Tax prep. programs

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  #1  
Old 01-28-07, 01:41 PM
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Tax prep. programs

Anybody have any comments good/bad ,about these tax programs like Turbo tax, you do your self?
 
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  #2  
Old 01-28-07, 04:24 PM
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I love Turbo Tax. Haven't used anything else. Nothing to bad to say about it. I don't know how much simpler it could get. They ask the questions, you answer with what you have.
 
  #3  
Old 01-28-07, 04:26 PM
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Everyone I know who uses a tax program uses Turbo.
 
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Old 01-28-07, 04:43 PM
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Thanks Diy and twelve.
Iv'e have heard good things about Turbo Tax and wanted to get
some opinions.
 
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Old 01-28-07, 05:37 PM
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Thumbs up

Go with it, I love it.
 
  #6  
Old 01-28-07, 06:03 PM
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i use h and r blocks program. it always gives me a higher refund. most of these programs can be had for free. the fees are when you file. try several and see which gives you the best results.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 05:27 AM
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Thanks everybody. I asked because i was paying a tax person $300-$400
for what i consider easy returns. Being retired and in the 15% tax bracket didn't make much sence to me.
 
  #8  
Old 01-29-07, 05:56 PM
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H&R Block Tax Cut is very easy to use and seems to get easier and more intuitive each year. And it may well be the same program your tax guy is plugging your info into! If you're in doubt, you might want to get the cheapest version (about $20) and load in your info and see how you do compared to the 'pro.' You'll probably do better than the pro - and you can use the $300 on something more satisfying.
 
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Old 01-29-07, 08:00 PM
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I've never used a program. I just get the forms and look up the instructions in the book provided if I have a question on a line. Once I even called the IRS help number and got through quickly to someone who knew enough to answer my question. Bottom line is that income tax preparation for most people is just not complicated enough to justify paying someone unless you just don't want to do it.
 
  #10  
Old 01-30-07, 05:38 AM
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I am considering the "old" way of doing taxes also. Sitting at the kitchen table and filling out the tax forms.
 
  #11  
Old 01-31-07, 05:26 PM
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for me, it's well worth the 9-20 bucks (on the irs site there are even free ones) to just type in a few answers. doing it the old way involves so much more that the program now does without you ever knowing. It took me less than 10 minutes to do and file my taxes this year. It helped that the h and r block program allowed me to automatically import info from last year also. same kids, job, house, etc.
 
  #12  
Old 01-31-07, 05:44 PM
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Your right. I remember how much i hated to do the paper forms,and besides,the government keeps changing the tax forms every year.
 
  #13  
Old 01-31-07, 07:46 PM
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Wow mitch17, to you. I tried doing it by paper and by myself once and I thought I was going to die. I believe it's possible, but I never finished. It's a lot to read, but with the programs like Turbo Tax...one can't go wrong (I hope!)...

I mean, basically, it's like...

What is your name?
Where do you work?
What is line 12 on your W2 form?

How hard could that be? On paper it's just way worse so I truly give you I'm not worthy!
 
  #14  
Old 02-01-07, 06:22 AM
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Question DIY Tax Filing

Good Subject...

There may be a need for more detailed info and/or answers to questions.
A few listed below. Anyone care to provide more info?

Someone care to provide the link(s) to the IRS on-line site?

Is the IRS site free to use? Or is there a fee to file there also?

Can you stop or pause once started when using the IRS site?

Can you stop or pause once you in install a purchased CD and resume at a later time? Like waiting for phone help or completing next day, etc.

Purchased CD is an installed on the hard drive program?
Remove when done or leave it installed?

Is there some means to save a filed return?
An ability to print and/or save to hard drive?

Does the IRS site have any advantages over a purchased CD version?

How many versions is there between all the Cd's?
A simple version and a more complex version?
Versions for different states?

Questions some of us (I am one) whom has never done my own taxes nor done so in this manner may have. Be interested to know. Thanks.
 
  #15  
Old 02-01-07, 06:39 AM
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I logged into this IRS site: www.irs.gov/efile/index.htm
This site will take you through the filing process with options.

You can also google TURBOTAX H&R BLOCK. I'n sure there are a passel of sites.
 
  #16  
Old 02-01-07, 09:19 AM
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Mr.() Sharp Advice,

Are your questions strictly regarding the Turbo Tax/H&R Block programs?

Instead of "buying" the Turbo Tax (for example) program (go the store...buy the program...it comes on a CD), you can go buy and download the program online and get info there, do your taxes online, e-file or print out and mail in. Since I'm familiar with the Turbo Tax program, I will speak in terms of this particular program. The benefit of going to the store and purchasing the program, some stores have rebates and other offers that go with it.

When you go to Turbo Tax online (www.turbotax.intuit.com) you can select which program would work best for you, agree to the terms and proceed. You produce a user name and password if you want. Best to do so, that way you can stop in the middle of the program (doing your taxes) and continue later on...another hour, a day later, etc.

This program is really easy to use. It takes you step by step (basically, they ask the question and you answer it). If you still become unsure of what the question is about, they have/show more information about it. It's that simple. Instead of having to research the information online...it's right there! I have heard as well, you will need to check for updates on the program. The program will prompt you to it so it's best to do so.

Turbo Tax has a free edition (for Federal)- I believe this is as basic as it can get. They have as well a Deluxe edition (Deduction Maximizer), Premier(Investments), Home & Business (Schedule C). So, you choose which one is best for you. For instance, if you have no investments...obviously you would not pick the Premier (Investments) program.

I would strongly advise you to go online and check it out for more information. Once you or anyone does this, you can get a better feel of the program and know what it's all about. Get started on the free Fed one just to see what it's all about. Roam around and read.

As far as saving and deleting the program itself, I cannot say b/c I am not very computer literate and I do things the old fashion way...make myself a copy of the return and file it in a folder. I keep it in my computer as well.

Holy cow...I should advertise for them! BTW: I AM NOT advertising here. I would give a for H&R Block tax programs and others out there as well.

...one more thing if you are still reading...

Turbo Tax will do the calculation for you based on what you input AND review for errors. It will also ask what state you are in and provide you with the correct forms and what information is necessary.
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 02-01-07 at 10:10 AM. Reason: More info
  #17  
Old 02-01-07, 04:33 PM
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Thanks DIYaddict for all the additional information. Well explained and detailed. I am now sure I know more about using either tax program, Turbo Tax or H&R Block. As well as all others whom will be reading this thread.

I did have two requests besides my own for additional info on this subject. Why those asking me did not post is unknown. Maybe now they will....

To all whom contributed helpful advice thus far, thanks.

To everyone that does so in the future, thanks too....

Much appreciated....
 
  #18  
Old 02-01-07, 05:31 PM
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both programs are very simular. extra features cost more. online or cd, you can stop and start at will. it saves every time you answer.
Free file is basically links to companies who file your taxes for free but have hopes of selling you other products, more or less. On the list is h and r block and turbo tax. there are also companies which specialize in just certain states, or for military personel.
here is a link to "free file" on the irs site:
http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html
The Free File program is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for eligible taxpayers developed through a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. Since Free File’s debut in 2003, more than 15.4 million returns have been prepared and e-filed through the program.

Free File allows taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less in 2006 to e-file their federal tax returns for free. That means 70 percent of all taxpayers – 95 million taxpayers – can take advantage of the Free File program.
* Free File is a free service offered by companies for taxpayers with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less.
* Before selecting a company link, review the tax software company’s criteria to confirm that you meet their eligibility for preparing and e-filing your federal return for free.
* Fees for state tax returns may apply. Some companies offer free state tax return preparation and e-filing. Check company websites for more details.
* Some companies offer extensions for free.
* Some companies offer free e-filing of the Form 1040EZ-T, Telephone Excise Tax Refund, for those who want to claim the refund credit and are not required to file a federal income tax return.
* You are under no obligation to buy any of the company’s other products or services.
* Versión en Español
 
  #19  
Old 02-06-07, 09:58 AM
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It was so much easier working under the table.
 
  #20  
Old 02-07-07, 03:56 PM
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What I don't get is why I got more back last year than this year (and I made way less last year as well!)?!

Box one in the W2 form reads about 11.5 thousand and then box 2 reads about 1 thousand, and so my return was like $400! How does that work? I went to a professional service but the lady was Chinese and so when I told her that last year I made less yet got more, she tried to explain it but I didn't get one bit of it. I guess it was something about my parents claim me as a dependant and that affects it....but I'm just not clear. She also said something about $3,300 for everybody in exemption or something?! Can anyone clarify all of this for me and what factors affect the income amount?!

Thanks all!

Truly,
John

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***Moderator's note: Duplicate post created in the Home Business and Home Office topic has been deleted***
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 02-08-07 at 12:31 PM. Reason: see note in post
  #21  
Old 02-08-07, 09:26 AM
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I think the first thing you need to understand is what an "exemption" is right?

There are 2 exemptions you can claim.

1) Personal exemption
2) Exemptions for your dependent (if any)

These exemptions are a way for you to deduct an additional amount of money from your GROSS income. This then lowers your taxable income AND lowers the tax you owe.

If you can claim these exemptions, you are allowed to deduct a specific amount of money from your GROSS income. So for instance, for the 2006 tax year, I believe you can deduct $3,300 for each deductible exemption.

Now, you might ask what a PERSONAL EXEMPTION is.

Let's just assume you are single. If you're single, you can claim a personal exemption for yourself, UNLESS you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer. In this case, if your parents claimed you as a dependent, you cannot claim a personal exemption for yourself. So...since you can't claim a personal exemption for yourself, you don't get to deduct any specified amount from your gross income, therefore, it will not lower your taxable income nor lower the tax you owe. Now remember, this is for the "single" scenario as I made an assumption here.

Hope this helps some.
 
  #22  
Old 02-08-07, 05:36 PM
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I think next year i'm having DIYaddict do my taxes!!
 
  #23  
Old 02-08-07, 06:08 PM
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Yes, that did help! Thanks. But what I have a hard time wrapping my mind around is the whole taxation process I guess. So we work and pay taxes which are automatically deducted from our paychecks. That part I understand. But then at the start of the next year, why do we have to "file for taxes" and do all of that when the taxes are already being held somewhere? Is it that they are being held by our employers and when we "file for taxes," we get back whatever we are entitled to, then the rest our employer sends to the IRS? Is that how it works? And within the taxing process there are loads of rules and regulations such as the exemptions and all of the rest of the rules, correct?

As you can see, I have a very confused idea of the taxing process here! If you can clarify that, I would appreciate it greatly!

Thanks!
John
 
  #24  
Old 02-09-07, 11:35 AM
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Wow! You really are into this! Good questions that probably a lot of new tax payers have.

I think this article will help you out:

http://money.howstuffworks.com/income-tax3.htm

Take the time to read it b/c it's good stuff to know
 
  #25  
Old 02-09-07, 04:43 PM
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basically and very simply, each paycheck pays in an "estimated" amount. At the end of the year, you know exactly how much you earned, and how much you paid. You do your taxes to see if you paid to much, to little, or just right. Alot of us like to pay more than we need to cause we like that big refund. I could actually change my tax info so that i get more money with each paycheck (less taxes taken out) or vice versa. I actually change my tax info once a year when I get my vacation check, so i get the most amount to spend,( i gained almost $200.00 this year) then change it back in a couple weeks. Ideally, the goal is to come out so you owe/are owed zero dollars.
yes, there are loads of rules. to many to even begin to go into. And other groups have other rules, whether they are tax exempt, self employed, etc.
There should be loads of placves online that will help you undrstand the basics of your paycheck, and what happens to all that money you don't get.
 
  #26  
Old 03-05-07, 05:19 PM
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Thanks for that link! That helped out a lot!

I had a question for anyone who used TurboTax online (or even the software)...if a person is itemizing their charitable/deductible items (such as donations and medical bills, etc.) do they have to send down specific forms with their income tax return e-file application? I have some but they're like $500 max donations and TurboTax said "Get organized:" and listed a bunch of things that I would need and so now I'm wondering if I have to send those documents down somehow with my e-filed application?

Thanks!

Regards,
John
 
  #27  
Old 03-05-07, 07:37 PM
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John, I am no tax pro so read your forms carefully as well and check back here.

It's my understanding you won't need to send any of that paper work in. Have you completed your taxes? At the end of the "session", it should tell you specifically what forms/papers to send in.

Just be sure to keep anything and everything you've used to do your taxes (copies and/or original: W2's, receipts, charitable stuff, medical bills, etc.) in a file for your records.
 
  #28  
Old 03-05-07, 08:34 PM
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Just for giggles, here is the original 1040 form from 1913.

http://arapaho.nsuok.edu/~yeutter/1913_1.GIF

Ahhh, progress.
 
  #29  
Old 03-06-07, 03:19 PM
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WOW. That was before ANY of us were born! Too bad things aren't as simple as that anymore! Yeah...I really can't read any of the words, but it looks simpler.
 
  #30  
Old 03-06-07, 03:39 PM
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download it to your desktop and open with windows viewer. you can magnify from there.
notice there is no refund line. tax was 1 percent of figured gross over 20,000.00 then it was an extra 1 percent per 25,000.00
the highest page reference to a tax book is page 3!
 
  #31  
Old 03-07-07, 06:41 PM
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Diyaddict, no I haven't e-filed yet, but that's what my question was, do they make a person send those docs to some place after you e-file online? I should probably continue with my application and see what it says though, shouldn't I?
 
  #32  
Old 03-07-07, 07:23 PM
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I don't remember if you have to or not but I don't think you have to. I've never e-filed personally b/c it costs money to e-file and I like saving every penny

See here:

http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=98294,00.html#Q8

In any case...when you complete the process, read what it says...it should be pretty simple and self explanatory.

Don't worry. Keep asking. After your first time all the way through you'll feel more comfortable doing it next year if you choose to do so
 
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