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A 'Tax Guy' vs TurboTax

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Big MAK, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Big MAK

    Big MAK Member

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    Does hiring an accountant save you any more money on your taxes than using turbo tax? I understand it may be a case by case issue, just curious as to everyones experiences.

    My wife and I have an interesting tax year. I moved to NY while she worked in Houston. We own a rental property that required significant repairs in 2016. I think trying to recoup those repair expenses and decrease our NYC taxes (my wifes income was in tx, but turbtax is making us pay NYC SALT) could make hiring someone worth the money.
     
  2. mrm32

    mrm32 Member

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    A tax guy may not save you money but a professional who truly knows what they are doing will make sure your forms are accurate and filed properly.
     
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  3. BleedsRocketRed

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    My Tax guy cost me $175 bucks to do my taxes for me and netted me a $3700 return. Had I done it myself, I would have got only about $1000. I just don't know what I am doing when it comes to the details of things, and what I am or am not allowed to do.

    For me its a no brainier. That, and I essentially let him do all the work I have known him for almost 2 decades, so there is trust factor built into it. My deductions, and expenses...etc are from all over the country since my job requires a lot of travel and communication. Not only that, I know 100% all my info is filed correctly.

    Even if I didn't have all the complexities I would rather still go to a tax guy just because they are the professional, I am not. If you have any friends, coworkers or family members who regularly go to one, see if you can get a recommendation from any of them.
     
  4. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    If you seriously own your own business: CPA.

    If you are mainly on W2 w a little side income/investments, I think turbo is just fine.

    We used to do a CPA, and I thought it was ultimately a waste of money.
     
  5. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    The IRS loves Turbo Tax. So many inexperience people using it and missing great deductions.

    A good CPA can not only do your taxes, but advise you on how to better utilize tax breaks. A good CPA is one of the few people who truly want to save you money.
     
  6. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    We tried three, all recommended, and didn't come out ahead w any of them. Most of them, I've found, are using software anyway.

    BUT: I believe a good one could be worth it, pending your work and investments. If my book work keeps going well, we will have to consider it.
     
  7. jsingles

    jsingles Member

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    I don't have complicated things when it comes to taxes so I use a software at home. Simple W2, Roth IRA. I don't itemize because I'm still renting at the moment and am as basic as it gets when it comes to tax purposes. I might try the CPA route the first year after I purchase a house though, just to see what they can do for me.
     
  8. what

    what Member

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    I think Turbo Tax is good. Last year I had a question about deprecated value on a vehicle I totaled, and I received an insurance payoff for, which I thought required me to put THAT amount into the field. When I called turbotax they advised me to put $1 down because I had not made any money from it.

    I'm not sure how a cpa can help on my business, honestly without doing illegal things.
     
  9. what

    what Member

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    This seems rather step. What could you have possibly done wrong that lost you $2700?
     
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  10. s land balla

    s land balla Contributing Member

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    Can someone recommend a good CPA?
     
  11. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    There is a saying in IT: Trash in, trash out. So even if Turbo Tax is great software, it'll spit out trash if you don't put the correct data into it. That should not be a problem for 90% of people with very simple returns. For others, however, it helps to have a CPA in your corner. Not just to do it the right way and to save you money by getting deductions you may have missed, but they protect you from yourself. A trusted CPA should keep you from making mistakes that could nail you in an audit. Plus, they should help you plan for the future in the way you conduct or structure things so that you are as tax efficient as possible on future returns.
     
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  12. BrieflySpeaking

    BrieflySpeaking Contributing Member

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    used credit karma for free this year and got a decent return
     
  13. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Of course we use softwares as CPAs, it is just dramatically different software. If someone is doing it by hand, they probably aren't your best option.

    Not all paid preparers know what they are doing, not are they all honest. Whether we have value to you will depend on your circumstances and expectations.

    Some people will get more filing their own because they will deduct non-deductible expenses. Others will miss deductions they would be entitled to. For your situation, you probably should see a CPA.
     
  14. ElPigto

    ElPigto Member

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    I would think it is dependent on your situation just like many others have stated here. Doing my taxes is pretty damn simple, so no reason to go pay a CPA to do them for me. If it were complicated I'd definitely pay someone trustworthy with experience.
     
  15. DieHard Rocket

    DieHard Rocket Contributing Member

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    B-bob hit the nail on the head. If you have lots to itemize it's probably worth it to hire a CPA.

    Wife and I used a CPA last year, HR Block two years ago, and finally switched to Turbotax this year. I have a side business with a little bit of equipment depreciation and my wife has stock options at work, both of which are a little complicated, but now that I can go back and look at what the pros did the last two years I have found it pretty easy to do myself. I felt they were overpriced but ultimately we benefited from it, though I don't plan on going back to one unless the side business really picks up.

     
  16. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    I have been thinking about it.
    I also remember that folx like Wesley Snipes thought the same thing. lol

    my taxes are probably not as complicated. as his
    but
    generally shows that not all professionals are created equally.

    Rocket River
    there is a bit of levity and snark here
     
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  17. what

    what Member

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    I think if you are going to get a cpa it should be done at the beginning of the year. Not at tax time. So that you can have a discussion about what your needs are and he can advise you throughout the year.

    Doing it now is a little late in my opinion.
     
  18. K LoLo

    K LoLo Member

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    This is good advice. You may have already lost some of the documentation you didn't know you needed.

    For the OP, I would say if you don't feel comfortable, then go get a CPA to do it. Like @DieHard Rocket said above, you can get them to do it one year and "learn" about what they did on your return (ask questions - a lot of what ifs...you're not just paying them to fill out the document). Then you can decide if you need to keep the relationship.
     
  19. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    If you know how to find a good one, let me know! Srsly. Like @DieHard Rocket, I looked at exactly what the pro's were doing, (and I felt like I had to do a ton of the work anyway, of course, chasing everything down), and I'm doing the same stuff, for less $ paid, via turbotax.

    Two observations:
    * clearly, there is a big range of talent and attention in the CPA world. :)
    * clearly, CPA's are really ****ing expensive in California, and that's why turbotax appeals.

    But you think I should get a CPA b/c writing as side income?
     
  20. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tastemaker
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    Unless you're savvy and have the time, hire someone. The rental property stuff is a pain in the ass.

    I don't agree with this. But if someone did agree with this, then starting the relationship off now would be fine. If there's a time crunch for any reason they just file an extension (if you don't owe money and don't need your return asap).
     
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