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Posted: 12/27/2012 9:58:35 AM EDT
I'm thinking about doing my own this year. Yes, Yes...I know why with all the un-certainty in tax changes coming. Why? Because I'm fed up with being charged $400+ by my current tax guy. My father uses him for his personal and business taxes. He charged my Dad $480 for both! He charged me $440 and that was after I pre-filled most of the totals onto a re-cap document that he sends out every year. Usually it's around $250 to $300 looking at my records from 2010 back.

When I got bill for 2011, I called and asked why. He said "You had an usual tax return this year" His exact words! What was different you ask? I donated ALOT of baby/kids clothing, crib, baby stuff to goodwill....they give you a receipt, you fill in the amount....and you can use that as a charitable contribution. I didn't go crazy on the amount, I used $500 as the amt, easily could have put much more as most of the stuff wasn't used much, some not even at all. It was two truck beds full of stuff.

Nothing else changed, just a standard tax return, married/joint taxes with standard mortgage/child care/ healthcare cost deductions.

Am I overreacting? How easy is it with these tax programs to do your own, any advice?

Thanks for the help in advance guys
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:00:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 10:00:20 AM EDT by BURN]
I do not have any real deductions or own property or a business..

TURBOTAX for me all the way...
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:00:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 10:01:25 AM EDT by klinc]
I have done them myself forever until two years ago. The wife has her own businesses and income that I cannot even begin to fathom getting my head around the tax code for so CPAs do it from now on.

For personal stuff the programs did quite well for me.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:00:43 AM EDT
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:03:46 AM EDT
Mine are simple. Not the EZ form easy, but damn near. Only have a kid deduction. Dont pay enough interest on home loan to itemize. Takes me about 20 minutes on the H&R website
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:06:05 AM EDT
I own a business and have just settled on Turbo Tax.
I actually find it easier and it's cheaper


Speed
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:06:15 AM EDT
Turbo Tax
I've used it for the last 12 years and havent had a problem yet. I itemize like a mofo, and have never had a flag raised. $40 and 45 minutes a year is a lot less painfull than a trip to the accountant.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:06:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:09:59 AM EDT
I've used TurboTax for years, and never had a problem. The only time worth paying a good accountant is when you have plenty of deductions, then he/she could really comb through every deduction possible, and maximize the return. If it's a simple 1040 return, I'd give the computer a shot.

GlockMonk
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:11:04 AM EDT
Not hard

Matter of fact I quit Turbo Tax, I go to the post office, get blank forms and do it all by hand. I itemize and itemize everything I give to charity.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:11:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BURN:
I do not have any real deductions or own property or a business..

TURBOTAX for me all the way...

This. Even when my wife had a business and our house down in GA is now a rental. It takes care of everything for about $130 all said and done.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:12:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Woodsrider:
Turbo Tax
I've used it for the last 12 years and havent had a problem yet. I itemize like a mofo, and have never had a flag raised. $40 and 45 minutes a year is a lot less painfull than a trip to the accountant.


Me too.

When I last used an accountant, I was putting all the info together for him and all he did was basically fill out the form and charging me $350. That was when I decided that I would do them myself.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:12:43 AM EDT
CPA here (non-practicing, I do regular old accounting for a company). I do mine by hand. Most non-practicing CPA's I know are too cheap and too good to buy Turbo tax which is for the masses so a lot of us just do it by hand with paper and pen.

I wouldn't be afraid of new tax laws. Generally things that effect "normal" people are minimal and are usually just the tax rates which you get from a table anyways. Fill out the forms like the instructions say using the previous return as a guide and you'll do allright.

Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:13:39 AM EDT
Turbo tax is what I use.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:14:30 AM EDT
I do.

Honestly, while I use software, it's just not that difficult to do yourself, even by hand.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:15:46 AM EDT
What constitutes a simple return? Only deductions we claim are:

Depandent (2 daughters)
Childcare (partial since both are in school now)
Health care
Mortgage interest

Thats it basically, no business income, divdends, etc
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:17:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
What constitutes a simple return? Only deductions we claim are:

Depandent (2 daughters)
Childcare (partial since both are in school now)
Health care
Mortgage interest

Thats it basically, no business income, divdends, etc

That's pretty simple.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:18:45 AM EDT
A couple years ago I thought I was shorting myself by doing them myself so I paid to have a professional prepare my return. Then I did them myself and came up with the exact same totals. I do my own now and will continue until something changes making it more complicated. I'm a tight ass so I still use the paper forms and mail them in but have any refund (if I'm lucky enough to get one) direct deposited to save time.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:18:55 AM EDT
Unlike our Secretary of the Treasury I am able to use TurboTax and find it to be ,really,pretty simple.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:18:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 10:20:52 AM EDT by ricky_45]
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:21:40 AM EDT
I'm self-employed and we have some investment/royalty income and are startiong another side business.


I figure doing my own taxes, at this point, is about as smart as defending myself in court without a lawyer.

Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:24:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 10:24:52 AM EDT by ricky_45]
Originally Posted By arowneragain:
I'm self-employed and we have some investment/royalty income and are startiong another side business.


I figure doing my own taxes, at this point, is about as smart as defending myself in court without a lawyer.



Especially if you use "pen and paper" and make your own computations. The rules change constantly. It's work just keeping up with it all. With that said, using a good software like TT, which provides excellent guidance and free tax advice from CPAs and EAs, is a viable option to having a pro prepare.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:25:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 10:26:13 AM EDT by Staggunner]
I do mine and used to do everyones in the family. Mine are a bleedin' nightmare, weighs about a pound when I get it printed out.

Oh, and yeah, turbotax.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:27:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.


Thanks everyone for the advice. ricky_45 thanks for the offer, I may do that. As for my current CPA, I think it's time he and I part ways. He is a nice person, very friendly to talk to but I think he is over charging and his bullshit excuse last year really did it for me.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:28:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By BURN:
I do not have any real deductions or own property or a business..

TURBOTAX for me all the way...


Yep. It's easy.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:30:26 AM EDT
I do my own, standard deductions, usually have to file returns for 5 or 6 states too. Never had a problem with federal, but some of the non resident state returns are f'd up. The rare occasion I've made a mistake the state will send me either a check with a "you overpaid" note, or a bill with a "you screwed up" note.(never more than $15 either way) I used to pay a CPA to do it but their prices are constantly going up. It now takes me an hour or two and I can download all the forms and file most of them online.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:30:29 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:31:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:31:59 AM EDT
free H&R you can even pay them $30 when your done to have someone double check it.

It's pretty dang simple
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:35:02 AM EDT
we do our own taxes. Used to use the accountant but 250 bucks is money I would rather have in my own pocket, not his. Turbo Tax handles everything for ya. Super easy
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:39:46 AM EDT
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.


Thanks everyone for the advice. ricky_45 thanks for the offer, I may do that. As for my current CPA, I think it's time he and I part ways. He is a nice person, very friendly to talk to but I think he is over charging and his bullshit excuse last year really did it for me.


No worries. The funny thing about tax is, after everything in in the software, each year's preparation is extremely easy. Most people don't change what they are doing year to year. They get a few W-2s, have a mortgage, etc. In five minutes, I can take the info sent in, import it into the software and the return is populated. All I have to do is review for accuracy. That takes a few minutes. I can look at someone's tax documentation and know how their return should look within a few seconds. A CPA charging $350 for a basic return is making huge money. I've prepared returns in 30 minutes time, the CPA in charge bills $350 minimum. Sometimes, they charge even more, because they know the financial position of each client and know what they can afford to pay. I've seen billing sheets where the total time computed out a price of $312 and the partner would write "bill $490." Happens all the time.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:41:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:41:58 AM EDT
TURBO TAX!!

All you do is fill in the blanks. It walks you through everything. I highly suspect that many CPAs use turbo tax anyway to make their job easier.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:42:49 AM EDT
I use turbotax
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:42:53 AM EDT
I use H&R Block's TaxCut software...
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:43:51 AM EDT
Another vote for TurboTax. Have used it for years.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 10:45:24 AM EDT
Look at turbotax, it even allows you to enter charitable goods, clothes, etc. If your tax return isn't complicated, take a look at it. Look at your last years returns. Yes turbotax will have to figure pending tax mess because they have millions of customers. CPAs will be in the same boat, note, you can have a CPA check thru turbotax if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 11:12:39 AM EDT
Turbo Tax all the way. Super simple, you'll have no problem doing them yourself with such a simple tax situation you have.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 11:21:40 AM EDT
I itemize by hand on paper forms every year. It takes about 3 hours.

There's a learning curve to get started, but if you can read and add numbers you can do it. It's not one tenth as hard as the people making money off of it would want you to believe. You start with the first form, and it will direct you to all the other forms you need, and each form has an instruction book explaining how to do it.

Another thing: if you're really unsure of something, you can include a letter explaining why you included something the way you did. I've never had them contest it when I did that.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 11:24:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
I use H&R Block's TaxCut software...


I do mine and my fathers with TaxCut.

Link Posted: 12/27/2012 11:26:12 AM EDT
TURBOTAX!!! Used it for over 10 years. Very easy to follow. If you have a Discover Card, or have accounts at certain online investment firms, such as Vanguard, they offer discounts toward TurboTax also, when you use it online.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 11:55:53 AM EDT
I used to do it by hand every year.

Now I just use TaxAct or H&R Block online, whomever is offering the best "sale" at the time.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:36:29 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.


Thanks everyone for the advice. ricky_45 thanks for the offer, I may do that. As for my current CPA, I think it's time he and I part ways. He is a nice person, very friendly to talk to but I think he is over charging and his bullshit excuse last year really did it for me.


No worries. The funny thing about tax is, after everything in in the software, each year's preparation is extremely easy. Most people don't change what they are doing year to year. They get a few W-2s, have a mortgage, etc. In five minutes, I can take the info sent in, import it into the software and the return is populated. All I have to do is review for accuracy. That takes a few minutes. I can look at someone's tax documentation and know how their return should look within a few seconds. A CPA charging $350 for a basic return is making huge money. I've prepared returns in 30 minutes time, the CPA in charge bills $350 minimum. Sometimes, they charge even more, because they know the financial position of each client and know what they can afford to pay. I've seen billing sheets where the total time computed out a price of $312 and the partner would write "bill $490." Happens all the time.


I think this is exactly what is going on with my current former CPA. His son came into the business with him last year, I noticed a small increase in 2011 from 2010.....but now it's gotten to the point I'm pissed off. Especially since I do most the work for him in his "Tax Prep Sheets" all he does if verify. Sometimes he doesn't even look at my documentation. I sealed the documents in an envelope with a taped seal, this last year he didnt even look at them as the enevelope wasn't opened.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:44:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.


Thanks everyone for the advice. ricky_45 thanks for the offer, I may do that. As for my current CPA, I think it's time he and I part ways. He is a nice person, very friendly to talk to but I think he is over charging and his bullshit excuse last year really did it for me.


No worries. The funny thing about tax is, after everything in in the software, each year's preparation is extremely easy. Most people don't change what they are doing year to year. They get a few W-2s, have a mortgage, etc. In five minutes, I can take the info sent in, import it into the software and the return is populated. All I have to do is review for accuracy. That takes a few minutes. I can look at someone's tax documentation and know how their return should look within a few seconds. A CPA charging $350 for a basic return is making huge money. I've prepared returns in 30 minutes time, the CPA in charge bills $350 minimum. Sometimes, they charge even more, because they know the financial position of each client and know what they can afford to pay. I've seen billing sheets where the total time computed out a price of $312 and the partner would write "bill $490." Happens all the time.


I think this is exactly what is going on with my current former CPA. His son came into the business with him last year, I noticed a small increase in 2011 from 2010.....but now it's gotten to the point I'm pissed off. Especially since I do most the work for him in his "Tax Prep Sheets" all he does if verify. Sometimes he doesn't even look at my documentation. I sealed the documents in an envelope with a taped seal, this last year he didnt even look at them as the enevelope wasn't opened.


I know one firm I was at hated using the tax organizers because they were concerned that the clients would think "hey, I am doing a bunch of the work here." And, the client also begins to better understand the situation. With all of this said, taxes are more complicated than some of these posters make out. Yes, you can prepare you simple return with a few w2s and some itemized deductions. Start delving into selling business use property and recapture rules, or section 1244 issues, or any number of other issues I can name, and your philosophy on how simple returns are to complete will change instantly. Software helps stitch everything together and does not make computation errors.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:45:12 PM EDT
TurboTax for personal and business. By the time you get everything together the hard part's done; the rest is just plugging the numbers into the correct box.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:47:53 PM EDT
I do, but I am a CPA with over 15 years of experience doing other people's taxes.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:49:10 PM EDT
I do my own...I paid someone to do it only once and when I saw how easy it was I began doing it myself.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:49:32 PM EDT
I used to use Turbotax but now I use a tax guy with experience dealing with my industry's peculiarities. He takes 8% of my return.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:51:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Angelshare1:
CPA here (non-practicing, I do regular old accounting for a company). I do mine by hand. Most non-practicing CPA's I know are too cheap and too good to buy Turbo tax which is for the masses so a lot of us just do it by hand with paper and pen.

I wouldn't be afraid of new tax laws. Generally things that effect "normal" people are minimal and are usually just the tax rates which you get from a table anyways. Fill out the forms like the instructions say using the previous return as a guide and you'll do allright.



Another CPA here. I just started using TT two years ago. I have a shit-ton of strange investments, real estate ant limited partnerships and I itemize every year. There is no way that I could keep up with all of the code changes. $90 is cheap to feel confident about my return.

Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:52:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By ricky_45:
Originally Posted By JDeere7296:
Originally Posted By jeffco55:
$120 is cheap to avoid the hassle and to get the CYA.


My tax guy doesn't even give a CYA assurance, bill states to include 15% surcharge if I want that guarantee


Turbotax is a great option. TT has CPAs and EAs available for free tax advice when you are preparing your tax return. To answer your question about the preparation of returns by CPAs. I am a CPA and prepare tax returns every year. It is VERY easy. In fact, if you wanted me to prep your return, you could fax your tax docs, but taking pictures with your smart phone and uploading to a secure portal would be much easier. The received pics can be imported into the software, and the forms will automatically be populated. Some info does not always get in properly. The job of the CPA is to review the docs sent and make sure that the information is properly presented on the forms. It isn't rocket science.

I am currently considering having a new website developed that is mobile phone friendly. I may market this service for the 2012 year. People can upload their pix of their tax docs to a secure portal at the webpage. The docs get imported, forms are reviewed for accuracy, the return is then made available in the portal. The taxpayer prints the efile page, signs it, takes a pic with phone, uploads to portal, I efile the return. Extremely easy, and I will provide this service for a fraction of what CPAs are charging for basic returns. In fact, I intend to price my services closely to what it costs to buy software and do it yourself.

Last year I charged an average of $100 to prepare tax returns. Some folks I charged $50. As long as people get with the program and send in what is necessary and don't screw around with my time, I can prep returns for dirt cheap, and they are correct. Most CPAs charge a minimum 0f $200, and any firm with a few partners charge at least $300 for a basic return. This is way too expensive. Technology will cause prices to drop in the future.


Thanks everyone for the advice. ricky_45 thanks for the offer, I may do that. As for my current CPA, I think it's time he and I part ways. He is a nice person, very friendly to talk to but I think he is over charging and his bullshit excuse last year really did it for me.


No worries. The funny thing about tax is, after everything in in the software, each year's preparation is extremely easy. Most people don't change what they are doing year to year. They get a few W-2s, have a mortgage, etc. In five minutes, I can take the info sent in, import it into the software and the return is populated. All I have to do is review for accuracy. That takes a few minutes. I can look at someone's tax documentation and know how their return should look within a few seconds. A CPA charging $350 for a basic return is making huge money. I've prepared returns in 30 minutes time, the CPA in charge bills $350 minimum. Sometimes, they charge even more, because they know the financial position of each client and know what they can afford to pay. I've seen billing sheets where the total time computed out a price of $312 and the partner would write "bill $490." Happens all the time.


I think this is exactly what is going on with my current former CPA. His son came into the business with him last year, I noticed a small increase in 2011 from 2010.....but now it's gotten to the point I'm pissed off. Especially since I do most the work for him in his "Tax Prep Sheets" all he does if verify. Sometimes he doesn't even look at my documentation. I sealed the documents in an envelope with a taped seal, this last year he didnt even look at them as the enevelope wasn't opened.


I know one firm I was at hated using the tax organizers because they were concerned that the clients would think "hey, I am doing a bunch of the work here." And, the client also begins to better understand the situation. With all of this said, taxes are more complicated than some of these posters make out. Yes, you can prepare you simple return with a few w2s and some itemized deductions. Start delving into selling business use property and recapture rules, or section 1244 issues, or any number of other issues I can name, and your philosophy on how simple returns are to complete will change instantly. Software helps stitch everything together and does not make computation errors.


Oh I agree...I wouldn't even remotely want to try and dive right into tax accounting. Our current tax system is way too complicated, way more than it needs to be.
Link Posted: 12/27/2012 12:52:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2012 12:55:26 PM EDT by SparticleBrane]
My wife and I have a CPA do our taxes. The past few years have fluctuated around ~$150 for a simple return (a few W-2s, an HSA, college credits, a 1099...nothing crazy complicated). OP, if your CPA is charging you $400+ for what you described, you are being way overcharged.


Originally Posted By arowneragain:
I'm self-employed and we have some investment/royalty income and are startiong another side business.


I figure doing my own taxes, at this point, is about as smart as defending myself in court without a lawyer.

This is also how my wife and I view it.
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