I decided to do my own taxes this year to save a few dollars. Bad move. I probably spent close to 40 hours when it was done. Here is the approximate timeline:
- March 1: I made decision to try to do them after reviewing last year’s taxes and collecting all our info. Our CPA had retired. How hard can this be? It’s just about putting numbers in the right places. Many things should be easier like no AMT. Peter tells me I’m stubborn.
- March 15: Buy TurboTax Home and Business at Costco ($72). It actually installed great. Oops made the mistake of trying import from Quicken. After spending time cleaning out the garbage, I proceeded.
- April 1-7: Organized all our business expenses in Quicken in the right categories so that we would have a good report. Like our CPA did last year I divided our businesses income/expenses on 2 Schedule C. After a few trials, I thought I was good. I was just a little concerned because we had decided to make me part of Peter’s business last year. I looked at the business form requirements and was a bit overwhelmed; they talk a totally different lingo than Schedule C. Because we had a lot of business expenses, Quicken told us that we had a high chance of audit. I purchased the audit support ($50). At Peter’s encouragement, I submitted to Quicken for a professional review and asked a few questions (another $50).
- April 9: I got the review back and they said that I had to file the business forms. Peter is telling me I’m being totally inefficient with my time. I agree with him and call a couple CPA’s figuring I could submit an extension and figure it out later. A few calls later I found that the week before taxes are due, CPA’s don’t take new clients… not even with an extension. I turn to my Dad who is a tax guru from way back. After my first desperate email, he told me to file extension and get CPA. But when I talked to him directly, he said file an extension, get the IRS to answer your questions and get it done.
- April 10: I happened to be in Office Max and noticed they had TurboTax Business ($115). On a whim and knowing I still had the weekend to figure it out, I bought it. After all, it does have a money-back satisfaction guarantee TurboTax tends to speak English vs. IRS.
- April 11: First question “What were your year end capital expenses on your partnership from 2006?”. Oh no… we didn’t file this return last year and had no field that was called “capital expenses”. And we weren’t technically a partnership last year. I kept working and things started to make sense. A few things here and there that took hours to research only to find out that they were not applicable. Saturday night, I print out a copy of the Business forms. Sunday I work on our 1040. It is starting to make sense. I accidentally hit a wrong key and exit without saving, losing about an hours worth of work. I’m too tired. Peter says I’m a Stubborn Swede.
- April 14. I finished up and did a final review of everything. I have several work meetings so I don’t get back to it until late in the day. I tried e-filing the Business version and it didn’t go through. Hawaii business version can not be e-filed.
- April 15 – before 10am. Everything is submitted. Even though it costs more and makes little difference to our tax outcome, I e-filed to save paper and prevent delays. Peter took Hawaii version (not due until April 21) to the post office. I am happy and exhausted.
Hopefully, I won’t regret this. I did learn a few things about business taxes. But in the end it was not worth it. I won’t do it again.