Guess what happens when we get questions from readers? We answer them! So if you have your own question, click here and shoot it off to us. We’ll do our best to get back to you and give you an answer that isn’t totally incorrect.
The five seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter… and the worst of them all: tax season. And it occurs within the other worst season: winter (unless you live below the equator). So basically it’s the worst thing ever.
Maybe you’ve already done your taxes, and if you have, you’re not our landlord’s son. We’ve received three of his W-2s in the mail, and he hasn’t picked them up yet, despite emailing our landlord a few times. Up until this year, Johnny did our taxes in January or February. We have family members who are notorious for doing their taxes ON April 15th, or better yet, who ask for an extension on April 15th… Hi, Dad? We used to giggle at their slothfulness, but we ain’t giggling anymore. Our free time is limited with our darling 2-month old, and we’ve yet to have a free weekend to devote to our taxes. Sad trombone. When we get to it, we’ll post the method to our tax filing madness. Until then, we wanted to share an excellent question posed by an OFB friend and reader.
Hey guys —
I wanted to get your opinion on tax season. I’ve been using a CPA (that my family has known for years) for my personal taxes; however, he charges upwards of $300. Now that I’m in “full saving” mode, dishing out that sort of dough really hurts. Part of me wants to go to H&R Block and let them do it, but the idea of someone I don’t know doing my taxes just doesn’t feel right. Oh and one other thing, I don’t trust myself to do it with TurboTax.
Just wanted thoughts on what you guys use, and if you’ve tried different options, what were your experiences with those options?
Thanks and look forward to hearing back.
And here’s our answer:
You bring up a really good question. I think the answer differs depending on how complicated your tax filings are.
I’ll start with what we do.
Johnny and I use TurboTax. We’ve used it every year of our marriage, and it has always served us well. That said, our taxes aren’t too complicated. We both work for businesses full time, so we each have a W-2. And then we also do some freelance work, so we have 1099s as well. Our investments are limited, so nothing too difficult there. Our deductions aren’t too complicated with our career fields, so knowing what to write off has never been an issue.
That said, Johnny worked the first 8 months of 2012 as a contract employee only, so because our main source of income wasn’t as uncomplicated as usual, we have considered having someone else do our taxes this year. Still, if we did that, we would probably use a place like H&R Block. We don’t have investments or income in a lot of pots, so there’s not a lot of complexity there.
The day we would spend $300 on a CPA would be when we think he/she could find us at least $300 in tax savings that we wouldn’t be able to find ourselves… in other words, when it pays for itself.
So that’s what you have to ask yourself. Are your taxes complicated enough that your CPA will find $300 extra in savings that you won’t be able to find yourself? If using him will pay for itself in the long run, then I would suggest continuing to use him. Even if it hurts to spend the $300 now, it will be worth it if he saves you from giving Uncle Sam too much.
But if your taxes are fairly simple, be brave and give TurboTax a shot. The program walks you through every single step, and it catches all the typical write offs. And there’s something very empowering about knowing the process and seeing where your money goes. We’ve heard good things from friends who have used H&R Block, but we can’t personally speak to their credit.
Hope that answer helps!
Joanna (and Johnny’s input, too)
So what are your thoughts on the subject? What advice would you give? On a somewhat related note, I don’t think we’ll be trying out H&R Block this year after this happened. Yikes.