Thursday, February 5, 2009

Doing My Own Taxes This Year

My dad has always done my taxes for me. In fact, he does taxes for pretty much everyone in our extended family, and has for as long as I can remember. He doesn't have any special training or anything (though he did get some type of certification after completing an H&R Block tax prep course about ten years ago), yet at least a dozen people trust this man to do their taxes for them every year. You know it's tax time because my parents' kitchen table is covered with stacks of paper and pencils, and my dad digs my old electric pencil sharpener out from the basement. :)

Since I moved out of state for college, my taxes have become a special kind of hell. For six calendar years, I was a part-time resident of both my home state and new state, and I had all sorts of weird freelance income to pay taxes on (but not enough to file quarterly). It drove my dad CRAZY. For the last two years, though, I've been a full-time resident of new state and my income was more regular and less confusing. I decided I wanted to learn to do my own taxes, and last year I sat down with my dad for about an hour and went over everything I'd need to know. We worked through both tax forms together, and I have to say that the federal filing was shockingly painless (state was another story...).

I'm confident that I can work out my own federal taxes this year, and probably my state, too, as long as I set aside a block of time to do this. I plan to work out both filings myself, though I may still show them to my dad to make sure I've done it correctly. I'm not expecting to get much back; I prefer to have less taken out of each paycheck, rather than get a big chunk of money once a year. I think my total refund last year was less than $500 for both state and federal combined. As long as I don't owe the government any money, I'll be happy.

1 comment:

Learned my tax lesson eight years ago said...

For $29 per year, H&R Block will give your return a "Second Look" to make sure you received everything you deserved. Sounds to me like it might be worth it for you. Plus they certify the return when it is done. Harry Smith highlighted the program on the CBS Morning Show yesterday.
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4777298n