[olug] Tax Software Opinions

Benjamin Watson bwatson1979 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 19 01:33:23 UTC 2011

+1 for "Tax Guy/Gal"

I've been working with my tax guy part-time for 5-10 years now and
he's done my taxes for me the whole time (well, since my taxes got a
little more complicated than a 1040EZ).  He charges me $100-150 but
also takes time to explain things to me, plan for the future and will
do them again in case I missed something or something doesn't "feel
right".  Not to mention, he works for a local tax firm, so I've got
them in my hip pocket if the auditor comes knocking.  Not to mention,
I feel good throwing some coin to an actual person vice some faceless

Just my $0.02 ($0.01 after taxes)


On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 9:11 AM, Obi-Wan <obiwan at jedi.com> wrote:
> I'll echo what Dan said.  I've been using a smallish, well-respected
> tax firm (Watts & Herschberger) in Lincoln ever since we got married
> 14 years ago.  Jim Watts is good friends with my wife's former boss
> (a lawyer), so she was already on a first name basis with him when we
> started seeing him.  Our tax situation is nontrivial thanks to various
> investments & companies we have a share in, and Jim always does a great
> job of organizing everything and finding breaks that I never would have
> caught on my own.  My wife brings in a plate of home made cookies with
> our packet of tax info every year, which I'm sure doesn't hurt.
> I think last year (2009), our total tax burden (state + federal
> combined) was only about 16% of our gross income.  The "standard" tax
> rate for our bracket should be closer to 31%.  That kind of break,
> combined with freeing up all the time I would have spent doing it
> myself, is well worth the $400 he charges us.
> BTW, if you're getting a tax refund every April, then you're screwing
> yourself by giving the government a free, 0% interest loan from every
> paycheck throughout the year.  A good tax guy will not only file last
> year's taxes, but also plan the upcoming year for you to work it out
> so you break even with no return & no payment.  Better yet, pay the
> minimum throughout the year, save the extra in an interest-bearing
> account, and then pay the principal in one lump sum in April.  Yes,
> it's a big check, but you're coming out ahead in the long run because
> you're keeping the interest you made.
>> I always do the free on-line stuff before I go see my tax guy.  It helps
>> remind me of anything I may have forgot otherwise, plus it lets me see if
>> I'm able to get to a close dollar amount to what they get to.
>> I've been going to the same guy for the past 10 years, and each year his
>> refund is anywhere from $600 to $1500 more than what I was getting on-line.
>>  (My first year I had estimated we'd owe $1500, and we walked out with a $50
>> refund after his $150 price.)
>> Sure, they cost more than the $50-75 software options, but they've found 10x
>> that in many situations.  Money left with the IRS is money I lost. :-(
>> Dan
>> On Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 22:45, Chad Homan <choman at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Every year I think this comes up.  This year I am considering abandoning my
>>> usual
>>> tax guy.  So the question is what's everyone else doing?
>>>   - Keeping a tax guy
>>>   - Found some biatching linux tax software
>>>   - Running XYZ in wine, works great (e.g. turbotax,  taxact)
>>>   - I'm scared of wine, I use a VM for tax software (e.g. turbotax,
>>>   taxact)
>>>   - I'm not afraid of anything, tax online and who (e.g. tax slayer,
>>>   taxact)
> --
> Ben "Obi-Wan" Hollingsworth                             obiwan at jedi.com
>   The stuff of earth competes for the allegiance I owe only to the
>     Giver of all good things, so if I stand, let me stand on the
>       promise that You will pull me through.  -- Rich Mullins
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