Dumb Tax Preparation Question

I have always used H&R Block (brick and mortar) and have been pondering if I could/should/better suited to use TurboTax, for the obvious reason of saving $$. The downside is the potential issue with IRS if I mess up somehow… H&R Block = $300 TurboTax = $50 Background for this year: -Changed job midway through the year (two different states, MA + NY). Also collected UEB for a couple of months. Two State Income Taxes required (i think) -Owned a property in one state (MA)for half a year as primary residence; Rented it out the other half of the year since I am no longer in the state. -Owned a different property in California. No Rent (letting parents live there for free). I supposed this is classified as a “second” home. -NOL. -Combined retirement accounts into a single IRA plan Should I make the switch? Or should I stick with the people of H&R.

I used to work at H&R Block. While the company does require one to take H&R Block educational courses to be permitted to work on more dynamic returns, H&R solely relies on a computer program which is much like Turbo Tax. While I was invited back to H&R as a seasonal part time tax preparer, I declined. Partially because I signed up for Level 1 that year and did not want to work the 70 hour weeks again with two jobs, and partially because I was not happy with the business practices. Without knowing your familiarity with taxes, this is not an easy question. Have you prepared your return recently, or have you relied on a preparer for some time? Are you happy with this preparer? Do you need any tax planning along with preparation? Since I got laid off, I accepted a part time tax preparer position at a small CPA firm. The partners here have me very impressed. They act in the clients best interest, provide tax counseling (which in your case may be helpful since you have side rental income), and in many cases cost the same that a place like H&R Block would charge. While taxes are not complicated with Turbo Tax which I used last year, some areas of tax implications are best looked at by a professional.

> > -NOL. > Is this a deal issue for your next husband?

Sounds like it would be a pain in the ass to do them yourself. You don’t exactly fit the bill for a normal user of Turbo Tax. The software is fairly intuitive and easy to use if your tax issues are straightforward. Let someone else pull their hair out over your taxes.

It is not really that difficult of a return. Assuming this person is fairly knowledgeable of their tax situation, they could do it with Turbotax. As I mentioned earlier, H&R uses a proprietary program much like Turbotax, and from my experience, H&R is not sufficient to handle an audit. There is way too much red tape in corporate for when IRS letters arrive. Likewise, at the franchise I was at, one had to pay extra for audit protection and representation. However, if this person really does not wish to navigate this path, I would suggest a reputable independent CPA, EA, MBT, or JD tax attorney. The tax professional would be cheaper than a big 4 and would probably be very helpful for tax planning which H&R did none of, or at least the franchise I was at didn’t.

My guess is that an independent CPA would do this return for about $200-300.