Why We Do Our Own Taxes + TurboTax Giveaway


23 Comments
Why We Do Our Own Taxes

There’s one night each year when Nerdy Johnny comes alive. He puts on sweatpants, sits on the floor, gets on his laptop, and surrounds himself in paperwork. He both dreads this night and gets a little bit (okay, very) giddy at the same time. It’s weird. And this night is coming up any day now, as soon as one final W2 arrives in the mail. That’s right — I’m talking about the night Johnny does our taxes.

We’ve been doing our own taxes for eight years running now. And by “we,” I strictly mean Johnny. I just provide moral support and some sort of sugary snack. Each year we wonder whether we’ll take the plunge and hand over our taxes to someone more qualified than either of us, but we’re still holding out for now. And here are a few reasons:

  • Our filing is pretty simple. We’re not small business owners, we don’t have any employees, and we don’t do work in more than one state over the course of the year, so it’s pretty straightforward and quick.
  • It’s a chance to reconcile our year. That is a direct quote from Johnny… his nerdiness is already kicking into high gear, it seems. But seriously, doing our own taxes is a nice way to look at everything we earned, how much Uncle Sam took from us (ouch!), how much we invested, and any exemptions we can claim.
  • It saves us money. Well, this statement depends on whether you’re able to get your biggest refund by filing yourself. In our case, we don’t have any crazy exemptions to sort out, so e-filing is just as effective (and less expensive) than using a real live human to help us.
  • Our tax filing software makes it easy. We’ve been using TurboTax for years now, and their software takes all the tax filing jargon and turns it into easy-to-understand steps even we math-challenged folks can understand. It doesn’t take long, and Johnny can always save it and pick up where he left off if Sally spills a can of Diet Coke all over the couch (which has never, EVER happened… twice).
  • Since we claim zero exemptions, we know we’re getting a refund. TurboTax keeps a running tally of your money, and it’s fun to watch it grow and grow and grow as you do your taxes. We have a post coming up about why we claim zero exemptions on our taxes.

Which leads us to the good part…

We’re giving away two copies of TurboTax today! It includes one free federal and state preparation and e-file for your 2014 taxes. All you have to do is enter below for a chance to win.

TurboTax + Amazon Prime Promotion

And whether you’re the lucky winner or not, TurboTax is running a sweet promotion until the 15th of this month. We did this promotion last year, so we’re excited they’re doing it again this year. You can put part of your tax refund (in $100 increments) toward an Amazon gift card, and Amazon will give you an additional 10% in credit.

In other words, if you put $500 toward an Amazon gift card, Amazon will give you an additional $50 in credit. If you already use Amazon a ton for everyday purchases (like we do), this is free money! We got a $1000 Amazon gift card last year (which I initially thought was excessive), so we got $100 for free. But let me tell ya… with all the everyday goods we buy on Amazon, the family gifts, and the majority of our Christmas gifts, that $1100 lasted us exactly a year! So we plan to do that amount again this year. Here’s a nifty graphic of how it works:

Amazon Prime Gift Card

And now, back to the giveaway! Codes may not be redeemed for cash and are not for resale. The giveaway is for US residents only (which makes sense), and it closes Sunday at midnight ET. Good luck, and happy taxes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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23 Comments

  • Reply Racheal February 4, 2015 at 7:14 am

    My aunt worked for a major tax company and has done our taxes at a discounted rate for the past few years. However, this year she stopped working there, so I am on my own!

    I am strongly considering using TurboTax, especially with that Prime offer. I am just a little scared because we own a rental house and I run a small side business, but I am sure TurboTax will walk me through those steps?

    Thanks for putting the word out about the Prime deal and thanks for hosting the giveaway!

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Yes, you’ll probably need the home and business version, but they do a really good job of walking you through all of those areas. It’s not too bad… Johnny did ours already, and he was done in an hour! Good luck!

      • Reply Racheal @ Running with Racheal February 9, 2015 at 7:26 am

        Thanks! Since my comment I did complete my taxes with Turbo Tax and it took me about 4 hours, but was a lot easier than I thought it would be! I am now wondering why I paid someone to do it before. Ha!

        Thanks for the motivation!

        • Reply Joanna February 9, 2015 at 10:52 am

          Yay! Happy it worked out! Four hours is a good chunk of time, but I’m glad it was still easy!

  • Reply Gretchen February 4, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Nice! I use TurboTax as well, even though my day job is preparing taxes – haha! TurboTax makes it so incredibly easy! Last year we did the Amazon gift card deal and I was amazed – thanks for bringing this up, because I had forgotten :-)

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      It is so easy! And the gift card deal is just icing on the cake!

  • Reply Laura February 4, 2015 at 9:47 am

    TurboTax is super easy – do you use the one where they walk through every deduction, even if it is more expensive? I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it as I own my house and have student loans… But as a finance professional, I kinda feel like I should be able to figure it out without software. Would using it be worth it?

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      Yes, we use the version that walks us through every deduction… I think the deluxe version and up all offer that. It’s up to you, but we really enjoy being walked through every little detail. Good luck!

  • Reply Caity February 4, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I’m kind of like Johnny here… I get really excited when I do our taxes. However, I like going to the library and getting the forms and reading the instruction booklets (maybe I chose the wrong profession?). We rolled over/converted a 401(k) to a Roth IRA this year, so I’ve had some extra reading to do. Why pay someone when I can do it myself? :)

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Oh goodness! You’re worse than Johnny! But good for you for reading up on everything. If it means you get a little extra back from Uncle Sam, it’s totally worth it!

  • Reply Brian February 4, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I have been a big TurboTax fan for years. My only beef is that I have to get two versions and one of the versions is only on windows, so I have to use boot camp on my mac. It’s just a bit annoying. Maybe I could avoid this using someone else, but I have everything in TurboTax for the last decade or so.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      That does sound annoying. We’ve only ever needed one version, so I don’t know of a scenario where two would be needed, but it would be nice if that other version were offered on something other than Windows.

  • Reply Ashley G February 4, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Awesome info! Looking forward to the post about zero exemptions.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks! It’s coming soon!

  • Reply Petrish @ Debt Free Martini February 5, 2015 at 6:45 am

    This is my first year doing my own taxes, and its because I no longer own a home so I didn’t think I needed to have someone crunch numbers when I’m already getting back pennies. I have to admit that it was quick and easy and even when things get a little more complicated with filing my taxes, I’m gonna try to file them on my own again.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Nice. As much as people dread it, for most of us, it’s surprisingly painless.

  • Reply Brittany February 5, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Yes – another vote for the zero exemptions post!

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Noted! It’s coming soon!

  • Reply Emily N. February 6, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    My father-in-law buys the Turbo Tax software and lets everyone in the family use it for their taxes, which makes it totally free for us! It’s very nice, since our taxes are a little bit on the complicated side–we work in two states and husband gets 4-5 W-2s in addition to his self employed/business earnings. I always managed to mess up when I tried doing my taxes by hand as a single person, so there’s no way I could handle these without some software!

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Nice. That’s a convenient set up. It really does take a lot of the confusion and hassle out of filing taxes, especially for people who have more to work through!

  • Reply Rina February 9, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I have been doing my own taxes since I was 16 from 1040ez to the 1040 long form. I use Tax Act and I always wondered why everyone wasn’t doing their own taxes. The program ask you questions step by step as long as you have all your w’2, 1099’s and what ever else its basically data entry and you don’t have to pay anyone to do the work for you.

    • Reply Joanna February 9, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Yep. Unless our taxes get super complicated for one reason or another, I don’t foresee us paying anyone else. It seems like such a daunting task, but with the software available today, it’s really pretty simple!

  • Reply Jonathan Craig February 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. Doing my own taxes this year and will definitely check out TurboTax.

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