Tax Preparation With Fakename

I have a tax strategy, but if I told you what it was I’d have to kill you.  Ha ha.  Fakename is so funny. 

Actually for some years now I’ve been using Turbotax to do my taxes, which tells you the most important thing you need to know:  Fakename doesn’t have any money.  If I did, I’d probably have a live human involved in the process. 

So I just finished my taxes, which by my calculation should take about 30 minutes and actually takes about 4 hours every year.  The process starts with me not being able to remember my User ID and password, so I have to wait for Turbotax to send me emails telling me what those are–separately, of course. 

The good thing is that once that’s out of the way, Turbotax remembers a lot about me, including my name and address, although they do ask me to confirm that I am still who I was last year and that I still live there.  It’s not a good sign when you have to think for a minute before clicking “yes”.   

Using Turbotax was actually a big step up for me.  I used to just pick up Form 1040EZ from the IRS office or the library, fill it out in about 10 minutes, and mail it in, then wait 6 weeks.  That was before today’s options such as–take your W-2 to “Get Your Refund Today!”  They give you money on the spot (minus a hefty fee), and none of that delayed gratification stuff. 

Every year I forget that I get a credit for paying property taxes, and since I’m not organized enough to have kept my receipt from last year, I have to go online to find out how much I paid, but there’s a trick to that.  I give myself credit for remembering there’s a trick to it, I just couldn’t remember what it was.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I couldn’t go to the tax collector’s website–which seems highly logical–and I was right.  They’ll tell you how much you owe THIS year, but to find out how much you paid last year you have to go to the Property Appraiser’s website.  Go figure.  (Add 30 minutes to tax preparation.)  Somebody remind me of this next year.

A new thing for me this year was that I bought a car last year, and I was delighted to learn I could deduct the sales tax.  (Go find paperwork from sale of car–try to decipher–guess which number goes where in Turbotax–add 30 minutes.)  Then I was going to throw in gas mileage for use of my car for work, which is not reimbursed by my company, and IS deductible, and which I claimed last year, but the issue became extremely complicated when Turbotax (well, technically, the IRS) learned I had two cars in the same year, and they wanted to know how much I used one car versus the other and why did I stop using the first one?  (Press “Back” button until you reach the ” Never Mind” button.  Add 30 more minutes.)

I had some surprises this year, one of which was the “Make Work Pay” credit.  I really should pay more attention to the whole income tax thing.  In 2009, what happened was that the government reduced the amount of withholding.  I did notice that.  I thought it was a tax reduction!  Surprise!  You just owe more at the end of the year!  The total owed remained the same.  Clearly this is a socialist conspiracy designed to let me keep more money throughout the year. 

In the end I was disappointed with Turbotax this year.  First of all they almost doubled their fee for the same type of return ($55 vs. $30 last year).  And although this isn’t new, there seem to be even more “additional services” offered this year, for a fee of course.  However, one of those additional services just struck me dumb with laughter.

It was called “Ask A (Tax) Professional!”  Your personal concerns can be addressed for an additional $39.95 for the first 20 minutes.  I haven’t seen that kind of advertising since I used to work nights and was confined to watching very late-night, early-morning TV.   

The good news is that I did finish and file my taxes, and my refund is going straight to my account in the Cayman Islands.  Ha ha.  Fakename is so funny.

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15 responses to “Tax Preparation With Fakename

  1. The 1040EZ was the best thing the IRS has ever done. Filling out the form in ten minutes is priceless. And you are funny.

  2. Are you sure you don’t need help with that form EZ? Call me…only $2.00 per minute for the first 20 minutes.

    • Are you trying to replace the IRS?

      • Not trying to replace the IRS…just thinking maybe I could get a job with Turbotax. At $40 for 20 minutes (and we have to assume the rate goes up after that first 20 minutes), I could make…lessee. Let’s say it goes up to $3 per minute after the first 20 minutes instead of $2 per minute. Eight hours a day. That’s $160 for the first hour, and $1,260 for the next seven hours. I could live on that.

  3. Fakesister has a real live human being complete the plethora of forms for the IRS. Strike that. Fakesister’s SO’s business has a real live human being complete the plethora of forms for the IRS. Who paid the fine the year he missed a W2. We got to pay the extra tax.

    Depreciation is the main culprit here: building, tools, inventory, …

    Since Fakesister’s eyes glaze over when the topic is money management, having a CPA fill out and e-file the taxes, for a fee, is a god-send. Before she married the SO, HE did her 1040EZ for her.

    Speaking of e-file, only to the Feds. Our slightly backward state requires the real paper.

  4. > take your W-2 to “Get Your Refund Today!”

    Why isn’t J. G. Wentworth doing this? “I have a tax refund due but I need cash now!”

    I do my own 1040A and already have my refund.

    • I used to as well, but no longer have the patience to read it all. Would rather pay to have it done. And that of course is why parking managers like me stay in business…no one wants to do it themselves 🙂

  5. Fakename writes:
    “In the end I was disappointed with Turbotax this year. First of all they almost doubled their fee for the same type of return ($55 vs. $30 last year). ”

    Actually, TurboTax has changed their business model for 2009, and most everyone can get a copy for free. (They are making money on the extra services plus E-file related fees.). H&R Block has lost massive market share due to TurboTax’s new policy.

    You can get your free copy of TurboTax here:
    http://www.turbotax.com/lp/ty09/ppc/hp.jsp?ven=gg&kw=free+turbo+tax&cid=ppc_gg_b_stan_rt_ff_btt+fr&priorityCode=4515900000

    [And if fakename blocks this public service announcement, this will be my last comment on her blog.]

  6. So far, Fakename has never blocked anyone and although it could happen, Fakename has no plans to start anytime soon. Rocky is not on my list of potential blockees. Prickly as you can be, Fakename acknowledges that she can be the same. She has a firm belief–often very difficult to maintain–that the cause of World Peace is not advanced by people only talking to people who agree with them.
    Fakename did notice that Turbotax has a free version for the first time this year. Last year it was like $12.95 for the EZ version, but you can’t use it if you have something as “complicated” as mortgage interest. (Note the quotation marks around “complicated”. How complicated can Form 1098 be?)
    So this year, Turbotax provides “free” tax preparation, which those of us who can’t use it are paying for in the form of increased fees for the next level up. Free to you…but not to me. Hmmm…

  7. Hmmm. Your observation regarding Turbotax pricing sounds remarkably similar to some observations regarding a progressive income tax policy. (i.e. it’s widely reported that roughly 50% of adult Americans will pay no income tax this year….but they still need to file to get all of their credits from Uncle Sam. So you are subsidizing those folks with not only your involuntary taxes, but now also your Turbotax purchase!)

  8. I saw something to that effect and was shocked. On the other hand, how much are U.S. corporations avoiding in taxes through methods not available to the average person?
    I have a number of friends who equate liberal with deadbeat, and that is not the case. It scares me. I think the issue is what your taxes are being spent for, and isn’t that always the way?
    I’m hoping you’ll comment on the post I did about the Bernie Madoff book and educate me further.

  9. Fox News host Bill O’Reilly falsely asserted that “50 percent of Americans don’t pay any federal income tax” and that therefore “the other half is waging the whole war on terror.” He also claimed that the estate tax is “unconstitutional,” an assertion the Supreme Court rejected in a 1921 decision that has been repeatedly upheld over the years.

    While O’Reilly claimed that half of all Americans do not pay income taxes, figures from the Tax Policy Center show that only 37.2 percent of total tax units — single people or married couples — pay either zero or negative taxes, or do not file at all, leaving 62.8 percent who do pay taxes.

    Source: Tax Policy Center

    But everybody in this country that buys anything do pay taxes.

  10. Sales tax and income tax are not equivalent. Sales taxes negatively impact lower income people because it is a flat rate. Here in Leon County the rate is 7.5%. But we also have the advantage of living in Florida where there is no state income tax, and no sales tax on food or medicine.
    So 50% is a wrong number? Only 37.2% don’t pay taxes on income? I can’t tell you how much that annoys me. 50% or 37.2%–that percentage is too high. Every person, 100 %, should be contributing some amount to the running of our country.

  11. I am not implying that anything here is fair. It is what it is. I think that the entire tax code should be thrown out and rewritten on 5 pages or less.

    Poor people who cannot pay taxes doesn’t annoy me as much as corporate welfare. That is the biggest crime of them all.

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