Do-It-Yourself Taxes

January 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ten years ago I filed my own 1040EZ form with an expected $900 refund. At the time that was quite an unprecedented amount. I had no kids and hardly any deductions. I was on cloud nine. Until a few weeks later I got a form letter from the IRS informing me that I sucked at math and that I in fact OWED them money. From that point on, I resolved never to do my own taxes again.

Fast forward to 2013. James and I have paid ever-increasing amounts in the intervening years, first to H&R Block, then to a private accountant in Maryland, to handle our taxes. We’ve had moving expenses, the birth of a child, a home business, nanny taxes. Too many complications for my mathematically-handicapped brain.

But this year, I decided to give it a go myself. Our student loans are paid off, I don’t work from home anymore, we don’t own a home, and we didn’t move (for once!). Hell, Florida doesn’t even HAVE an income tax. Plus, things have changed a lot from 2003. For $30 I could get Turbo Tax at Costco, which seems to me pretty much what the guys at H&R Block were using. Easy peasy.

So today I rolled up my sleeves and tackled the taxes. After two hours I was ready to hit “transmit”, but, hold the phone! Errors! What? It had me going in circles, filling out random fields in some mysterious schedule B, and every time I filled it in, it kept asking for more. I looked all over the website for help, hoping there was someone to call, but I guess you have to pay a premium for that. Damn, Turbo Tax!!

Thankfully, after a few choice curse words and futile banging of my head on the desk, I calmed down enough to do a search in their help database. Sure enough, I’m not the only person to have experienced this particular error, and there was a fix for it. Voila! Taxes filed!

I can even get updates through an iPhone app that will tell me when to expect my refund. And it’s nice not to have to pay hundreds of dollars of it back to an accountant. Think I might do this every year…unless I get a form letter from the IRS again chastising me for my apparent poor following-simple-instructions-on-a-computer-program-skills.


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