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Monday, January 14, 2008

Tax Season

First off, this week's Carnival of Personal Finance was just posted. I love these carnivals, and Plonkee has included a photo quiz. Definitely worth checking out.

This week, I got my first tax form. Oh joy. Since then, I've been debating what to do about my taxes this year. No, not whether or not to file a return, that's not really an option. Rather, I'm trying to decide if I want to do my taxes myself or if I want to pay someone to do them for me. This year, I have income from two different states and a move across the country for a new job. I've also got some dividend income from investments, but I didn't sell any investments this year, so that does make things easier.

Last year, my taxes were a giant hassle, so I ended up paying a tax professional, because I filed them myself, then got a very late form from one of my banks that I was not aware I was getting. (Let this be a lesson to everyone - be aware of every form you should receive and also be aware of the deadlines by which they have to be sent to you - while a lot of forms have to be sent by January 31st, some can be sent as late as March). I had to file an amended return, so I opted to pay a tax professional to help me with this process.

While I have no complaints about the end result, I feel as though I'm in the process of really taking control of my finances, and to continue that, I should do my own tax returns. If I do them on my own, however, I think I want to get a computer program to assist. I've been looking at TurboTax, but I can't decide which version I need. I do have investments, which leads me to believe that I need the Premier version, but on the other hand, I only have dividend income from those investments. Since I didn't sell any investments, maybe the Deluxe version would work just fine. And the difference is $30 (priced at Amazon).

Plus, if I'm paying $70 for a program to help me with my taxes, how much more would it cost me to have a professional do it? Additionally, I think the price only includes one state - will I actually need to download for the other state (I earned very little there), or will I be able to do it on my own?

I think I need to ask more questions and do more research before I make a final decision.

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