I should have been an accountant. I went to H&R Block today to file my taxes. Although I happened upon a copy of TurboTax, I decided to have someone else file for me as a) People who have their taxes filed by a professional are audited less and b) I have a Schedule-C which usually has a higher rate of audit (thus, in reference to point (a), this was more reason to file with a pro). Having my copy of TurboTax in hand, I decided to prepare my own taxes as a dry run, just to see. It wasn’t the easiest thing (Schedule C,s and Misc -1099’s are annoyingly long), but it wasn’t too bad. And so, given that it took me all of 1 hour to do my taxes, I figured the guy at H&R Block should be able to do it in at least the same amount of time.

Unfortunately, it was a disaster. The guy fumbled around for almost 2 hours. When I did my taxes myself (which I know I did correctly), I got a pretty hefty refund. He messed some things up and so I mentioned where he had made some mistakes. But the first iteration ended with me owing $1200?!?!?. I knew this was wrong and pointed out where I thought he had mistakes but was unsure (he was supposed to be a tax pro right??). Second iteration, I owe $800. Still wrong. And so, he gets up and talks to who I assume is a more ‘senior’ tax pro (mind you, this guy is easily in his 50’s and the ‘senior’ tax pro is at least the same age….).. neither of these guys can figure it out. So on to hour 3 I finally ask him if I can make some edits. He was hesitant, but I mentioned that I had an inclination as to where the mistake was… After 3.5 hours, finally, the refuned appears. Though, even then it isn’t the same as what I had originally thought it would be (it was about $100 off), but at the end of the day, it was done. Unfortunately, they charged me $209 which was somewhat ridicuolous as I had essentially completed my own taxes on their software (their software sucks btw). So at the end of the day I’m down over $300 (the H&R charge + the $100 I’m missing) + 3.5 hours of my life, but my taxes are done….

I need to find a good accountant who knows what they’re doing. Or, I need to suck it up and file my own taxes and get over my fear of being audited……

8 Responses to “Taxes…”

  1. gregh Says:

    A little bit of back-story. I have been volunteering with Tax Assistance Program (TAP) since last year. We do tax’s (for free) for anyone who earns less then 35k. They give us a quick 4-hour training and we are good to go. Note: they have tax experts on hand to answer questions when we are actually doing the taxes.

    With that said, doing your own taxes is nothing to be scared of, it’s really not that hard. Even doing a Schedule SE/C is pretty easy (Although I find adding your car as a business expense to be pretty annoying). FYI if you are getting paid on a 1099-MISC it is not uncommon to owe money on your taxes. Most 1099-MISC’s will have nothing taken out for Soc/Med/Income taxes.

    After my volunteer experience, I have always wondered what the demographics of the people who use places like HR Block. Do they tend to get low income, middle income, or high-income customers? Do they get many takers on their “instant refund” (a very high interest loan against the refund amount)?

    As far as getting audited goes, you have less and less to worry about. The numbers of IRS auditors is declining, while the number or returns the IRS process is increasing. While they do look closer at Schedule SE/C returns, they also look at EIC, Child Tax Credit, etc. If you earn more money, you are less likely to be audited.

  2. Lech Says:

    Death > Taxes

  3. Torsch Says:

    Well, so much for my annual visitation to the MUD of my youth. Everything always changes, you can never go back, yada yada.. But who knew that this might actually be a change for the better? I mean, mayo-covered kimchi and SUV hatin mothas..

    But we are gathered here today to speak of taxes. I went to H&R Block, partially out of dread for the future and partially from shame. (By the way, I’m a young white male for the demographic.) Having not filed taxes for the past 5 years or so I was under the assumption that as soon as someone in a IRS office saw the memo with my name on it I would be a victim of the Patriot Act, tapped, tracked and treated similarly to the Iraqi ‘insurgency’. So I was gonna play it cool and let H&R Block do the dirty work and take the heat for me, kinda to see what would actually happen.

    This is what actually happened.

    I went in with all my reciepts from the past year and told them I was my own business. That’s actually partially true, I am a diver and need to buy gear and travel around and pay boat shares. So I showed them that. And my grocery bills. And any other scrap of paper that I claimed to have spent money on related to my business, and the guy (also young, white and male) was pretty cool. He got the gross down, and made the numbers show a small (around $3000) profit, and even got me feeling good about the fact that I could hold my head up high and say I’m a ‘small business owner’ that ‘pays taxes’ and ‘gets a refund’. He even sent away for the past few years tax info and maybe he will get me money from there, too!

    Now I am legit. I can apply for loans, credit, and … umm.. I don’t really know. But I can walk around without keeping a sharp eye peeled for IRS hitmen, and I am able to report that my H&R Block exp. was soothing and profitable. It all depends on the young white male that you get.

  4. Taz Says:

    P: “Oh My God, It’s better than I thought. An Audi. I’m getting a Car!”
    B: “Umm, there’s a ‘T’ in there. That says ‘Audit’. ”
    P: “No it’s a foreign car. The ‘T’ is silent. Sweet I’m getting an Audi.”
    C: “I have an Innie.”

  5. pred Says:

    So I just saw a commercial for H&R Block. They have a policy about giving you the maximum refund possible or your tax preperation is free?

  6. slav Says:

    holy shit.. we just had the sighting of da rooster!!!

  7. Taz Says:

    who the heck is rooster?

  8. Torsch Says:

    The Rooster.. I am, technically, the Rooster. At least, that was my character name in MUD before I sold to JET for an exorbant ammout of money at the time.

    Hi Slava, how ya doin?

    Also, I’m going to plug again. It’s a small but growing MajorMUD. And we kinda need more people to kill the big dogs, so if anyone wants to do some slayin come on down..

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