Why I will do my taxes myself next year

A few weeks ago, I talked about why I re-hired my CPA to do my taxes this year. I definitely think that was the right move for me with the stress of moving this year.

However, I have found a few mistakes in the way my CPA did my tax return this year which have taken me almost as long to investigate and verify as it would have to just do the taxes myself from start to finish. I think I have a pretty good handle now on how to deal with the reasons I had him doing my taxes in the first place. So next year, I am going to do my taxes myself. Hopefully, January/February/March will be a little less stressful for me in 2013 and then I will not be stressed out about doing my taxes.

This year, in my test runs, I used TurboTax, but I think it’s a bit more confusing than it needs to be. So here is my plan for doing my income taxes next year:

  1. Collect all of my tax return forms (mostly 1099s and my W-2).
  2. Print out a copy of Form 1040, Schedules A, B, and D, the stock transactions form (8949), and the non-deductible IRA form if necessary (8606).
  3. Sit at my computer with a pencil and all of the paper forms collected in steps 1 and 2.
  4. Go through and fill out the paper forms and schedules based on the income forms I received from the various companies, doing the math myself using my computer.
  5. Type up all of the information from my forms into Free File Fillable Forms to double-check my math.
  6. Go through my return with TurboTax to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and that the refund is the same amount as with the forms myself.

That sounds like an awful lot of work, doesn’t it? I think it’s worth it because I’m guessing that with filing Schedule A next year (assuming that I do find another condo to buy), my CPA would charge me over $500 next year to prepare my tax return, which means that if it takes me less than about 8-10 hours to prepare my own return, it was time well spent. I’m reasonably confident with the process and I love playing around with numbers, so hopefully this will work out next year.

Readers, do you do your taxes yourself? Why or why not?

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9 thoughts on “Why I will do my taxes myself next year

  1. I’ve done my taxes myself for the past couple of years because it’s pretty simple for me. I use an online program which is really easy to use and doesn’t require any calculations. I kept all of my tax stuff in one “tax” folder and it made it pretty simple.

    • But I like doing calculations! ;) I used an online version of TurboTax or something like it while I was in college, which made my taxes super easy. Things are a bit more complicated now though…

  2. DH has done them (they stress me out, and it’s his way of getting in touch with our finances each year)…
    Every time we’ve contemplated using a CPA (the years our taxes have been complicated), by the time we get everything together we would need to get for the accountant and have understood what’s going on… well, it seems like it takes less time just to do the taxes ourselves. It does help that FIL is an accountant so we can call him with questions.

    • I felt like this last year when we were using our CPA for the first time. This year it was extremely easy to just send her everything as she had all our basic info. Just something to keep in mind down the road. But it sounds like you guys have a great set-up with your FIL so if it’s not broken…

      • I agree with nicoleandmaggie – since I have a pretty good understanding of my situation, I spent a comparable amount of time explaining it to the CPA and investigating missing forms from my tax return as I probably would have spent just doing it myself. So next year? I’m going to try doing it myself again and see how it goes.

        If your situation can be easily explained by your tax forms, then it’s probably easier to send it to a CPA and at that point, I look at it that you’re really paying for not having to spend the time yourself.

  3. I think this makes complete sense — good luck next year!

    BTW, I love TurboTax. It has made taxes rather simple for me to file, but my return is really straightforward.

    • Thanks, Christa!

      I like how TurboTax is colorful instead of the black and white tax forms, but I don’t like how it (like a CPA) makes income taxes seem like magic. I’m definitely not the norm though – I love playing with math for fun :D

  4. We started having someone do our taxes last year and this point I don’t think we’ll ever go back. It’s a time issue and I also feel like our taxes have become complicated enough that I want someone else to look them over.

    Yours seem fairly straightforward. And since you plan to use TurboTax it shouldn’t take you too long!

    On another note, I feel like brokerage account statements keeps coming out later and later every year. It’s so hard to get all our documents together!

    • I know, right? I didn’t get the Vanguard Brokerage Services statement until late February, about THREE WEEKS late. That’s insane! I thought that was especially confusing since I’d already gotten my Vanguard mutual funds one (on time).

      Sigh, the days of just having a W-2 come income tax time were nice…

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