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Tax software

Discussion in 'Tech Talk - Gadgets, Gizmos and Technology' started by Danny R, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Just curious, but does anyone here have Turbotax and already finished their return with it?

    I bought TaxCut, and would have filed by now but the program says it still needs to download an update, which won't be available till mid february. Pretty frustrating since I have $2500 waiting me and I want it now.

    I'm thinking of just reentering everything in Turbotax if it doesn't have that problem and I'd be able to file immediately.

    Alternatively, is there a way to efile (versus simply mailing it in) both fed and state without buying more software? Since I've already completed my taxes using one program, I know exactly what forms are needed and how to fill them out.
     
  2. Bogy

    Bogy Hall Of Fame

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    I haven't downloaded TurboTax yet, I was going to do it in about a week, when I have all my W-2's. I only have one yet, with 4 more yet to arrive.

    If you buy the TurboTax Deluxe (I think) you get a state form free. It automatically transfers information from your federal to state form. You might also check online. Between my helpless kids and myself, I have done taxes in the past few years for Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. Most states these days seem to have at least worksheets online, some have interactive forms that you can fill out, and with some you can do it all online, including filing, without buying any software.
     
  3. AllieVi

    AllieVi Hall Of Fame

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    I haven't done my taxes (hey, it isn't the afternoon of April 15th yet!), but I expect TurboTax will also do a year-end revision to fix any bugs and accommodate any legislative changes that came late in the year.

    In any case, I doubt you'd see a significant change after the revisions. In your situation, I'd go ahead and file it as is. You can always submit an amendment after you get the update if the numbers change.
     
  4. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    Dec 17, 2003
    I have used TurboTax for many years. Tried TaxCut once and switched that year, never went back. By using it every year, it tracks prior years for good tax planning. (Deluxe package)

    I rarely do my Taxes by 4/15 since the automatic extension is so easy. Most of the time I do get a small bit back but never a huge sum like $2500. Most of the time I'm sending in a small amount to them at the end of the year. If I ever had than much money, loaned to the government for the year, interest free, I'd be vomiting. If you are loaning that much money to the Feds you are in dire need of some good tax counseling. Withholding is not a savings account and, large refunds like that alss flag you for audits. e.g. Lets assume you haven't maxed out your IRA. a simple good tax plan would have been to save that money you loaned to the Fed during 2005 in a tax deferred investment like an IRA and then in addion to having your $2500 you would have gotten additional money back based on your tax bracket and the IRA in addition. Of course that is a simple solution but there are even better ways where you get the benefit of the $2500 refund immediately ( not tax deferred as in an IRA) as you earned it and still get additional money back or rather less withholding based on the knowledge of proper tax planning throughout the year. Huge refunds at the end of the year are not only ignorant but really stupid lack of money planning, no offense. I'm just trying to show you that you are throwing your money away and actually feeling happy about it, plus you came here to brag about it. That is not smart either.
     
  5. Redster

    Redster Godfather/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Jan 14, 2004
    I always do mine online with H&R block , their program works fairly well and I can efile both Fed and State. I think it costs about $30 , a little more depending on how you want your return sent to you.
     
  6. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    I'm just trying to show you that you are throwing your money away and actually feeling happy about it, plus you came here to brag about it. That is not smart either.

    2500 is actually my combined state AND fed. Actual refunds for both are around 1250 which is below the average, so I'm not worried about audits.

    Generally I agree with everything you said, but unfortunately my wife disagrees and prefers the refund. Sometimes you just have to give in.
     
  7. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    Well Danny- If that's your wife in the Avitar, I wouldn't argue either. :D

    BTW- per IRS- it's the % of refund based on the amount actually owed that is the trigger. They actually don't like it when you have, say $7000 withholding and then claim a third of it in a refund. Same goes for the other way around. If you owe too much at the end of the year, they may punish you by forcing you to file quarterly estimates.

    BTW- file electronically and ask for direct deposit to your checking account. That is the fastest way to get your money back. BTW- is the XV6700 for your wife too? Just kidding! :)
     
  8. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Well Danny- If that's your wife in the Avitar, I wouldn't argue either

    Scarlett Johannson actually.

    BTW- file electronically and ask for direct deposit to your checking account. That is the fastest way to get your money back.

    Yup, thats why I'm a bit perterbed that the tax software isn't ready and says it needs and gives me a stern warning that it needs an update before filing. I could have already had my refund by now given the usual 7 day wait after efiling.
     
  9. Bogy

    Bogy Hall Of Fame

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    I am surprised that there is an update that they know will be ready sometime in February, but you can't download it yet. Free File is open for business, as of Jan. 18, on the irs.gov site, with no statement that you can't complete your taxes until February. When I first get TurboTax I always check for updates, but there are normally very few to none after the end of January. Of course I only do my taxes prior to the afternoon of April 15th when I have kids who need FAFSA forms filled out as soon as possible. That does not mean they go in the mail before the 15th, by the slowest mail service possible. I have not been due a refund in 25 years, and if I was it wouldn't matter, since I would just apply it to the next year anyway. I am required to file quarterly. My kids, who actually do get money back file electronically, have their refunds direct deposited, and have their money inside a week if they file before April.
     
  10. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Unfortunately I don't qualify for Free File via the irs.gov site... already looked into that one.

    FYI: Am I sadistic? I find I enjoy going to the postoffice about 11pm on April 15th to watch the crowds. Probably the only thing more amusing is going to the Toy's R Us on Dec. 24th.

    ;)

    Oh, btw, the deadline is April 17 this year due to the 15th falling on a saturday.
     
  11. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    I usually file in July and the small refund I get is about 5 days.

    I do have one complaint, however. The 1096 and 1099 kits are always last minute. I still don't have mine. Last year they arrived on the last day of the month. Now if I wanted to purchase them... I'd bet they would arrive immediately. The minimum purchase for those kits are about $30. Since I only have a few contractors I hire during the year, I refuse to pay for the 1099 forms.
    I believe the 1099 forms are the only ones left that you cannot download or file with a computer form. You have to use a typewriter! or at best an impact printer. I could never understand why the IRS has not yet updated the 1099 filing process. Maybe its a gimmick to scam you out of some money by needing to hire a service for the large numbers and for me to pay an outrageous price for a few. One year I was not able to get them at the local IRS office either. They ran out!
     
  12. Geronimo

    Geronimo Native American Potentate DBSTalk Gold Club

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    And Pril 18in some states as the 17th is a holiday in MA and anyone using the Andover office gets one more day.
     
  13. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Grrr... now I'm really annoyed. My brother bought TurboTax, so I plugged my info into that. Not only does it also need an update thats not yet available (specific form is the same - the educational credit for my wife's tuition payments), but the two programs give me a DIFFERENT refund. I'm sure part of the difference is the educational credit, as Turbotax wouldn't even estimate it while TaxCut did ($80 difference there), but there is still a $250 difference between the two that I'm going to have to figure out. And here I thought this software was supposed to make filing easier. :(
     
  14. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    Hey Danny- Here's the scoop- All these software products make doing Taxes easier. Just the same as hiring another person makes the process easier. The problem is you! You are now testing the two you chose, software products for validity and comparing them to each other. You'd run into the same problem if you hired two Tax specialist CPA's and then compared the two. Fact is this is not exact science. It is cookbook math. When it comes to number crunching by the rules, the Software is probably your best bet. If you want to file in the black region of the law, a simple H&R Block 3 hour wonder will do as well. BUT, if you want to get creative with the law and even push your filing into a gray area where you wager your odds of triggering an audit as highly likely, hire a tax attorney and be prepared to go to the matt with them. Obviously, that only matters if you are in a position to gain significantly by taking the risk. Most people aren't in that situation. But you still can use software for that. A person, like H&R block may fire you as a client if you don't do it their way.
     
  15. cdru

    cdru Hall Of Fame

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    Uh oh. I'm probably throwing red flags all over the place then. I was in this magical spot last year and I belive I will be it this year as well where, thanks to the Child Tax Credit, we have 0 tax liability.
     
  16. AcuraCL

    AcuraCL Godfather

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    When TurboTax started its product activation nonsense a few years ago, I tried demos of TaxCut and TaxAct. Prepped my returns with both, and got the same results with both, so at that point I switched to TaxAct and haven't looked back. It's not quite as polished as the other two, but I have been able to do moderately simple/complex tax returns with it without problem. It carries info forward year to year and a free efile is included in the Deluxe package price.

    I do itemize every year and often have capital gains/losses, stock options, etc., and I'm no tax whiz.
     
  17. DonLandis

    DonLandis Hall Of Fame

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    CDRU- yep, good luck. What triggered my general audit back in the 80's was me maximizing my IRA contribution which reduced my tax liability to zero that year. Obviously along with other things but the agent investigating me said it was my use of the IRA contribution just prior to filing that triggered the audit flags.

    AcuraCL- Does Tax Cut import Turbotax data from prior years? If I switched, I'd hate to lose that feature. There would have to be a serious incentive for me to make a switch at this point.

    It just occured to me that the reason I never had an issue with TurboTax not being accurate is because by the time I file, they get it right with one on-line update. It must be those who need the refund who file early and discover the bugs in the software.
     
  18. AcuraCL

    AcuraCL Godfather

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    They say they do but I'm not sure if it carries everything over.

    I found TT and TC to be about even in features, TA to be less robust/polished (but still accurate and competent).

    Good luck. I never stopped liking TurboTax ... I used it for almost 10 years (from the time that it was MacInTax). I just didn't like their DRM and broke away in protest.
     
  19. Danny R

    Danny R Goblin the Pug DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Does Tax Cut import Turbotax data from prior years? If I switched, I'd hate to lose that feature. There would have to be a serious incentive for me to make a switch at this point.

    It does to a limited extend. Since I'm trying both packages this year, I must say TurboTax does seem to have far more automation in it.

    TurboTax downloaded my W2 and several other tax forms automatically rather than needing me to enter the raw data. TaxCut didn't have nearly as many options for such. Generally I find TurboTax' instructions clearer as well.

    FYI, TurboTax doesn't have any product registration this year.
     
  20. cdru

    cdru Hall Of Fame

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    I'm not too worried about it. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has my type of condition.

    I have 3 kids, so right off the top that gives me a 3 grand credit towards my taxes. And since I'm married with 3 kids, so that right there gets me a $10k standard deduction and another 16k from exemption deductions. The break even point for the 3,000 in tax credits is close to $25k, so basically I can make $51k just taking standard deductions.

    If the IRS wants to audit me, they can go for it. But it's hard to argue with standard deductions. If they can find that I made more somewhere, they can go for it.

    I hope they don't find out about the 522 receiver and computer I won from Danny though...
     

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