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heydude
2-16-11, 6:47pm
So on the news they took a guys taxes to 3 places: HR Block, Small Accounting Office, Turbo Tax Online. All three gave him a different result.

I do my taxes all by hand. I have some deductions and some credits, but nothing totally complex. It seems everyone is using a software or something, does anyone else do them 100% by hand?

Zigzagman
2-16-11, 6:54pm
For the last 10 years I have either used TurboTax or Taxcut for my taxes. For the most part it is because they can directly download my information from Fidelity. I have no debt, no deductions, no earned income, and very little money. I also write a check to the IRS every year >8)

Did they elaborate on the differences?

Peace

heydude
2-16-11, 7:21pm
Yeah, some missed that they put energy effecient windows in their home. Some used the cell phones as 100% job expense and some as just a percentage for job expense. One put the wrong number in (turbo tax, I believe). And one lumped their child care expenses together as for one child instead of as for 2.

sweetana3
2-16-11, 8:21pm
When I started with the IRS and for about 20 years after, we were able to compute taxes by hand. Now it is far to complex with so many financial relationships and special calculations that having the software is absolutely necessary. It has helped us to not forget some new deductions/credits and asked the appropriate questions of us to help determine eligibility.

It is very important to understand the software and carefully complete the questionaires in the exact order and without making any judgments or assumptions. Just because the name of the business is H&R or whatever, does not guarantee a quality product in these days of complex transactions. Even IRS employees have a hard time getting all the information out of the customers and into the computation programs. What comes out is only as good as what the employee understood and inputs into the program. We use Turbotax due to the download of our financial data and fairly complex transactions (business, stock, options, etc.)

Every year for over 20 years they have this same article in the newspapers. Yes, taxes are too complex and for that go to your congressman or Senator.

reader99
2-16-11, 8:41pm
I do, always have, except one year I used Turbo Tax because of rental property depreciation complexities and when I double checked the at IRS.gov, Turbo Tax was wrong. Back to by hand. I keep an excel spreadsheet all year long that is set up like the 1040, so I can see if I need to change any behaviors for tax purposes. then when it's tax time I fill out the paper forms.

rosarugosa
2-16-11, 8:47pm
Well, I do use a calculator. Does that disqualify me?

Yppej
2-16-11, 9:18pm
I do them by hand. They do seem complex - take the energy efficiency credit. I filled out Part 1 for new windows I put in and it looked good. Then Part 2 asks about more complex stuff like fuel cells, and you are supposed to subtract out what you claimed in Part 1 when filling out Part 2 which to me means if you haven't spent money on a Part 2 item you did the Part 1 item for nothing, so I just left he Part 2 page off and sent it in. I hope this doesn't screw up my taxes and I still get the refund I am supposed to get.

Fawn
2-17-11, 12:20am
Not anymore. I wasted Weekends!!! 72 hours+ figuring out what the tax guy figured out in minutes...plus I always errored on the "can't deduct for that" side, so I do WAY better when I let a professional do it.

ApatheticNoMore
2-17-11, 3:10am
Yes. I don't itemize.

I do however have investments, and what a pain in the rear they are!!! Oh my goodness, so yes I do my taxes by hand and by hair (I mean I pull out my hair while doing them :)). So hard, so complex, every single year, cruel and unusual (the tax code certainly qualifies as unusual) punishment. Maybe I really should pay someone I hate them so.

Dedicating a weekend to taxes is not at all unusual.

CatsNK
2-17-11, 9:53am
I do them 100% by hand. I hate using the computer. Most of the questions it asks aren't relevant to me - last time I did it with the computer it took FOREVER compared to doing it by hand. Plus I had to print out pages and pages. I do the 1040. It's really not that difficult. I don't itemize. I would certainly not pay someone to do what I can do by reading the instructions and being careful. If I itemized perhaps I'd think differently.

jennipurrr
2-17-11, 10:31am
Last year my taxes were about 50 pages, so no way! It is mammoth task just to do turbo tax.

Zoe Girl
2-17-11, 11:37am
I could see doing simple ones by hand, I used to do it by hand every year even with complicated ones. However the tax programs are cheap, we even found an online one that is free and e-files for my daughter to use her first year doing taxes. I double checked and it all looked fine,

JaneV2.0
2-17-11, 3:27pm
"It's really not that difficult. I don't itemize. I would certainly not pay someone to do what I can do by reading the instructions and being careful. If I itemized perhaps I'd think differently. "

I itemize, and I've done income averaging and other stupid tax tricks over the years, and the one year I thought I'd get all sophisticated and have a professional preparer do it for me, they screwed it up badly. I'd be perfectly happy to use pencil and paper indefinitely.

ETA: I'll never pare my shoes down to a couple of pairs, or willingly give up my car, or do a lot of things considered "simple living," but if i found my finances so complicated I couldn't manage them myself, I'd overhaul them immediately.

Tenngal
2-18-11, 11:24am
I still do them by paper. When a free option is offered online that is easy and within my income limit, I will try it.

rosarugosa
2-18-11, 7:51pm
Tenngal, The Free Fillable Forms are free of course, have no income limits, and are the same as the paper forms we've always filled out, but in online format. You just have to do a lot of data entry, which is a bit tedious, but not difficult.

lhamo
2-18-11, 7:54pm
Ours are pretty complicated -- have to file several special forms related to our overseas employment/income -- but I do them by hand. I actually find it kind of fun, if you can believe that. Of course, we usually get a decent refund every year, as we have some money deducted from DH's paycheck as a safety measure every year, but usually owe little to nothing (most of our income is excluded from US income tax due to our overseas residence).

lhamo

heydude
2-23-11, 7:38pm
"
ETA: I'll never pare my shoes down to a couple of pairs, or willingly give up my car, or do a lot of things considered "simple living," but if i found my finances so complicated I couldn't manage them myself, I'd overhaul them immediately.

LOL! EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!

NetTurtle
2-27-11, 7:27pm
Yup, by hand. Download the PDFs, fill them out, print them out, and mail them in. Over several weeks of rumination, waiting for the documents to come in. Could probably mail them now, but vaccillating over doing an HSA contribution.

Alan
2-27-11, 7:40pm
I did mine by hand from 1973 through 2005 and always waited until the very last minute to do them simply because it was such a chore (never do today what you can put off till tomorrow), many of those years it was a 5 to 6 hour process.
Since then, I've been using software to do them and then efile. Just finished last years today and it only took about 2 hours for Federal and State. I'll never do them by hand again.

Madsen
3-14-11, 1:06pm
I do mine by hand, and actually kind of like it. I don't itemize, don't have kids, don't have rental properties or a small business, so it's pretty easy.