First off, this week’s Carnival of Personal Finance was just posted. I love these carnivals, and Plonkee has included a photo quiz. Definitely worth checking out.
This week, I got my first tax form. Oh joy. Since then, I’ve been debating what to do about my taxes this year. No, not whether or not to file a return, that’s not really an option. Rather, I’m trying to decide if I want to do my taxes myself or if I want to pay someone to do them for me. This year, I have income from two different states and a move across the country for a new job. I’ve also got some dividend income from investments, but I didn’t sell any investments this year, so that does make things easier.
Last year, my taxes were a giant hassle, so I ended up paying a tax professional, because I filed them myself, then got a very late form from one of my banks that I was not aware I was getting. (Let this be a lesson to everyone – be aware of every form you should receive and also be aware of the deadlines by which they have to be sent to you – while a lot of forms have to be sent by January 31st, some can be sent as late as March). I had to file an amended return, so I opted to pay a tax professional to help me with this process.
While I have no complaints about the end result, I feel as though I’m in the process of really taking control of my finances, and to continue that, I should do my own tax returns. If I do them on my own, however, I think I want to get a computer program to assist. I’ve been looking at TurboTax, but I can’t decide which version I need. I do have investments, which leads me to believe that I need the Premier version, but on the other hand, I only have dividend income from those investments. Since I didn’t sell any investments, maybe the Deluxe version would work just fine. And the difference is $30 (priced at Amazon).
Plus, if I’m paying $70 for a program to help me with my taxes, how much more would it cost me to have a professional do it? Additionally, I think the price only includes one state – will I actually need to download for the other state (I earned very little there), or will I be able to do it on my own?
I think I need to ask more questions and do more research before I make a final decision.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.