View Full Version : Tax Season - Accountant or Turbo Tax

02-02-2010, 02:01 PM
I've used turbo tax for the best 4 years and have what I think is good success with it. I'm single and do not have children. I've been a homeowner all four years and don't have any investments to declare or charitable contributions. I think my taxes are pretty easy and turbo tax gets me a nice little refund. But I have this urge to try using an accountant with the hopes he/she will be able to increase net my refund after fees. What do you all think?

I was thinking about proposing a deal with an accountant. Can I get the accountant to agree to a deal that I will pay them if they increase my refund by more than the fee they charge?



02-02-2010, 03:18 PM
I went through this exact exercise four or five years ago, and though my tax picture is a bit different (married, one child, homeowner, light investments, some job movement), the end result was the same - TurboTax gave me the same refund the accountant did, for quite a bit less. I think the difference between the two returns may have been $20.

Everyone's situation is different and I think it is a worthwhile exercise to do once in awhile, just to ensure that the deductions you are comfortable taking through the software agree with what a tax professional would recommend.

That being said - my biggest tax headache occurred when using a tax preparation service many years ago (not to name names, but big green squares give me the heebie-jeebies). It took quite a bit of detective work to determine what occurred (after filing, of course) and I was on the hook for the difference in tax money owed (they covered the fine - mighty nice of them).

FWIW ---- hope this helps!

02-02-2010, 05:18 PM
I was thinking about proposing a deal with an accountant. Can I get the accountant to agree to a deal that I will pay them if they increase my refund by more than the fee they charge?


-FlippinNo accountant licensed to practice before I.R.S. is allowed to accept a fee based upon a contingency basis in the filing of an original return. (I.R.S. circular 230) (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/circular_230.pdf). If you do happen to find one that will prepare a tax return based on a contingency basis, ask what his/her policy is in regards to representing you before the I.R.S., should an examination occur. :rolleyes:

02-02-2010, 07:09 PM
Turbo Tax all the way. I've never used an accountant in the 30 years I've been filing taxes and have had some reasonable complicated returns on a few occasions. I used to use Tax Cut (going all the way back to the DOS days) and have been using Turbo Tax for at least the last 7-8 years. I have complete confidence in it (particularly since it does a better job each year of prompting me for my information). E-file with usually less than a 10 day time to refund is awesome too.

Bill O
02-02-2010, 08:23 PM
An accountant isn't going to find you any more deductions than TurboTax and they will cost much more....and I'm an accountant.

Sounds like you have a fairly simple tax situation. Even if it was much more complicated TurboTax could easily handle it.

02-03-2010, 08:36 AM
I've used an accountant most of my life because in addition to w-2 income from my regular job, my wife and I always had income from businesses that we operated over the years. Then it was tuition deductions, deductions for business use of home etc... and I always felt more comfortable with an accountant. Our situation became much less complex over the last few years and I used Turbo Tax for the first time 2 years ago. Our income and deductions from the previous year had changed little and the results from Turbo Tax were essentially identical from using an accountant the previous year. Needless to say I used TT again this year and am quite pleased with it. It handles charitable contributions, tuition deductions, and many other things quite well. It's very simple - just like being interviewed by an accountant - you just answer questions and the program fills in the appropriate forms for you. I got a pleasant surprise when I got the 800.00 making work pay tax credit which I was unaware of.
p.s. - Bill, thanks for being so forthcoming as an accountant - I'm sure your time is better spent handling more complex situations than the average simple tax return.

02-03-2010, 09:52 AM
Thanks everyone. At the end of the day, I think Im just being greedy.

Gorque - Thinking about it, that makes perfect sense. Results driven compensation is all I know though.

Bill O - thanks for the reinforcement.


02-03-2010, 10:56 AM
I use an accountant, but I have my own business to deal with.

For a simple filing, I think Turbo Tax works great (that's what I used to use)

02-06-2010, 09:05 PM
I used to create a Multiplan spreadsheet and when 1-2-3 came out I switched to that. I had people all across the country using the spreadsheet every year and it handled some pretty complex things.

Then when Turbotax release 1 came out, I switched to using it and have been using it ever since. The only returns I have not used Turbotax for was for 2 different estates where I was the Executor. For my stuff, I just use Turbotax. I have been audited 13 times between federal, RI, NY and WI with no issues found. A federal audit when we lived in Wisconsin was totally bogus and I told them so. When in NY I requested an audit from NY and they had to figure out how to do that. I won that one completely.

My stuff now is pretty simple, but I have had some complex years. Plus, I will take every deduction I am allowed - no more - but every one I can find. Turbotax today steps you through the things so well, it is hard for the normal person to justify using an accountant - unless the whole thing just scares them. Most people pull their data together to give the accountant. At that point, they have what they need to run Turbotax. If the documentation to do taxes is written for a 6th grade educated person (or whatever grade it is), then as a college graduate I should be able to make a good whack at it. If I make a mistake, sorry - I tried.