Showing posts with label Turbo Tax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turbo Tax. Show all posts

Monday, April 10, 2017

Doing my taxes. Adventures with Turbotax

The thing about Turbo Tax is that it is a black box.  You key in all the numbers on your tax forms, and it thinks about it and then issues a dozen totally incomprehensible error messages and asks you to correct them.  After a couple of day of screwing around I got it down to just ONE error message that didn't make any sense. 
   I used to do the taxes by hand and with Excel.  That way I had a fair to middling idea what was going on.  When I started with Turbotax, it saved me about $1000 over doing taxes with Excel.  So I have stuck with it for the last few years.  But I no longer understand what's going on.  You plug your numbers into TurboTax, and it prints your tax form, but I no longer know diddly about it. 

 So I ignored it and pressed on to print the 1040.  I don't like to efile, it makes things too easy for the IRS.  Efiled returns go right into the IRS computers, and their audit software looks things over and decides to zap you.  Send 'em paper and they have to scan it, page by page, and the scanning software often makes mistakes that have to be corrected by hand, slowing things down.  To really slow things down, hand scribe your 1040, that will baffle the scanning software even worse. 
   So,  I took the laptap over to the printer to get some hard copy.  Plugged in the USB cable from the HP D4260 Deskjet.  Clicked on print in Adobe reader.  This opened a weird window that " registered" my printer with HP.  Opening me up to a flood of spam.   But, it would not print.  This used to work back before I upgraded to Win 10 last year.  Far as I can see, Win 10 broke the printer driver[s].  Win none, loose one.
   So,  Lets burn the tax returns to a CD, I always do that anyhow for backup.  Then copy the return onto Trusty Desktop, running XP, and get on with it.  Clicked on VLC media player, which used to burn CD's just fine on laptop.  Damn,  Win 10  broke VLC too.  Then I noticed that Win 10 offered to burn CD's all by itself.  That's new,  XP never did that.  So I put in blank CD and drag and drop the tax returns and some back up data (check books) onto the CD icon, and things happen.  CD drive spins, a green progress bar crawls across the screen,  the drive makes seeking noises.   I hit eject, and Win 10 does the CD close burn.  Groovy, but when I stick the freshly burned CD into Trusty Desktop, it shows up as blank.  I finally have  to copy the tax form to a thumb drive to move them over. 
   Anyhow, if you are doing your taxes on Win 10, you might want to make sure the printer still works before April 15 or 18 rolls around. 
   Thank you Bill Gates.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Finished my taxes, Thank God

Doing taxes gets worse and worse, year by year.  Our friendly IRS keeps adding tax forms, Turbo Tax cranked out 32 pages of Federal income tax forms this year.  You can't just list stock sales on Schedule D anymore, they want half a dozen different forms, with different rules and gobble-de-gook for each form. 
   I don't understand why some presidential candidate doesn't promise to clean this up.  I know there are rabid special interests ready to leap to the defense of every loophole and deduction, but there gotta  be a lot of regular taxpayers who dread  doing all this scutwork every year. 
  I used to do my taxes with an Excel spreadsheet of my own construction.  But craziness connected with sale of foreign stocks is just to much for me, I can't write the spreadsheet when I don't under stand the rules.
There has gotta be a better way.
   The better way is Turbo Tax.  It's straight forward to use but you gotta watch it.  Accidentally hit a comma, when you meant to hit period for decimal point  can drive the program, and you crazy.  You want to double check this year vs last year, assuming  you used Turbotax last year.  Deductions you took last year you ought to be able to take this year.