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Monday, April 12, 2010

The "Project" We All Hate

Income Tax Preparation Day - Who loves it?  I could have done it earlier, but at least I didn't put it off to the very last day, like some people do.

I've used software for it the past 3 years.  It isn't really any faster, but it sure is EASIER!  And it saves money.  And writing!  The last is because I have to make an effort these days to write legibly.  The "easier" part is that the software imports all the basic data from the previous year's file (you do get to review and change it) AND you just answer "interview" type questions and the software puts the answers in the correct places on the tax form.  It also provides a lot of examples of the items to be included on each tax form line.

I especially like that the software does both Federal AND State forms (the Maryland tax form is worse than the Federal one).

Printing out the forms is wonderful.  I was able to print out all the backup forms and worksheets for my files, so everything is well-documented.

The "saving money" part is most appreciated.  The first year, I did the taxes by hand and then compared that to my software-provided return.  I saved about $600 with the software!  Not any sleazy tricks, just things I didn't understand or hadn't known about before.  I was very careful to research the savings the first year, but they were indeed legitimate.  Mostly, those were details of reportable stock and dividend exclusions.  I can discuss a lot of subjects knowledgeably, but financial terminology drives me crazy!

I have even learned (too late) about credits I could have applied in the past that I knew nothing about.

The "it isn't really any faster...  Actual preparation is faster, but it does take time to buy and download the software, save and print the forms and backup worksheets, and answer some of the questions you automatically know don't apply.  From start to finish, it took exactly 3 hours, 2 beers, and 1 pack of cigarettes.  About the same as "before software".  But so much easier.  And I am more confident the submission is valid and accurate.

The software cost $60 (Federal and State), but it was well worth it.  Next year, I'll try to remember to do it in March!  LOL!

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

What tax software do you use?...I filed on time, but would be interested in buying it for next year.