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One of my neighbors was heading out last year to drop off a folder with his taxes at a Tax Prep office when I asked why he didn't do his own. "Well, I have the condo mortgage to claim," he said as though that made a difference. I explained that I, too, have a mortgage although the interest does not even make a dent in the standard deductions for our property values. He was intrigued. "I can show you how to do your own and save that hundred or so dollars." He was even MORE intrigued.  

There are exceptions, of course, for those with complicated tax cases or much higher incomes than ours where paying the preparers make sense.

Peter and I are using Free Tax USA which is free for the federal (and automatic deposit to checking accounts in about eight days) and we file our local and State taxes online, also for free, through the applicable web sites.

Here is the link to the IRS Free File tab that will become active in January 2019 to determine if you qualify...

My wife and I have filed (free) online for over fifteen years now with absolutely NO issues. Your mileage may vary but we save well over $100 per year with the do-it-yourself option.


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Usually, I would agree. I have an Accounting degree and used to do other people's taxes as a side gig. The Deluxe versions of tax programs walk you thru everything with options and explanations. I buy the Premium by Intuit when working with others' returns. It's worth the $129.

However, 2020 will be a different beast as so many laws and credits and interest due. This will make it a bear and I would recommend not going it alone for Trump's surprises that are coming upon us.

Taxes should not be a casual issue to try on your own unless they are very simple and straight forward. 2020 will be neither from an experienced tax preparers' humble point of view.

Last edited by Leslie Kay

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