TurboTax. I've used it the past three years and it's grade-A awesome. The amount of things you can deduct blows my mind.
So need a good recommendation for online filing since getting the paperwork to file here requires a 4 hour drive and fuck that noise.
Anybody have a site they've been using regularly and feel is reliable? Preferably one that does both federal and state taxes.
TurboTax. I've used it the past three years and it's grade-A awesome. The amount of things you can deduct blows my mind.
unless you have kids with an ex, own a small business, are a dairy farmer, or have earned income attained while in federal prison you definitely need to just hit up turbotax.
1099-div, 1099-b, 1099-r, all very common and will be accounted for.
Yep always use turbotax myself too. It's a little scary since you don't want to fuck up, but almost every menu on their site is straightforward.
If you earned income from multiple states(countries?) you may have some trouble.
For those of you doing taxes in Canada, try: http://www.studiotax.com/
It's free and NETFILE certified. Been using it for a couple years now and it's quite good. It does linked spousal returns, which is handy.
But does it do federal AND...provincial(?) returns for free?
I hate our lobbying system so much.
The web site seems to indicate that the entire program is free, period. It would appear that the only separate institution to have to agree to its use is Revenue Québec (surprise, surprise) and that otherwise, it's good for the rest of Canada according to CRA.
Hate to be the first Turbotax basher, but my wife and I did ours for 5 years with Turbo tax, and twice we got a letter 6 months letter saying we owed more money. It wasn't an error on our part either: I looked up the one forms generated from turbo tax and the form said something like "If box 1 > 5000 enter a 5000, else enter 2500." Turbo tax put a 0.
So the options are 5000 or 2500. And it put a 0.... nice...
For you Turbo Tax users.. let me present a situation and you tell me if it's TT or CPA worthy:
Worked in two different States
Rolled a 401k over from Vanguard to Fidelity
Started new 401k/Roth.
Looks like a professional situation to me, but I would be willing to try TT.
The two states wont be an issue because each of your W2's will have state tax on them so TT will know where to put them. If you didn't move this year and were just border hoping then it should be ok.
All you need from school is your 1099-T which shows how much you paid, scholarships etc., and is easy to plug in. If you had some sort of 1099-Q (Think Health Savings Account but for school) it gets a little more complicated but not undoable.
Starting the new IRA is fine as all you need is the 1099-R and shows what you contributed, the tax etc.
Where you run into problems is the rollover ESPECIALLY if it is from a simple/traditional to a Roth or vice versa as there is all kinds of things you need to do with taxing now, later, etc.
The TL;DR of it is if you didn't have the rollover I would just do TT but with that, (adjusts his glasses and coughs) I would see professional help
As a sidenote for all of you out there thinking of getting an accountant never NEVER go to one of the big 4 or "big firms" unless you run Microsoft or something. It is always in your best interest to seek a local "mom and pop" accountant. Now with that said, try to find an accountant who has an office somewhere and not doing it out of his house unless you know him VERY WELL as the possibility for fraud / fuck ups is insane. Look for someone who bills anywhere from $100-$225 ish an hour. Any more then that, and you are just:
A return like yours would take me at most 30 minutes or so and I bill $125 an hour but keep in mind that if you go through an office, there are admin / overhead costs that get added in as well.
Fuck HR Block
edit: I fail at adding gifs.
Last edited by Wuyley; 02-28-2013 at 12:45 AM.
Bill by the hour? We only do that for audits, organizing YOUR shit, etc. Otherwise we charge by form (and I want to say *most* do, but not 100% on that).
Also, you had me, until you mentioned "accountant" =/
Well the client doesn't actually see the hour billing as that is only placed on an internal form. All they see is you owe X dollars. If you ask the accountant up front all the good ones will be honest on their prices.
1099-T's, 1098-E's if you've started paying back those loans
You know you can try turbotax and get to the way end before paying? By now, you should have received all relevant tax forms. Make sure turbotax asked you for information from each form. If not, go back and hunt down where to enter it.
I'd honestly recommend doing it this way because you learn about your taxes. For example, my "financial advisor" at Ameriprise couldn't wait to get his grubby mitts on one of the 401k accounts I was rolling over. Douchebag recommended that I cash out the account and then mail it to them because it saves a couple weeks. Out of the time it takes a retirement account to mature, who gives a fuck? So even though the money never even entered my bank account, of course I get a 1099-R that says I need to be taxed. I enter the form in turbotax and it has a question asking if I moved the money to another retirement account within 60 days. Taxes rightfully avoided! Stupid advisor was useless because when I emailed him to double check, fucker said he couldn't give tax advice :|
I've used turbotax twice for moving benefits received from new jobs. I don't think a professional is needed until you start doing stuff that isn't summarized for you on a neat form around January 31st. You know, small business shit. International bank accounts and assets, etc.
I've always done my own taxes (finance degree), but this year the state taxes are fucking me up. I'm considering TurboTax for state, but I'm leery that even it will screw it up.
I lived in Illinois from January - July, and California from July - December. My wife lived in Illinois for all of 2012.
I have a small W-2 with Illinois (seriously small, like $400). The rest of my income was earned in California.
All of my wife's income, obviously, was in Illinois.
Illinois and California both appear to have rules on their forms say I have to use my federal filing status on the state taxes. What that means is if I file jointly for federal, I have no fucking clue how to go about doing state, since essentially the incomes were earned separately. I've had this happen before with multiple states (Illinois and Kentucky), but they were reciprocal states and so it was easy enough.
If I file separately on federal, I could just do my wife's state in Illinois and mine in California. But that stupid small paycheck fucks that up since I also have Illinois income.
Should I just throw it all into TurboTax and see what happens? Or does anyone here have any advice on how to file? I really don't want to pay someone to do my taxes, since our income was pretty low (about $39,000 gross, due to me working 5 months).
As stated above, you can fill out everything on TurboTax without actually paying for it. Wouldn't hurt to take the time to go through the whole process to see if it can do it for you.
Elurin you are making it way more complicated than it is =P I should imagine Turbo Tax can handle this.
turbo tax is great
How I feel every year doing taxes:
Bro come on.
Here's how I feel when I get my refund. (If any, fucking Obama)
It also wants to charge $27.99 PER state return. So fuck that. I'll just wing it and the states can figure it out.
Turbo Tax charges everyone for state returns I think, unless I'm just a sucker. The federal return is free.
Yeah, I just meant it's per state. So $55.98 for my state returns. Fuck that noise.
Anyone familiar with putting in wrong information for your direct deposit? I put in checking but used my savings account #. I read online that they will mail you a check when it gets kicked back to them that the direct deposit didnt work... Only problem is I should have received the direct deposit on 2/18/13 and haven't heard anything.
Sucky. Don't hold your breathe, it can take a while to reach you. 12 days is nothing bro.
Read today the IRS is not even processing returns till March 1st (today) that had a number of forms with it and one of those was mortgage interest.
FYI you can check the status of your refund here: https://sa1.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/...fgetstatus.jsp
It's quite accurate, I'd been following mine since the day after I submitted it and I received it on exactly the day that website said I would.
I am still missing one of my W-2s. My employer had incorrectly withheld FICA taxes (which I don't have to pay as a non-resident). That's going to be fun to resolve.
The list that was delayed till March 1st had about 25 forms on it, most of them I had never heard of. The home mortgage credit was on that list so I don't know what the deal is if you already got a refund with it.
Because of the delays at the start of the season it has pushed everyone trying to get CPA work done into a smaller window. I'm still waiting on one 1099. Doesn't matter to me personally as long as my CPA gets it all done before the filing date. Haven't had a refune in over 20 years.
Can someone explain how tax brackets work?
For instance, I went from making 15k a year to 95k a year so I know I'm in a different tax bracket but I don't know what that entails for me.
Depends on your filing status, but you get taxed a certain percent on the amount that falls into that bracket.
For a single filer,
$0 to $8,700 is taxed at 10%, so a max of $870.
$8,701 to $35,350 is taxed at 15%, so a max of $3,997.50 (plus the $870 from the previous bracket, $$4,867.50)
$35,351 to $85,650 is taxed at 25%, so a max of $12,575 (plus the two previous brackets, $17,442.50)
That's why a pay raise will never decrease the amount of money you make due to paying more taxes. Once you hit the top of the tax bracket, you're not getting taxed anything additional on that bracket. The tax brackets are also on adjusted gross income minus deductions, not gross. Which means you can decrease your taxable income with deductions so you fall into a lower tax bracket.
So you making $95,000, can reduce your gross to somewhere in the 25% bracket.
Or, if you have an army of accountants (like Mitt Romney), you can reduce your millions of dollars in income so much that you're only paying 13% or whatever (that also includes the fact that capital gains, which are in the first section of income on the 1040, are taxed at 15%).
No, getting married in August though so we'll see how that works out. I think that's the only change I'll see this year as the house will take some time.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf. It's also 14 pages long.
I've worked for the IRS for 5 years doing all 1040 stuff until a medical leave kicked in, but I still use the free turbotax or taxact. Depends on how much information I have to sync in is the only reason I'd use Turbo.
Also, As long as you owe less than $1,000 come April 15, you don't get any additional penalties of late payments, etc. I've kept our refunds under $25 and only owed more than $100 once in the last 7 years. (This is the short explanation, I could write a novel explaining this) My goal is to let the government earn as little interest off my money as possible.
For the last 18 months I've gotten permission to file returns for individuals instead of working the government side of things. (On top of about a dozen small business book keeping jobs) I rarely charge more than $50, but this is because it's all lower income people asking for help getting crazy benefits from earned income credit. I can't take advantage of any welfare refundable credits that are paid out of social security, it makes me feel dirty. I don't advertise this service either, I only do it because I can help more people than I was when the Treasury Department paid 100% of my bills.
edit. Fixed link
Last edited by Vlett; 03-04-2013 at 06:35 PM.
The first $8,700 you make is taxed at 10%. Now let's say you make $9,000 and are now in the 15% tax bracket. This doesn't mean you're entire $9,000 income is now taxed at 15%. Rather, the first $8,700 are still taxed at 10%, and only the additional $300 are taxed at 15%.
The same applies as you go up into higher brackets.
So I use H&R Block to efile my taxes. I've used them almost exclusively over the past 5 or 6 years. I feel they cover the bases pretty well, and I am getting back all I should be. That being said, this year is really starting to piss me off. I did my taxes, double checked them, and filed them.. back on Feb 8th. I received an email notice on Feb 9th saying that the IRS has accepted my filing, and I should be receiving my direct deposit in 7-10 business days. Needless to say, I've not received it.
Some ladies at my work filed before me. They've received their returns in about a week. A buddy of mine filed about a week and a half after me. He's received his return also. Somewhere in the middle, my taxes got held up. There's no information on them, no reason why that I can see. The 'Find my Refund' link tells me the same thing every day ..."Your taxes are still being processed. Please check back later."
There's nothing terribly complicated by my taxes. I file single, don't make absurd amounts of money, and I own my own house. The house part adds some minute level of difficulty I suppose, but not much. I've always done my own taxes, and even with worrying about Interest Paid and Mortgage Premiums, I've never struggled getting through them.
The only thing i can think of is the Free Obama Loan. I purchased my house when the real estate market was just gaining stride with it's plummet. At the time, the government was offering a tax-free loan of 1200 or so, to be paid back over the next X years. Every year, they automatically withhold a portion of my tax returns for this. That's fine, I understand what it's for, and I'm completely cool with it. I wish there was better information on how to just 'pay' it on the IRS site, but it's really not that important to me. I'm OK letting them take it back little by little over the course of time. Is it possible this would be slowing down the process though? It never has in the past... but it's the only thing I can think of.
Anyways, maybe one of you accounting-type folk have some insight into wtf is going on at the IRS this year (Vlett?). I know they've had a splurge of people wanting their returns back the last month, and they've had a difficult time keeping up with them. But I think a month is getting a tad on the long side. I'm willing to listen to any good tips or suggestions for expediting the process.
Do you have one of the numerous forms that cause a delay in processing? There were a couple lists of forms which, if you used one, would cause your return to be delayed. Mine took a month because I had the Lifetime Learning Credit.
I didn't mean to if I did McCheese. I suppose that's as likely a reason as any, but damn. I think a month is more than enough time to kick back a return. Hell, they've already had my money for a year...
Without knowing exactly what you filed I can only speculate. I recommend you calling 1-800-829-1040. If there is a math error (a letter will be generated) then you can authorize a fix over the phone. If nothing is wrong they'll tell you exactly what date your refund will hit. Don't call on a Monday.
Thanks for the quick reply Vlett. I was just about to give that phone number a try, when I checked online for one last 'just in case'. Turns out they FINALLY have a date on there, and I should be receiving my refund next week. So I'll spare them the angry phone call, as really I just wanted to know where my money was.
Cool. I'm glad it worked out.
I wish I could get money back...
Owned a few K this year... >.<
I'd much rather end up on the refund side of things than the owing side of things, just not a lot. I have everything pretty dialed in to where we get between $0-$500 back each year.
Well, unless you're making $6mil a year. I'd gladly pay taxes if that was my annual income.
Yes it is "smart" to get as close to 0 as possible but out of how many millions out there who get a tax refund would have actually saved up that same amount of money if they weren't over-taxed? I am guessing about 3.
Anyone know how you report a Roth IRA re-characterization :| Made over 125K this year in taxable income so I had move all my contributions into a Traditional IRA. This is the only thing keeping me from completing my taxes... bleh
Last edited by Vinen; 03-14-2013 at 02:36 PM.
Question: If you get a $3,000 refund what could you have instead done with the money if you invested $250/mo over a year? Assume there are no additional bills or (non-recreational) expenses to be paid with the money?
Getting back as much money as you can definitely is a good idea but I am curious as to when the marginal benefit of pinching every penny is outweighed by just getting a lump sum every year.
Question for any tax experts. My wife and I both have student loans that we were paying off last year. However, I managed to forget to list the $600 I paid towards interest on my loan. Is it just a loss at this point? We have already got our refunds sent to us.
If you already claimed $2500 on student loan interest, that $600 will make no difference.
I filed for the first time and used H&R Block free filing. This is the screen:
It clearly says "file your Federal taxes", but at the end it asks questions about State stuff. So did I really only file my federal still? Or did that questionnaire cover both?
In the left corner of this picture, it says State Tax Filing. The only link dealing with that was the "Learn More" you see. Clicking that sends you to a list of States and then after that a list of providers. H&R Block is one of those providers so I clicked on that one. It lead me back to this screen. I double checked to make sure pop-ups weren't blocked.
Nobody does state for free. Hence, your state return still needs to be done. Print out your Fed return, go to your state website, and input the info.
So I'm Petarded and never filed tax returns for 2009, 2010, or 2011. I was in Korea and just put it off. For 2010 and 2011, I am pretty sure I qualify fully for foreign earned income exclusion. That would make my tax liability 0, correct? As for 2009, I moved to Korea Mar 1, 2009, and was unsure if I qualified for foreign earned income exclusion due to the time abroad requirement. Anyone know about this? If I do qualify, that makes my tax liability 0, correct?
Also, if my tax liability is 0 for the income I earned overseas, do I still need to file? Moreover, how much info does the IRS have about my foreign income? All my wages were deposited into Korean banks and spent largely in Korea. I would send money home on occasion to pay for student loans, credit card bills (e.g. flight purchases), etc. The send-home amount was always only a few thousand dollars, however the last one was $7000-8000.
I generally prefer to give as minimal information to the IRS as possible, because I don't want to miss some exception that somehow makes 3 years of income suddenly tax liable and get some notice that I owe $10,000 to the government theft department. Another problem is my w-2 equivalents were among other financial documents stolen a few months back during a burglary of my house. I don't have any official documents for my 2009 or 2010 income, but I do have a deposit statement from 2011 with my total income for that year recorded. How do I handle this? Any other general advice would be appreciated.
Also, do you need a new copy of turbo tax for each year? ie if I file 2009, do I need turbotax 2009? That's just silly
Edit: looking at the IRS website, it seems like there is no real downside to simply not filing for those years abroad. It says they file a substitute return for you automatically, and since the only deduction I could have gotten was minor student loan interest, and it seems like they would have already come after me if they thought I owed something, what's the harm to just filing 2012 and ignoring those missing years?
So what will happen to me if I don't file a return or contact the IRS?
The IRS will file a substitute return for you. But this return is based only on information the IRS has from other sources. Thus, if the IRS prepares this substitute return, it will not include any additional exemptions or expenses you may be entitled to and may overstate your real tax liability.
Once the tax is assessed the IRS will start the collection process, which can include placing a levy on wages or bank accounts or filing a federal tax lien against your property.
Even if the IRS has already filed a substitute return, it still makes sense for you to file your own return to make sure you take advantage of all the exemptions, credits, and deductions you are allowed. The IRS will generally adjust your account to reflect the correct figures.
Last edited by Dabamf; 03-18-2013 at 02:09 AM.
Ignore the years you were overseas. I spent two years abroad as well and never filed for them.
Then again Korea may pay quite a bit more. I made less than $8,000/year when I was overseas. If you made much more than that you might have to file a form for the foreign income exclusion.
Last edited by McCheese; 03-18-2013 at 03:03 AM.
The amount is up to $80-90k a year, and yes you still technically have to file, no matter if you owe taxes or not.
I'm asking if there is any practical consequence to not filing, ie how would the IRS know about my overseas income?
I'm staring at owing a few large this year which blows, but it was because the wife and I had a good year financially so I guess it's a FWP.
Also... living in Texas, so no state return. (another reason to love this state).
I've used H&R Block for years, but this year i'm trying TurboTax as so many seem to rant about how great it is.
Since we have a couple tax pros in here it looks like I do have one question. About twice a year my wife and I donate clothing (usually stuff we just don't wear anymore) to charity. How do you properly track that for deduction purposes?
Was a graduating student in 2010 and didn't file. At the advice of an acquaintance, I finally did file back in February. Had about $500 owed to me. Any one have an idea how long it takes the IRS to process 2-3 year old returns?
Also, the only practical consequence is you get a penalty to file / pay on time is if you owe. Conversely if you're due a refund it expires after 2 years so that is a penalty in of itself.
If you owe more than $1,000 then you may also get hit for failure to pay estimated tax penalty, and that you can potentially get reduced if you call in to set up an arrangement. I haven't seen any of the self filing programs limit penalties for the taxpayer.
In Korea I'm guessing you made more than $8,000 a year, but depending on how you got paid and what you did with the money you could probably claim you made much less than that and therefore didn't bother filing. If you had your money deposited directly into a U.S. bank then you would probably have a harder time lying about it and should probably put in the paperwork for the foreign income exclusion.
If you are over $500(not each item but combined), then you need dates, costs, etc.
I taught in Korea 2009-2010 and didn't file mainly due to laziness. Since then I've joined the military, gotten a security clearance, and filed taxes every year, and it hasn't come back to bite me yet. I don't even have any paperwork at all from my time in Korea so I don't know how I would go about filing anyways.
The IRS can find out about the income in several ways. Firstly, you are required by law to declare your foreign bank accounts in the income exclusion form. So if you have filed previously, then they are at least aware of the bank and the account you were using at the time. I have heard of banks sharing information with the IRS, but i dont know exactly how or why the IRS would ask, or when/how the bank would supply that information.
honestly, if you are earning below the exclusion it is MUCH better to just file and forget in my opinion. If you are earning above the exclusion amount, you are taking a huge risk by not filing. If you ever work in the US again and file, you will need to fill in those missing years, and then either have to lie or pay a huge fine. SO I would recommend just filing it.
Last - if you have a bunch of years to file together, you should be able to negotiate a discount with your account to do them all at once.
Last edited by splorge; 03-26-2013 at 10:04 AM.
If you had it in a savings account you might have earned $25 .... or you probably would have spent it.
So yeah unless you are barely even making it paycheck to paycheck getting a refund isn't a disaster.
We got 8k back this year but because we used to only get around $500 back with our withholdings but a lot changed this last year with me quitting the Marines etc.
oderint dum metuant
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