Saturday, February 11, 2006

Death and Taxes

Those are the two things that one can count on in life, right? Well, at least I can take some comfort in the fact that I'm not dying (not that I know of anyway) - it's only tax season. This season usually gives me a nice hefty return, since I'm pretty cautious in what gets taken out of my paychecks. For reasons that I won't bore you with, I get to pay this year. This is the major part of my woes since I have been battling the IRS over an underpayment for someone else's mistake. However, when a person is married, the IRS does not care which one made the mistake - both are responsible for paying (unless the other person stiffs you and you get stuck). Chalk that mistake up to "lesson learned" - at least I will be rid of this headache by March 10th of this year.

My question is (the other part of my tax woes), why do I invariably make the yearly taxes more difficult than they already are? This year, I chose to go to H & R Block so that someone besides myself would be held accountable should I get audited. Call me paranoid. I get the benefit of having a very nice, but very aged and slow tax preparer. I'm very nervous about this year's forms because, in the course of filling out my forms, there were several typewritten errors, which I had to point out (otherwise they'd have gone unnoticed). This made me extra vigilant in double checking the numbers she input, which I'm sure she did not appreciate. This whole process made filing taxes take at least twice as much time as it should have. I've never had such an excruciating experience with H & R Block and I've used them several times in the past 10 years. This trip, however, made me seriously reconsider my decision. No, the little "scratch and win" card did not help my mood, either, especially since I didn't win anything. Next year, I will take my chances and file my own taxes - another one to add to my list of "lessons learned".


Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

This year, I chose to go to H & R Block so that someone besides myself would be held accountable should I get audited.

From experience, I've had much more success with both real accountants and Turbo Tax than H&R Block. You get what you pay for with a good accountant.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

What does it mean that I initially read the title as "Death and Texas"? The older I get, the more I think I have slight dyslexia.

Anyhoo: TurboTax all the way. THough I suppose Intuit wouldn't be held accountable for an audit :/

BTW, John has told me that Turbotax has integrated spyware in it that is difficult to disable. I can't remember details, but he knows ways around it.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

ZS - I'm thinking Turbo Tax for moi next year. :-P

Laura - Dyslexia or just association? I do that a lot of times with words, but it happens more often when I hear them (versus seeing written words). Hmm.. I still think I'd fare better with Turbo Tax. I've used the IRS website before, but the problem is that they don't offer or help you find any deductions. Go figure...

9:36 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Laura - Turbo Tax has several former IRS employees who do QA work there. They know what will come up as a red flag (something that will cause an audit). Turbo Tax will scream at you if you have a red flag.

Believe me, I have before and it took me hours to find all the paperwork to correct it but it was worth it. I'd hate to be audited.

So don't worry, even though they're not accountable if you get audited, if you get audited, they know you'd tell other customers that you got audited and they'll lose literally thousands in business.

They know it's in their best interest that you don't get audited, so their software does everything it possibly can to fix any possible red flags.

2:33 PM  
Blogger tessence said...

I've used Turbo Tax for the last couple of years and I don't see how an accountant could make it much easier. Either way, gathering up all the info is the hardest part. This year I got the "deluxe" turbo tax and it figured out all our employee stock purchase plan stuff for us. And I realized that i might have overpayed last year. even tho i could be owed some money, i am so not anxious to get on figuring *that* out.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Tessence - I'm going to Turbo Tax it next year. I got a call last night from my tax preparer at H & R and she messed up on my form by not asking me when I moved to CA (even though she input both paychecks - from CA and WA). As a result, I get more back, but she informed me that, for her trouble, she needs to charge me $7 more. I about came unglued - it's not even the money, but the incompetence and the fact that I get charged for her mistake. GRRR!

4:37 PM  

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