Stupid tax services!
Who's got the best filing service? I need a new tax service for next year. I can't seem to find one at a reasonable price that won't screw up. I'm still waiting for my refund that I should have received in early May. I wasn't holding my breath on the stimulus check, but the wife got curious and eager for more home improvement. I checked a couple weeks ago and the service sent an email stating everything is fine and I should be receiving my refund shortly. My wife checked the IRS website and they have NO RECORD of our file. They took my money, but did nothing in return. I didn't even get my 30% off for returning. No explanation, no apology. I got yet another confirmation.
Last year I decided to get a paper return, because the IRS and the previous services screwed up my direct deposit transfers somehow. The last paper return before those went so smooth I got it before my friends who did direct deposit. After waiting too long and getting nowhere I get a call from an internal agent scaring the crap outta me! Everything got talked through and my freedom from mistake was clear. It was direct-deposited. My bank knew nothing. Somebody tried to direct deposit MY money into someone else's bank account (not the IRS - oh no!). I got a check real quick after that! No interest, of course. The year before they couldn't get the routing number correct or something and the service couldn't send the IRS the file for some reason. So much for filing early.
Turbo Tax - well, they've screwed up the least, but have security issues
H&R Block - "People" missed a lot and everything they do I do myself for free
Tax Act - was a good service, but pissed me off for the last time!
H&R Block is a complete joke as far as I'm concerned, right up there with Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax. They hire college STUDENTS for 4 months to do returns. Don't even have to be an accounting student, any idiot who can wield a calculator (or at least look like they can) can get a job there for 4 months. You pay a little more to sit in front of an actual person...... who simply inputs the info into a file and sends it off to India again!
You need to find an actual accountant. Probably one who works for a private firm and holds a CPA. Maintaining their credentials is expensive so of course you're going to pay more to have things done right. Find a good one and they may even review your last few years and get you some more $$ back through filing amended returns. I'd consider an extra $100 per year in cost easily worth the headaches avoided.
I don't understand why anyone would use a "filing service". I just pop mine in the US mail and they deliver it for the cost of a stamp. Never an issue for the last 30 years. I looked at electronic filing but couldn't figure out why I should pay more and give my financial info to a company when I could just put a stamp on an envelope.
Now if you have a business and need an accountant then that's another matter. Then I would find a real CPA.
I think I can relate it to home improvement actually, the reasons are quite similar:
I did my own taxes for years, but not anymore. Heck no. The number of clients I have that do their own taxes could probably be counted on one hand. (I'm a financial planner, not a CPA) In my eyes, the two biggest reasons are knowledge and liability. The tax code changes drastically each year and if you don't have a mind for numbers its hard to keep up with. State returns are another beast, each one is different, Michigan's in particular is borderline insane. Kinda like following the building code....
The second reason is liability, this society is money crazed and nobody wants to tangle with the IRS. There's a little line by where you sign your 1040 for "preparer's signature". My layman's terms of that would be "who's got my back if anything is wrong". I still do my taxes each year before I visit my CPA, partly because I like to keep up with the code, and partly to ballpark where I think I should end up. He has always saved me more than I pay him so that's all the reasoning I need. Sounds kinda like Joe Bob neighbor who debates building on his own dormer vs hiring it out.... who do you call when the roof leaks?
I applaud you for doing your own Jogr, it definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea and a lot of people don't trust themselves to do it right!
I don't really have much to justify hiring a CPA. I didn't even think to ask my CPA friends at work for help (DUH!). I'd do my own and send it via snail mail, but there's the liability that I won't know about something screwy I have to watch out for so that some politician's kids can have the best toys before the general public cant afford them.
This kind of ooops is starting to outweigh my liability. I still have no answers, no apology, nothing but a guy who barely speaks English to tell me how the software is supposed to run. I think I heard "Thankyou for calling Dell/Juno Online" in the background. I redid everything 3 times, got rejected, and then all of a sudden I get a confirmation that the IRS ALREADY RECEIVED my return.
Please feel free to use my situation as an example to not use these services! DIYguineapig will be my new handle...
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