wijwijwij 1 point  
The Retirement Savings Contribution credit is line 51 on Form 1040 ... but only applies to lower incomes (single AGI under $30K), and gives a break from between 10% to 50% of the amount contributed to an retirement account. See the link /u/cwenger provided in another comment. The computations are on Form 8880.
It is one example of a way in which a Roth IRA contribution might show up on one's taxes.
[–]wijwijwij 1 point  
Even if you did contribute to your Roth, it doesn't affect your taxes. It's funded with after-tax dollars; you don't deduct your contribution the way you do with a traditional IRA.
The growth inside your Roth IRA is not taxed ... ever.
[–]qfl 32 points  
Remember that under some circumstances (income less than $53k, or elderly, or disabled, or limited English), you may qualify for free filing support through the IRS's VITA and TCE programs.
[–]somedifficultname 4 points  
Is there a certain date that they update their list or locations? I can't seem to find any in South Florida.
[–]chellez_ 4 points  
You should check your local library for updates.
[–]trust_me_would_i_lie 24 points  
If your income under $60,000 you can download free Federal tax software.
If your income is over $60,000 and you are comfortable filling out your own tax forms, you can still efile for free with Free Fillable Forms.
Freefile opens January 16th, 2015.
[–]caltomin 1 point  
Is there a way to do free Federal file and then still E-file your state return for less money than one of the packages that includes both federal and state?
[–]trust_me_would_i_lie 3 points  
Check with your state tax authority. In California, you can use CalFile or other options to file for free.
[–]plexluthor 1 point  
What state are you in? Once you have completed the Federal 1040, state income taxes are often super simple to do by hand.
[–]caltomin 1 point  
Minnesota. I don't think there's a free option unless you're below the poverty line.
[–]MightySasquatch 3 points  
I used to live in Minnesota and that's what I did every year. 1040ez for free through turbotax and then file Minnesota taxes by hand, very easy to do and turbotax will even tell you what your refund should be so you can double check it.
[–]skurdnee 50 points  
I use TaxAct as it's often a little cheaper than Turbo Tax, and isn't owned by Intuit, who've been lobbying against any tax preparation reform that would hurt them on both federal and state levels. I can't find any evidence of TaxAct (owned by Blucora) taking part in this.
[–]touristoflife 10 points  
I like this guy...taking a on issues with his $
[–]DrunkenOni 5 points  
Why is TaxAct so much cheaper than TurboTax? I was looking into using TaxAct this year based on this sub's recommendations but anything with such a huge price gap kinda makes me worry a little.
[–]Ljppkgfgs 1 point  
Even TurboTax has huge price gaps. If you buy it at Costco or Amazon, I would pay $80-90, but going to the website is $54.99?
[–]xiphias11 3 points  
Oh wow. Didn't know this.
Any software that imports TurboTax data? Does TaxAct have this functionality? I don't see it on their website. I've used TurboTax for more than seven years now so I'm sort of dependent on them pulling prior year info...
[–]bigdippad 2 points  
taxact imports turbo tax, i've never done it but it is a feature. you can create an account with taxact and actually use the software, it'll charge you when you are ready to submit to IRS or print the forms.
[–]stillifewithcrickets 1 point  
Out of curiousity, what info are you dependent on them pulling? Demographic info and the like?
[–]xiphias11 1 point  
Employee ID, address, prior AGI for easier filing, status, central archive location...
Yeah, I'm lazy :P
[–]zoninationFAQ/Wiki Contributor 2 points  
After hearing enough about TaxAct, I think I'm ready to make the switch this year. I'll let you know how it goes.
[–]JalopyPilot 2 points  
Hmmm. This makes me want to rethink my mint account.
[–]Generic_Reddit_ 17 points  
I've used tax slayer, had no problems, fairly simple and cheap (9-10 bucks if I recall correctly)
[–]ScientificQuailUnited States 8 points  
Same here. After having a bad experience with Turbo Tax a few years back, I tried Tax Slayer and haven't looked back since!
[–]max401k 2 points  
What happened with Turbo Tax?
[–]ScientificQuailUnited States 8 points  
I used them for the second consecutive year, which meant I had to pay for a more expensive edition if I wanted to import the previous year's data. Somehow I ended up getting bumped up by two tiers, and of course, you can't downgrade after that. I contacted support, and they admitted I wasn't using any of the features of the tier I was in, but claimed they couldn't do anything.
Their "solution" was to start over with a new account. Of course, at that point, I'd need to re-enter all my data, and wouldn't get the previous year import. I told them this, and mentioned that if I'm going to do all the work again, I'm not doing it on Turbo Tax. They urged me to file and promised a refund for the difference in cost between the two after I filed.
Of course, the refund never came through. Partially my fault for believing them, but the fact that it even turned into that big of an ordeal was enough to put me off from ever using them again.
I only lost $10 or $15, so it wasn't enough to pursue the refund too hard, but it's the principle at play here. That and the fact that they try hard to upsell you every 5 minutes, and there's no way to turn back the clock on the higher price.
[–]frankgoresjunk 1 point  
Same thing happened to me. Except they basically told me to like it or leave.
[–]GreystarOrg 2 points  
Odd, was this using their web based software or the stand alone software? I've been using TT for about 10 years and have never had to buy the more expensive edition to import my previous tax data.
[–]DR_Nova_Kane 1 point  
Does it import the online data from turbotax?
[–]the_fit_hit_the_shan 4 points  
I've used TaxSlayer for free the last three years I've had to do a schedule SE and a schedule C.
[–]Generic_Reddit_ 3 points  
I thought it was free for federal and like 9 bucks for state? Maybe I'm just donating a few dollars to them I don't need to.
[–]the_fit_hit_the_shan 4 points  
I live in Texas, so no state income tax. And I have not made enough money in the past few years to feel like donating to a for-profit tax prep software company :)
[–]RedTalon19 2 points  
I've used Tax Slayer for the past 3 years now and haven't had any issues with them. Simple and intuitive. They also provide free federal and state returns for military, which is an added bonus :)
[–]WHAT_ABOUT_DEROZAN 2 points  
I used TaxSlayer for a year or two back around 2009 or 2010. I was happy with the filing process, but then I found I needed to print out a copy of my previous years tax return for a rental application (lost the copy I saved to my hard drive) and those fuckers charged me 3 or 4$ to download a 2 page PDF file.
I haven't used them since.
[–]AltsForDays 3 points  
You should be keeping copies for yourself in physical and digital copies. That cost of a couple bucks saved you from simply not having it at all due to your incompetence.
[–]devperezUnited States 2 points  
They've changed that. I haven't checked in awhile, but I remember looking at my previous tax records last year. They had a notice saying that checking previous filings was now free because of the feedback from the community.
I've used Tax Slayer since 2008 and it's always been great.
[–]Generic_Reddit_ 2 points  
They no longer charge for past returns. I paid for one as well and was annoyed but they have my info and im lazy so I stayed
[–]devperezUnited States 3 points  
I've been using Tax Slayer since 2008, after being recommended to it from a coworker. It's been great. I've never had any issues.
[–]boyd1211 12 points  
If you're in the military, Military OneSource has a free tax help hotline, they can answer tax questions from "how do I file" to "can I claim the UHaul expense from my last PCS" to "my wife and I file jointly, our HOR is Washington, she works in Virginia, I'm stationed in Kentucky, which states do we owe taxes to". The link I gave is an FAQ on exactly who is eligible and what they can do.
[–]dabears1020 5 points  
Also worth noting, TurboTax Deluxe is free for E5 and below in the military.
[–]Futureproofed 2 points  
Having used this to file my taxes since I joined I wholly recommend it. It knows what to ask for and makes things really easy. Takes me about two hours to do my taxes once I sit down with them.
[–]xixoxixa 1 point  
Also usually gives access to H&R Block's online service (and filing) for free.
[–]RedTalon19 1 point  
Tax Slayer (online service) is free for federal and state taxes for all military as well.
[–]flyingmountain 10 points  
I use The Beehive portal for AmeriCorps alumni. It takes you to H&R Block, but is free for both federal and state filing if you make under $58k.
edit: there's no verification process to make sure you actually did AmeriCorps. But I did do it, twice, so I feel fine using this.
[–]bigdippad 5 points  
there is no verification to make sure you did americorps because you don't need to do americorps to file for free if you earn less than 58000.
[–]Jazzy_Josh 20 points  
No one has seemed to mention that if you need to file Schedules C-F you need the Premier version of TurboTax instead of Deluxe like last year. If you are using TurboTax and have bought the wrong version you can email intuit and they should upgrade you for free. You will have to demand it for free instead of a discount.
Alternatively if you've already bought the wrong version and you think Intuit is pulling a scumbag move with this, you can do the following and H&R block will send a free version of their software:
 Gene King, Block’s director of communications, says  TurboTax purchasers should send an email to containing their name, email and phone number; whether they use a Windows or MAC operating system; and a scan of their store receipt for TurboTax or a copy of the email showing their TurboTax download code. In return, they’ll be sent a link good for one free download of H&R Block Deluxe + State. (Data you’ve entered in last year’s or this year’s version of TurboTax should be  transferable.)
Not trying to skirt the offer rule here. I think this is important information for people who may have been ripped off with TurboTax. I'm not affiliated with with either of them but I have used both of their self file products and have found them adequate. I'll remove the details if asked.
[–]technotrader 3 points  
This is helpful. Amazon is full of angry 1- star reviewers because basically you need to buy 1 level above last year's. I think that's true for most levels (if you had Deluxe you need Premier now; if you had Premier, you need Home and Business, etc.)
I guess Intuit messed up keeping the monikers the same, but it actually says so at the very beginning of the product descriptions. Also, with the Amazon Prime discount, it's actually cheaper than last year! The software itself must be really flawless since that name change is all that people talk about :)
[–]upvotes_cited_source 2 points  
What are schedules C-F? Who would typically need them?
[–]librik 2 points  
If you have any stocks, bonds, or mutual funds that you sold last year, you have to file Schedule D. That's not so much of an issue if you only have them in a 401K or IRA, but they're in an ordinary taxable account, then you will have to deal with it.
[–]saintmuse 1 point  
you can no longer use Deluxe to electronically file a Schedule D , for capital gains and losses; Schedule C, for profit and loss from a sole proprietorship business; Schedule E, for rental real estate, royalties and distributions from partnerships; or Schedule F, for farm income.
[–]upvotes_cited_source 1 point  
[–]josiahstevenson 1 point  
  1. Schedule C -- business profit / loss. People who have some sort of small business on the side.
  2. Schedule D -- capital gains / losses. I needed this for 2013 tax year because I made about ~$50 selling stocks; this is why I left TurboTax last year.
  3. Schedule E -- rental income, royalties, etc. People who, e.g., rent out a room in their house.
  4. Schedule F -- Farm profit and loss.
Basically, if you have some income that's not from being someone else's employee, you probably need one of these.
[–]librik 2 points  
It's worse that that: last year, you could do your Schedule D with Turbo Tax Basic. Now you have to buy Premier. That's a jump from $15 to $90. It's not hard to be annoyed, since the only reason you bought the software is to save some money...
[–]Sic1337 10 points  
I've used TaxHawk for the past couple years and it works as well as TaxAct, but costs less ($12.95). There is even a discount coupon code TAXHAWK20 for 20% off. I ended up paying $10 for the same functionality that I needed in Turbotax and Taxact.
[–]Star_Bellied_Sneetch 1 point  
I've used all three and usually go back to TaxHawk since its cheapest. My taxes are fairly simple so I can't talk to complicated filing and how extensive their system is. But TaxHawk is my go-to
[–]N3rdlE 7 points  
I am quite surprised that Glenn Reeves' fantastic decade of work isn't one of the top references...
find the fruits of this largely unrewarded labor here.
[–]iamajs 1 point  
Wow, this is great.. I was thinking about doing taxes by hand this year, it doesn't seem all that complicated. Thanks!
[–]mojigga 1 point  
this deserves its own post. Thank you.
[–]UsernamIsToo 7 points  
Don't think it's been said in this thread yet, but I highly reccomend you do NOT go to one of the H&R Block or similar service locations and have someone file your taxes for you.
First, they are not CPAs, they are just people you pay to type everything into they're software.
Second, a few years back, I personally knew one of the employees at one such location. She was dumb as a box of rocks and later, her husband was arrested and charged with 30+ counts of credit card fraud. Never did see if the fraud was related to the tax filing service, but that is potentially the type of people you would be handing your info over to.
[–]touristoflife 4 points  
Oh I know the brick and mortar stores and mostly call center grads. Only when you ask for another review or the numbers don't look right does a CPA come in. Its like asking for the manager.
[–]savax7 3 points  
I don't know how their recruiting people, but it seems like every tax season more and more people I know approach me with "hey I'm working for h&r block, I can your taxes for free!". Later I found out they require you to do a couple ones for free before you can go to work for them. It's sketchy as most of the people I've seen recruited are stay at home moms.
[–]i_give_you_gum 8 points  
AARP has done mine for free for the last three years, I'm not a senior, it's just something they offer to the community, whoever might be interested might want to call them to find out if it's being offered in your town.
Typically they don't start until February.
[–]teemraye 1 point  
My friends grandmother does taxes through AARP for people. She's a retired accountant and really loves doing it.
[–]Firedyke89 5 points  
I live in Washington,DC. Last year I tried doing my taxes on my own (at least the parts I could get done for free) with the h and r block free tax preparation website and it wouldn't let me because I live in the district. I ended up going to h and r block and shelling out a bunch of money. This year I want to be smarter and buy either turbo tax or another software, but I don't want to buy it if I'm just going to have to bring it to a brick and mortar tax preparation office again. The website would not give a reason as to the rationale I couldn't prepare online other than I lived in DC. Does anyone know if I will have this same problem if I bought tax preparation software? Is there something weird about living in dc that means I'll always have to bring my taxes somewhere to get prepared? Thanks
[–]Campcamp 2 points  
I ran into the same issue when I tried to use H&R Block's software for DC, but have had no problem at all using TurboTax. I'm going to try TaxAct this year since it's cheaper though.
[–]brian_schiller 2 points  
I don't know, but you can fill everything out for free with turbo tax. Then you pay when you file.
[–]bonny_peg_o_ramsey 4 points  
I've used Turbo Tax and HR Block's software and they were both decent programs. They both have a similar interface of a main menu screen and then a bunch of submenus after where you answer "yes" or "no" type questions to determine if you need to fill out a certain schedule.
Turbo Tax had the advantage of being able to import financial data from Quicken, which I use, but ultimately I switched to HR Block because it has been cheaper.
[–]codepreneur 3 points  
You can do your taxes 100% online with a professional CPA with TurboTax Personal Pro.
Once you've outgrown TurboTax or whatever you use and are ready for a CPA, this is an easy way to find one and not have to go meet someone at a store... you just exchange documents through their online portal.
I've not used it yet, but know several folks who tried it last year and loved it.
I used H&R Block in the past, but they scared me when they had trouble figuring out a not-so-complex situation, so I ended up hiring a professional CPA and have been using him since. He's expensive, but worry free.
I may try it this year to see how it works since it will save me a couple hundred dollars.
[–]aqf 3 points  
Is there a piece of tax software to help file an amended return?
[–]joshiee 1 point  
This probably only helps you if you initially filed in turbo tax, but turbotax generates 1099Xs. I suppose you could enter your tax info as you did the first time then generate a 1099X.
[–]rlbond86 3 points  
Just an FYI, if anyone is Vanguard flagship, you can get TurboTax premier for free.
[–]wijwijwij 1 point  
This year only, which gets you Sched D. And if you need Sched C or F you're out of luck. That requires the Home and Business version, at a cost of $55 - $80 even if you're Flagship.
[–]romprompromp 2 points  
Which software will help me decide whether to claim standard deduction vs itemizing as a homeowner?
[–]proskillz 1 point  
All of them do that. You can also verify it yourself. Add up how much mortgage interest, PMI, property taxes, and state taxes you have paid, and see if it is over the standard deduction.
[–]Greensystemsgo 2 points  
Costco usually has turbotax fed/state with mail in rebate coming to $0.
[–]BurritoTime 3 points  
At this point the only real reason to stick with TurboTax is that if you're getting a refund, you can request it in terms of an gift card and they'll give you an extra 10%. Assuming you aren't tempted to buy things you wouldn't be buying anyways, that is free money.
But, now that they are charging $75 for 'advanced' taxpayers who do complicated things like selling mutual funds, you would have to be getting a pretty big refund to make them worth it.
[–]squarerootofthree 1 point  
I can't believe no one else has mentioned the refund aspect yet. I don't like the TurboTax software and business practices, but it's an incredible deal. Last year, I had a $3,000 refund and didn't need the cash immediately so I converted it all to an amazon gift card and got $3,300 back ($300 for free after spending about $45 for the software). We buy a LOT through amazon (like, most of our standard household purchases and also knew we were going to buy at $1,500 computer early last year).
It took us about six months but we worked through the gift card and I view it basically as a 10% investment. I imagine the challenge for some people would be to resist the temptation to but a bunch of stuff they didn't need because they have the gift card. That wasn't personally a problem for us but I could see that being an issue for some people.
But if you can just stick to your standard purchases, it's a very good deal.
[–]tonsofpcs 1 point  
Interesting. Can you split the refund between EFT and Amazon?
[–]squarerootofthree 1 point  
Yes, you can split it any way, in increments of $100 of your refund (becoming $110 at amazon) if I recall correctly.
[–]throwaway35173 2 points  
Is using software to prepare your taxes really better than using a CPA? I've tried preparing my own taxes before and it didn't prepare them correctly. I had no idea something went wrong. So the next year when I used a CPA, I found out the preparation for the previous year was done incorrectly and I had huge fees to pay to the IRS. Is it really worth trying to save $150 and not knowing if your taxes were done correctly?
[–]iamajs 1 point  
I think you should still understand what is being filled out on the forms when using the software. You are still liable for what is submitted. I think even if you hire a CPA you should still understand what is being submitted to the IRS.
[–]eureka7 2 points  
If you did that return with TurboTax, TaxAct, or H+R Block At Home they will pay any penalty you are assessed for incorrect calculations on their part.
[–]ILmbg1288 3 points  
Does anyone have any recommendations on finding a good CPA and financial advisor that isn't just going to charge you an arm and a leg?
Yes, I've filed my own taxes for years using turbo tax but this is the first year I'll have a home and multiple investment accounts to add to my taxes. I'm looking to do a long form and didn't want to dive into it alone.
[–]SummerLover69 5 points  
I encourage you to give it a try before you go the CPA route. I did both of those things back in the 80s by hand when software wasn't even available. Now with software it's way easier.
The home ownership is a non issue really, you just report how much in mortgage interest and property tax you paid. The investments will require schedule D which isn't so bad unless you buy and sell all the time like a day trader. I think some of the software packages might be able to import all of the days from your brokerage account.
Either way I say give it a try and see how you feel before you pay before spending a bunch of $ for someone else to do it.
[–]nothumbs78 2 points  
The best bet is to check with friends and see if any of them can give you a recommendation.
The next alternative is to check your state's CPA society and see if they can give you a good starting point.
Here's a good article about selecting a paid tax preparer.
Lastly, I'm a CPA and can possibly give you a recommendation if you want. A CPA obviously wants to gain you as a client (in exchange for a fee), but they'll also answer all your questions about your return. If you want to give it a shot yourself but are unsure, you could have the CPA do it this year and then do it yourself next year once you know where the numbers go and the forms you need to file. A lot of the value I like to think I provide my clients with is tell them about the stuff they don't know. You might be unsure about how to file your taxes (something you know you don't know), but you might not know how to do the planning to avoid the tax altogether (something you don't know you don't know) or what the impacts will be next year due to changes in the law.
Good luck!
[–]ILmbg1288 1 point  
Thanks everyone for the help, I think I'll use my credit union's free copy of turbo tax to do it myself, take it all to a CPA and see if there's a difference between the two. I'm comfortable paying a CPA this year at the very least to have a baseline comparison in the process and outcome to best help my needs going forward. I'll definitely use the links provided in the comments to help me locate a cpa I'm comfortable with
[–]DR_Nova_Kane 1 point  
i use turbo tax for that.
[–]ZeusHoldsMyJockstrap 1 point  
I have a home and multiple investment accounts and I use TaxAct Deluxe. It does all those and more. I'm very happy with their system's capabilities and their fee.
[–]TheKanim 1 point  
Try TurboTax.. or one of the other programs that people suggested
I have a home and investment accounts (401k/IRA/Regular Brokerage) and use it to itemize my return and haven't had any problem.
Its pretty easy.
[–]SummerLover69 1 point  
Do any of the competitors have an online version like turbo tax online? I really like the online service especially since all of my data is backed up in case my copy were to get lost or destroyed.
[–]ronearc 1 point  
This might be the wrong place to ask. But my wife and I had a baby this year. Any tax breaks we might be able to claim other than the obvious? Sorry that's probably too vague. I just don't know what to look for. I use TurboTax and I usually just count on it to know everything and ask all the right questions.
[–]rynosoft 1 point  
You get two for having a kid. 1 dependent and 1 dependent tax credit until they turn 18. It's pretty sweet! Turbotax (or other software) will figure it all out for you.
[–]BurritoTime 1 point  
A question:
My wife and I have been moving around a lot for work this year; we've had residences in four states, worked in three, and currently reside in separate states. Is there any tax software that will not screw us over in terms of paying per state that we need to file in?
[–]bigdippad 1 point  
90% sure all the programs charge per state fees. if you can do the forms without software you can submit them online to the states.
[–]the_BROCONNELL 1 point  
"The only thing that's 'taxing' about doing your taxes is deciding what software to buy" - Barney Varmn
[–]FistofHeaven 2 points  
Anyone have a good suggestion for tax software for small businesses?
[–]nothingimportant2say 1 point  
I did not sign up for a flexible spending account this year. Can I still deduct the same type of expenses? Dental, vision, OTC and prescription medications?
[–]adam_rules 1 point  
If it's over a certain threshold of your AGI, yes. I believe (but could be mistaken) the number is 7.5% of your AGI. A quick Google search will help you.
[–]ArianaRinoa1010 1 point  
I've done my taxes using TaxACT for years because it was always really easy. I was single and didn't own a home. I also had very few investments. This year is different. I got married, my husband sold his home that he shared with a roommate, we bought a new one, and I have student loans now. I wanted to use TaxACT again, but my husband thinks we should go to an accountant because it might be difficult for us to figure out how to file. Should I convince him to go the TaxACT route again or find a CPA?
[–]quantum-mechanic 1 point  
Can someone clarify how TurboTax will charge me for filing state refunds?
Basically I'm looking to use TurboTax to E-file two federal returns and two state returns in New York.
I am planning to buy TurboTax deluxe (that's the one I need, I checked) and download the mac version. The confusing part is that it's pretty clear that the federal E-files will be free but what about the state? It says I get "one free state download" but I don't think that means the efile is free (or is it?) -- and would the second state efile be extra? how much?
[–]xsailerx 1 point  
I'm a student who worked 3 jobs with 3 separate tax types. One is w2, one is 1099, and one, I don't recall. I also don't have access to windows or Mac, so are there any web browser or Linux tax filing programs?
[–]ArianaRinoa1010 1 point  
TaxACT is a web-based software program. I have used it many times and it is super easy to follow.
[–]Jard16 1 point  
Check your bank, credit union, or brokerage firm to see if they have a click-through discount for TurboTax. Through Fidelity I got TurboTax Deluxe for $34.99. I know state will be extra.
[–]jerseyse410 2 points  
I'm using Turbo Tax because I have a 25.00 amazon credit and I'm a prime member and get 10.00 off so I'm thinking about buying the deluxe version since it will only cost me 10.00-15.00. I do have a question though about the deductions. It says "350 deductions" that the basic version does not have. Does anyone know where I can find a list of those "350 deductions"?
[–]Rhono 1 point  
For Canadians: SimpleTax.
[–]scontra788 1 point  
Between the end of 2013 to 2014 I moved from Texas to California and then from Cali back to Texas . It seems like a mess when I started to file on Turbo tax. My employer paid some moving expenses but I carried the bulk of it. Does anyone have any experience with this?
[–]assjuice666 1 point  
Gonna be a nightmare if either state collects income tax
[–]BumpiestMusic 1 point  
I've used FreeTaxUSA for the last few years, it's free for federal and it walks you through everything. I used H&R Block once when I was 18 so I have nothing else to compare it to. It's owned by TaxHawk. I can file my state taxes through their FTB website for free as well.
[–]____DEADPOOL_______ 1 point  
I have a small business and have used TurboTax in the past but this year the Personal and Business version has horrible reviews. Any suggestions?
[–]calwatch 1 point  
Best free (well, donationware) tool for paper filers: Excel 1040. Usually it's posted around mid January of each year.
Although the author of the file, Glenn Reeves, does not recommend it, I've been printing and mailing the forms directly for the past decade and have not gotten any issues from the IRS.
Generally, as it's a labor of love, there are lots of bugs in each implementation that don't get squished until April, but I start entering numbers into the spreadsheet in January as I get my 1099s and W-2s from the different sources. Then I redownload the spreadsheet around September and then reenter the numbers, print, and mail before October 15.
[–]Lumpyyyyy 1 point  
Everyone keeps telling me that I should be using a tax professional and not tax software for maximum refund. I think they are full of crap. Any one have an opinion either way?
Single, 20s, homeowner, $85k gross
[–]ArianaRinoa1010 1 point  
My father always files his own taxes using TaxACT and never has any problem. He is divorced, owns a home, and makes over $100k. I would look into it. I have used it many times and it is really easy to understand. Many people on here are saying you can use it for free if you don't file it, so you can test it out and see how it works.
[–]TheKanim 1 point  
I don't see what they could do to get more back (legally)... I'm no where near an expert.. But you add up all your deductions... Subtract that from how much you paid in taxes.. and it tells you how much you get (or owe).
Only time i think you can really massage stuff.. Is if you have tons of donations or pay quarterly taxes, or do some crazy advanced financing stuff.. and can make certain income look like expenses or whatever... If you work normally and just own a home there isn't much to it.
[–]hydrogenbalm -1 points  
If have a business and need to issue 1099s and W-2s will file with the IRS and mail recipient copies for $5 per form. I'm not associated with them in any way but I work for a CPA firm and we can't provide the service they do that inexpensively. edit: left a word out


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