The Tax Prep Smackdown

Friday, April 13, 2012

Joel Stein, humorist and contributing writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, used four methods of tax preparation and reports back.


Joel Stein

Comments [23]


In countries like Australia these Self managed super funds are very popular owing to the fact that people here age very quickly. The Australian Taxation Office encourages these funds to help the people have an easy way after their retirement. The fund ensures that your future assets are safeguarded well. If you will be getting pension based on account, your super fund will help you here too.

Aug. 04 2012 05:32 AM
accounting fort worth


Thanks for the compliment I am glad you like to the comments. I really.I wish u keep on giving these course wiht some new strategies.appreciate your work, keep it up.....

Apr. 20 2012 08:55 PM
Edward from NJ

The one time TurboTax failed me was when I moved from NY to NJ and bought a house. There was a software error that was triggered by the partial-year residency. I could see the problem, but when I tried to report what was a technical glitch, the phone support people kept telling me that they "couldn't give tax advice".

So I finally decided to go to an accountant, and I got a nice big refund from NY state. When I started to review the return and ask questions the accountant was really indignant. So I figured, he's a professional...he knows what he's doing. Six months later I got a nice big tax bill from NY. My human accountant had completely neglected to file any New York City tax forms.

Now, I'm back with TurboTax.

Apr. 13 2012 01:30 PM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Hey, Brian!

Using that $300K number that some listener dropped as your own 'take-away' a while back, my calc of taxes puts you in that tax well you alluded to. A $300K earner pays under 23% of income in income tax and FICA Withholding.

Apr. 13 2012 12:03 PM

Joel, that was so sweet about anticipating your son! One more tip I have: Let him play with baby dolls! It's just healthy modeling of his own life with a loving father, and should be encouraged.

Apr. 13 2012 12:00 PM
Mike from New Rochelle

I'm a CPA with 25 years experience. The comment just made about deductibility of accountans fees shows why you need an accountant. YES, you can deduct the fees associated with having your taxes prepared BUT where you deduct them is more important. In the journalist case the research is absolutely part of his business and should be deducted against the related income (thereby reducing his Self Employment taxes). Rather than taking the deduction on his Schedule A (which is a limited deduction and subject to a 2% of AGI floor)!!!

Apr. 13 2012 11:58 AM
P E Hedden from Bronx

AARP volunteers, in partnership with the IRS, prepare individual tax returns free of charge at locations, such as libraries, all over the country. These people go through extensive IRS training and many times have volunteered for years. Although they can handle quite complex returns, including for past years, they will refer people to professionals if the return will be beyond their charter.

Apr. 13 2012 11:57 AM
Vic from West Orange

I used Turbotax for years--- but now I use the HR Block software, which is called Tax Cut. It's much better. Simpler, clearer, walks you through one question at a time. It's basically the same software they use in the HR Block office.

Apr. 13 2012 11:56 AM
Kevin from Manhattan

I'm a 24-year old former-tax accountant. I've been doing my own taxes online since my first job at 15. I don't understand why a lot of people my age and younger have their parents' expensive accountants do their taxes. Doing your own taxes is a very enlightening experience.

Apr. 13 2012 11:55 AM
Mark from Qns.

How long does the IRS have to audit after taxes have been filed?

Apr. 13 2012 11:54 AM
annie from nyc

You have to understand the tax code and keep an eye on what your accountant does for you.

Tax planning is a year round thing not an April 15 thing

Apr. 13 2012 11:54 AM
sheldon from brooklyn

Amen James, H&R is the last place someone should go to do their taxes.

Apr. 13 2012 11:54 AM
C. E. Connelly from Manhattan

Where in the world did your guest sell a book for a $400K advance?

Apr. 13 2012 11:54 AM
Monica West from 10014

Hi there, just wanted to let you know that we made a music video about spending our tax refunds in the West Village. We're called MVPleez, our song is TAX REFUND TIME and we were featured on New York Magazine-Grub Street yesterday. Here's the video:

Apr. 13 2012 11:52 AM

Haha wasn't listening to the radio in the background until you asked if we even had time to listen. Yes, sitting here doing my taxes but procrastinating by looking at every new post in my professional organizations Facebook discussion page.

I once threatened to divorce my husband unless we hired an accountant. I wish I had remember the H&R block experience when I was a graduate student. The IRS changed the rules on student stipends so I thought I needed professional help. Instead I got audited and H&R block abandoned me. I fixed that one myself. So, when my husband caved into me and hired a highly recommended accountant, he wanted us to cheat in ways we were not comfortable with. When we submitted the tax return that he prepared, the IRS itself found errors in his accounting and we got more money back THANKS TO THE IRS, not the accountant.

I ate crow. Even though both of us are self-employed, we will never hire another tax accountant again.

I suppose the years that I worked in international nonprofit work trying to follow the money trail of how the President of the organization raided my budgets and put the money I pulled in from grants into unrelated project helped me in terms of accounting.

Apr. 13 2012 11:52 AM
Marina from NYC

Noy Tax Associates did my taxes this year. I was very happy with the services, the level of response and my refund!!

Apr. 13 2012 11:51 AM

Should one worry about security, using those online software accountants? It's a lot of sensitive info, after all...

Apr. 13 2012 11:49 AM
james from nyc

H R Block charges an arm and a leg and the people that work for them make $10 an hour.

They dont know anything except how use thier proprietary software to prepare your return.

Apr. 13 2012 11:48 AM
JHC from NYC

Given that Mr. Klein saw these four accountants to write an article, will he write their fees off next year's filing?

Apr. 13 2012 11:48 AM

I started out as a working college student filling out my returns by hand.
As they got more complicated, I started using TurboTax.
Then I tried 3 accountants in a row -- EVERY ONE OF THEM MADE ERRORS.
Now I'm back to using TurboTax.

Apr. 13 2012 11:46 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Mr. Stein said he was getting a tax rebate... I think he meant refund.

Apr. 13 2012 11:46 AM
oscar from ny

I talk to the I r s like im talking to a robber with a fear

Apr. 13 2012 11:29 AM
John from NYC

Regarding filing Income Taxes for New York State, can you ask your guest if knows why the NY State Tax department makes it difficult to obtain hard copies of the forms. Many of us don't have or cannont afford the internet set up at home to file online and still need to file with paper forms. There is definitely a divide between the online and paper format for New York State at least.

Apr. 13 2012 11:20 AM

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