03-02-2013 09:00 AM - edited 03-02-2013 09:04 AM
With the advent of modern tax programs, 99% of the people are much better off doing it themselves.
Just read the rules, apply for all the deductions you qualify for, and keep all receipts and paperwork for three years. CPAs must prepare taxes on the assumption each return will be "audited" fully; while prudent and conservative, this will never yield the best results. In my estimation, the only reason to use a CPA is if you have a very complex tax return with various enterprises (LLCs, C Corps, K2s, and limited partnerships), trusts, and charitable filings, etc...
Short of that, do it yourself. 99% of the people (especially on W2s) will never be audited, if only because there's nothing for you to really legally deduct. The tax code was prepared with the business owner in mind (which is ripe for abuse given all the deductions a business owner is legally allowed), which is also why it's the business owners who will be audited, and not W2s.
90% of people's returns can be done on Turbo Tax within 45 minutes.
03-03-2013 07:22 AM
I know last year H&R Block did simple Federal returns for free for a limited time. Not sure if they had that promo again this year, but you should look into it.
03-03-2013 08:22 PM
03-05-2013 08:23 PM
I saw an old billboard today. H&R Block was only doing freebies until 2/15.
03-19-2013 04:27 PM
About 3 years ago, I did my taxes on Turbo tax. It said I owed $2500 and I went through every section 4 or 5 times. I then went to H&R and paid them the $150. I wound up getting $1500 back. I have been going back th them every year since without hesitation. My returns have not been that big again, but they always come out better than any online software and I always end up on top. Try it for yourself and see if it is worth it.
I just did my taxes online a few minute ago and was told I owe $241. I am now anxious to see hwo much I will get back.
And to make it even more confusing, if not already.... I used to use a CPA and one year I didn't like the amount I owed and decided to try a freee copy of Turbo Tax I had and did it myself. Ended up getting a small amount back, but better than paying. I have used Turbo for the past 7 years since.
Gardening since 3-17-13
03-19-2013 04:45 PM
Given your 'uncomplicated' tax situation, if I were you I would do it myself. There aren't too many variables for you w/o investment income, etc. What you want to determine (w/ due dilligence) is whether you should itemize your deductions. This would make sense if you have charitable donations, energy saving home improvments, unre-imbursed business expenses, etc. Don't leave money on the table. Make sure you look into all available tax credits as well. Although if you are phased out of the student loan interest deduction, you may be phased out on many of the tax credits as well. Personally, I think on-line or purchased software packages do a pretty darn good job. I use turbo tax deluxe and my tax situation is much more complicated.
03-20-2013 01:57 PM
I use an accountant (his company also does all my retirement stuff). It is less than $600 for state and federal. We do it bacause my wife is freelance, and that makes deductions, depreciation, etc much more complex. Add to that foreign pensions and we need him! Many more forms to fill out than a "simple" situation