Tax Cut Question

goldensmomFebruary 4, 2009

My husband use to always do our taxes on the computer with tax cut. Unfortunately I recently became a widow and am wondering if I can carry his last year's worksheet over to this year ... try to do it myself and then take it to a cpa to look over & have him correct any mistakes. I have alot of tax papers coming through & don't understand half of them but read where using the tax cut desktop version (not e-file) is simple. Any thoughts?

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Ask a CPA if he'd do it for you (what still expect to pay something, of course). Just be aware that there are usually at least small changes to things every year, and even one could mean it's necessary from whatever point it crops up in the process, to redo everything else from there onward to account for it. Plus, if you are now a widow, your finances must have changed in any case, and you might just be better off to start fresh with someone.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:44PM
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Typo at the 'bracket' in first line... "(but still...)".

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:45PM
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All these programs have an import feature where last years info is transferred to the new program. The numbers that were used do not transfer but all the categories do. this is especially handy if you have gains and losses on stocks or rental property. The history will transfer.

Whichever way you go, tax program or CPA you are still responsible for gathering all the information. So, just get a program and follow all the instructions from the beginning and you'll be fine.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 5:16PM
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I agree, if you use the same program this year, and import from last year's file, you'll be a step up.

All of these programs ask about your changes in the past year - i.e., did a taxpayer die?

Answer the questions as they come up,the program will guide you, and you can do your own taxes. If you decide to go to an accountant or tax preparer, make sure you have last year's return. You are still responsible for gathering all the data, and having a tax preparer will not relieve you of this responsibility.

Bottom line advice - you need to learn how to do this, no matter what. What if you can't afford a preparer in the future? Why pay for one if you can do it yourself?

Seriously, you CAN do this.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 9:20PM
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If you have last year's return in hand for the preparer, and much of the work in place for this year's, the preparer/accountant should not charge too heavily.

Maybe you can find one who will go through it to explain most of it to you, so that you can do it yourself in later years.

How much simpler life would be for you now had your husband gone through the forms with you last year. One issue to add less pressure at a time of great stress and pain in one's life.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 12:52AM
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Thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions. I have one more question. Is my understanding correct in that the desktop version only stays on your hard drive versus the online download or efile goes directly to the IRS?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 11:41AM
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You can e-file from the desktop. It gets sent to the tax program provider (TaxCut) who sends it on to the IRS. The online version stays with the provider till you tell it to send to the IRS and then your copy is still with the provider.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 1:29PM
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My background is that I am a CPA who worked for H&R Block for 18 years. This is my first year not working for them so I have no personal interest in answering your question. Over the years I have had to handle many widows and widowers who had no idea how to handle their taxes. Very often they brought in every document they had EXCEPT the one I needed. I think that your money would be very well spent by going to Block at least for the first year. The Tax Cut program is Blocks and they can import the data from the prior year so they know what they are looking for from the prior year. Bring in the last two years of returns and have them check them for you as they may find errors and can amend them for you. I almost always found errors that got people a bigger refund than what they had to pay me in fees. If you do decide to do it yourself, I'd suggest that you bring the finished return and your source documents to a local Block office and have it checked. I never charged for this and you may get lucky and find a like-minded preparer. In either case, I would suggest calling and making an appointment. ALWAYS avoid the last week of Jan and the first week of Feb as that is their busiest time of the season. If you can wait until March it is the slowest time. I'd ask for the most experienced preparer in the office. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 1:54AM
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First, I am so sorry for your loss. You have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your DH.

I use Taxcut and find it very easy. What I do though is, as soon as I file my taxes, I save everything on a disk and delete it off my hard drive. That way if someone hacks my computer they don't have my tax return, which has the info a hacker would need to steal your identity. Maybe I'm being paranoid but it makes me feel safter to get all that info off my PC.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2009 at 9:22PM
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