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Friday, February 27, 2015

Up to my neck in tax work

This has been my week to figure our tax obligations for the past year. Every year, our taxes get just a little more complicated. Every year, I have one or more new forms to fill out. This year is no exception. And I do our taxes all long hand.

I think the IRS is in cahoots with the manufacturers of OTC headache medicines. I had a headache on Tuesday, again on Wednesday, in the night Wednesday night and again on Thursday afternoon. I'm done figuring our taxes, but still have to proof everything. I'm not out of the headache woods just yet.

But there is an end in sight. Ah light, beautiful light at the end of the tax tunnel.

You may be thinking, "why doesn't she just use tax software?" At this point, I'm now wondering that very same thing. Oh, there's a part of me that likes a mental challenge (or is it that I'm mentally challenged?). And then there's that old-fashioned part of me that has always done the taxes long hand, so why change things now? But the real answer is this, sometimes I am just too plain old cheap to spring for the $12.99 for tax prep software. After all, if I CAN do the tax work, why not just do it.

So, I spent about 10 hours doing our taxes, and I saved $12.99. So, in effect, I earned myself a whopping $1.29 per hour. Arrrrrgh! Some frugal activities may not really be worth the time spent -- just an FYI. But of course, you already knew that!

Hmmm, on the positive side, my little gray cells got quite the workout this week. Maybe keeping my mind sharp is worth 10 hours of my time. Yep! That's how I'm gonna spin this.

Have a great weekend!



  1. 10 hours of working the little grey cells (as Mr Poirot would say) to keep the mind sharp! I think that might have been able to be accomplished doing less stressful activities. But one thing is sure....You know how to turn lemons into lemonade! LOL ... I won't ask you if you're getting a refund. That just might be way too low a blow!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Another Agatha Christie fan! And yes, I was thinking of M. Poirot as I typed that.

      Have a good weekend!

  2. I see your point of view but add in the cost of head ache relief. I quit doing my taxes long hand years ago.

    1. Yes, Linda! I should factor in the cost of headache OTC meds.

  3. I tried Turbo Tax a couple of years ago, and will never go back to doing them long hand. It's not that the calculations are so hard, it's figuring out where to put some of the information. Turbo Tax asks a lot of questions to help determine what and where you need to enter things. Our taxes have simplified some, so next year we may be able to use a cheaper version. However, let me say that although Turbo Tax is great, taxes are still a headache.

    Good luck.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I was half way through our taxes when I thought to try something like TaxAct. Then just thought as long as I was that far, I might as we continue. Oh well.
      Maybe next year.

  4. I've also just finished my taxes... well I think they're finished. I always let them "rest" for a week or so and then go revisit everything just to be sure I haven't missed anything.

    I do them longhand as well. Last year I tried using the version of TurboTax that you can use for free when you eFile, and it was TERRIBLE! Seriously, it made a whole pile of assumptions that simply weren't true in my case and left me no way to go edit the actual numbers. Of course, being self-employed my taxes can get a little bit complicated, so it probably would have worked just fine for someone who has a simpler situation - which sorta begs the question "What's the point?" If your taxes are simple you just fill out the EZ forms anyhow. After fighting with it for a week or so, I gave up and went back to the old tried & true method.

    Maybe I'm just not very trusting or have control issues or something, but I always feel better if I can actually read the instructions myself and make sure I'm putting all of the right numbers in the right places. I really hated the whole idea that they'd just ask me a few questions and then I had to just trust them to put everything in the right places - because in my case they totally did not put the numbers in the right places and it came out with radically different numbers than it should have.

    Plus, I always like to play with the numbers a bit to figure out exactly how much IRA contribution I should make to the traditional IRA vs Roth to get me the most benefit, and whether I'm better off taking XYZ deduction in one place or another - yadda, yadda, yadda, so it just works better for me to do them by hand. And with the fillable forms that they now have for eFiling, they do the math for you anyhow.

    Sorry for the rant, but that's my take on it!

    1. Yes, you are right. You used a too simple version of Turbo Tax for you situation. The free version usually is only appropriate for a high school kid who had only a summer job. Also, there are options in Turbo tax to do all of the filling in yourself. I usually go with their first set of questions, then choose the "Explore on your own" option which is somewhat doing it long hand. I think you will be most comfortable doing your taxes longhand, but Turbo Tax would work well for you if you used the appropriate version and learned how it works. As with everything, it took me a little time to learn how to best use it.

      The first couple of years we used Turbotax, my husband did our taxes, independently by hand to see how they compared (I did the Turbotax version.) Then he just started to check what Turbotax did. Now he trusts the program without much checking. And while we are not self employed, we have several complications with our taxes that make them difficult.

      If there is an area that we're not familiar with, we will do independent reading to understand it. (However, I will say that reading the IRS instructions often confuse things more than they help.)

      Anyway, I'm glad that your taxes are done.

    2. Thanks for the info! I didn't realize there were different versions. That's really good to know since I fear my tax situation will get more complicated over the next few years rather than less!

    3. Cat,
      I do the same thing with letting the taxes sit for a bit, then revisiting everything, just to be certain. And I think you're right, if your taxes are simple, the EZ forms are a snap to fill out. I'll be helping my two youngest kids do their taxes in a week or two, and those forms should be easy enough for them to figure out.


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