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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/6/2005 3:40:16 PM EDT
Wife and I are finally going to be making some decent scratch, around $90k a year.

We have no kids.

We will have a mortgage (after not having one for 2 years).

We will have some moving expenses and closing costs on the house.

We invest, but in 401ks and Roth IRAs (no tax benes).

Don't own a business.

Seems to me, for the most part, that is a pretty easy tax issue - follow the forms, there ya go.

But I have people tell me all the time, "Oh, take it to a CPA/Tax specialist and they'll get you a LOT more money back."

I don't see how, unless they are cheating.

What say you?
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 3:43:36 PM EDT
Cheating is such a dirty word.....

Seriously though,

I would, only because they may be able to find you other things to deduct or position things better for less liability.

If you do it once, and feel comfy, use it as a guidepost for the next year's taxes and do them yourself.


But maybe just once to see if there is a benefit.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 3:46:32 PM EDT
Try www.turbotax.com I did it this past season and it said I owed $1200.00 I didn't trust it so I went to H&R Block. Turns out Turbo Tax was correct. Cost me $129.00 to find that out.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 3:51:08 PM EDT
Get someone that does taxes for a living. I do about 600 returns per year, and almost all of my customers from April 15 to Jan 15 are people that need help fixing their taxes after a CPA screwed them up.

The other issue is cost. I do most returns for $30, and most of the local CPA's charge 10 times that for a simple return but still do a horrible job. If you want to spend time talking to the CPA about your situation, it will cost you a tremendous amount of money. With someone that just does taxes for a living after April 15, you'll be more likely to get help for a reasonable amount since they'll need the work.z
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 5:32:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:
Get someone that does taxes for a living. I do about 600 returns per year, and almost all of my customers from April 15 to Jan 15 are people that need help fixing their taxes after a CPA screwed them up.

The other issue is cost. I do most returns for $30, and most of the local CPA's charge 10 times that for a simple return but still do a horrible job. If you want to spend time talking to the CPA about your situation, it will cost you a tremendous amount of money. With someone that just does taxes for a living after April 15, you'll be more likely to get help for a reasonable amount since they'll need the work.z



But honestly, is there some sort of "hidden" or special things that I just can't find out about, or that Turbotax doesn't know about, that a tax preparer like yourself could find? Honestly, it doesn't seem like MY situation is all that complicated.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 5:38:05 PM EDT

Honestly, it doesn't seem like MY situation is all that complicated.


It sounds like you're already doing your homework, so there's probably nothing a professional can help you with, but it's always nice to have a second opinion. It's nice for peace of mind.z
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:05:16 PM EDT
I do my own. Unless you have alot of capital gains I don't see much advantage for someone in your situation. The only real benefit is shirking SOME fo the responsibility if there is a mistake.

Long form and itemized deductions are a piece of cake, so are most of the other usual deductions.

I took mine to an accountant about 6 years ago and she made an error. Told her and she claimed no it's all correct. So next year, not liking how that went, I did my own and it was clear that she made the mistake I noted.

3 Years after that, I took it to another acountant, another chick(maybe that is the problem) because I had some capital losses and gains. Things got messed up again and then two years later I realized it, had to do amended returns. April 15th was pretty damn interesting that year.

No special deductions or savings for sure. From either.
I think it is just people who don't know how to do their taxes who think an accountant will save them money.

Last year, I ran it through turbotax, still took a long time(IMO) and I didn't like the result. Had to pay in, so I did it myself and came out exactly same. Damn. Took less time though. I guess I've been doing them for a lot of years. Except the 2 years I hired an accountant, I've been doing my own taxes since 1976.

So I just do my own, seems to work out better and is easier in the long run. Costs me nothing. I had all of my taxes done in a couple of hours last year. Before the investments I could do both in about 40 minutes. The capital gains crap is a real PITA.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:12:46 PM EDT
BTW, you can go on the IRS website and copy forms, schedules, find pdf instructions for everything, etc. Not too bad.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:22:08 PM EDT
I went to a CPA last year. Charged me way too much and did the same thing as H&R Block would have done for a lot less.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:27:25 PM EDT
god I hate taxes

Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:30:00 PM EDT
For what you've described, you should be able to handle it.
Just be sure to have all the duckies in a row: I did my own before kids and before multi-state tax issues (long story) and my refunds are what they are...FWIW: even though a pro does them, I check them: and have found errors twice in 10 years...YMMV
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:34:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LUGERMAN:
Try www.turbotax.com I did it this past season and it said I owed $1200.00 I didn't trust it so I went to H&R Block. Turns out Turbo Tax was correct. Cost me $129.00 to find that out.




H&R uses the same software. Those guys/gals are very minimally trained and by no stretch are they experts on taxes. They simply put your info into Taxcut.

If you want to be able to find more deductions goto a CPA.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:42:09 PM EDT
A good accountant can be your best friend.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 6:56:23 PM EDT
I've had a tax accountant doing my taxes since shortly after I retired from the Navy. NORMALLY, you might be able to do them yourselves without too much trouble or pain...BUT...when you start complicating your financial life with mortgages, investments, intest income property income, capital gains and losses, etc, etc, ad nauseum, you then will need someone to sort it all out.

Sometimes, like an airline pilot flying a plane that darn well flies itself...sometimes something goes terribly wrong and THEN you really need a pro.

Last year I got my fuzzy butt in a HUGE pissing contest with the IRS over my 2003 taxes. They claimed I owed them an additional $15K and the state of course wanted their cut as well.

The letters and forms flew back and forth for weeks. Their forms were so farging complicated and their jargon so esoteric, I was unable to make heads or tails of what they were really after...except for the bottom line!

Phone calls did absolutey NOTHING! My accountant assured me that for the most part, the people at the IRS offices are total blivet drones not trained to think. When they see something out of the ordinary...they simply react...sort of like a primitive life form. He told me to send all of the stuff to him. He filled out the necessary forms and mailed them back with clear and unabiguous statements to the drones. Sort of like the 8X10 color glossies with arrows and a paragraph on the back???

They've been auditing me for some time now...in the hopes of catching a big cheater I guess...but since I and my accountant play 100% STRICTLY by the rules...the morons haven't got me yet. After they received the last letter from us, they sent back a curt one-pager stating that the case was closed...but I still owed $37 in interest...which in reality was less than we figured! BOZOS!!!

Hire a full time accountant. You won't regret it. Plus....his/her fees are deductable!
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 7:12:56 PM EDT
I agree with zoom.

I found a guy here in town that ran a tax service. Former Marine and he HATED the IRS. What's not to like about the guy? $25 each year bought me peace of mind. But all I really had was child support and rotating dependency. I wasn't sure how that would work out, so I hired it out.

He died a few years ago and now I do it myself. Still don't have anything more complicated, but now I know how it's done.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 7:17:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LWilde:


Hire a full time accountant. You won't regret it. Plus....his/her fees are deductable!



Depends on your income. I have never been able to deduct it.
Just a FWIW.

I am sure not opposed to accountants, that would be foolish, but for most people with a brain and not alot of investments, I don't see the need.
If you have your own business that is another story. They can make sure you set yourself up to take most advantage of tax laws. Same with alot of capital gains/losses.

YMMV.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 7:25:27 PM EDT
You know, come to think of it I my exprience mirrors what Rebel_Marine just said.

I would say, as a rule-of-thumb, if you can do your taxes on the 1040A or 1040EZ forms you'll likely be wasting your money hiring someone to do it for you.

If you need to use a Form 1040 long form you very well may benefit from hiring someone to figure it for you.
Link Posted: 8/6/2005 7:31:50 PM EDT
J

ust dumping a folder of paper at a CPA's office isn't what you need. You need him to help TEACH you what to look for and what to do.

If it is simple, do it yourself the next year. Maybe have a CPA every 3rd year or so.

Shop around. Most people find an accountant by word of mouth...that may be good or not. If your friend is an idiot....

Get names from people you like/trust that seem to manage $$ well and get the name of their accountant.

Call them and interview on the phone and get an idea how much they charge.

Go in Feb, not April!!

Mine sucks and I am currently following my own advice for next year!!!

Link Posted: 8/7/2005 4:01:50 AM EDT
Thanks, guys. One thing I forgot to mention is that my wife MIGHT (God, if you are up there, PLEASE let this happen) be staying with her job when we move but working out of the home. Ergo, she will have a "home office" and, from what I understand, be able to use that as a deduction (the square footage, part of the power and utilities, etc.) but I realize this could become complicated.

Link Posted: 8/7/2005 4:22:22 AM EDT
I was listening to Steve Forbes yesterday on the radio. He related a story where an organization, can't remember the name he mentioned, had 45 tax professionals do the same families taxes.
They came back with 45 different returns with thousands of dollars in difference.
The tax code is some 9,000 pages and as a point each department of the IRS is not allowed to know the complete code.
There are only a few people in this country who know what it actually says and how everything applies. According to the late Senator from NY, Patrick Moynahan, congress did not read the last tax code they passed.
My advice to you is to find an account, or tax attorney, that can show you the liability for Section 1 taxes, which is the section that imposes taxes on individuals. Good luck in finding that person because he or she does not exist.

www.restoretherepublic.org
Link Posted: 8/7/2005 4:30:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By LUGERMAN:
Try www.turbotax.com I did it this past season and it said I owed $1200.00 I didn't trust it so I went to H&R Block. Turns out Turbo Tax was correct. Cost me $129.00 to find that out.



+1 on TurboTax. I was paying a CPA to do my taxes for a few years and then I found out he too was using Turbo Tax. Just pick it up install it and it is KISS easy. The program holds your hand through every step. Can't go wrong.
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