The very first year I worked, back in 1994, I lived in New York with my dad. When they handed me my paycheck and a W2, I was confused and had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. So I brought it home to my dad and he stopped somewhere and picked me up a 1040EZ with the booklet to do my taxes with. I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT! Ok, well most of it I could, but there was one part that made no sense at all and I couldn't understand it no matter how many times I read the instructions in the book. That was the first and last time I ever tried to do my taxes myself....until this year.
I had my mother do my taxes for the first few years I was back in Texas, then I started going to tax preparers to do it when I got married. The past 6 years I have been going to H&R Block. I always thought they did a great job and I was reasonably satisfied with my return (not counting the fact that I never once got my entire return due to my ex-husband's debts). Last year when I filed, my husband and I had just seperated so we still filed jointly. Turns out he owed quite a bit of money that had been reported to the IRS and they took the ENTIRE thing. I ended up filing an injured spouse after the fact and got some of it back after all. However, since no money ever went through H&R Block, the fees for them filing the taxes last year never got paid. Since the yanking of the entire return was not my fault, I don't feel I should be required to pay them. That is why this year I decided I'd try to do my taxes myself. My good friend over at Crazed Mind told me that she knows squat about filing, but uses a FREE online e-filing service and it completely walks her through the process. Therefore I took a look online and ended up going to TurboTax Depending on how you file, you can qualify to use their free e-filing service, and I qualified.
Now a couple of months ago I searched online to see if I could estimate about how much I would be getting in return this year. I'm excited because I will be able to actually get my entire return and not have to worry about my ex-husband's debts. I looked at how much taxes I'd paid in for the year on my check stub, and looked up the EIC amount for my yearly income. I was looking at a pretty decent amount of a return, more than I'd seen in a LONG time. I got my first W2 yesterday (I have a second one this year from when my mother was living with me temporarily...I won't go into that drama right now...say thank you) so I plugged in all my numbers and at first I was mildly disappointed that it was showing me a little less than I had estimated. What I did not know until later was that the EIC hadn't even been added to that yet, so I'm now looking at a VERY nice return. I have been going over in my head what all I HAVE to pay with this money, then the stuff I want that would be very useful and handy, then finally (if there's anything left) the stuff I want just because I want it. I still can't get over how easy it was for me to do this on my own, and how they walk you through step by step to make sure you get all that you are entitled to. I had mentioned in a questionarre at the beginning that I am buying my house and when I didn't enter an amount for home taxes paid it stopped me and asked if I wanted to do that. How awesome is that.
So in conclusion, I am getting back a much larger return than I have seen in quite a while, I filed my taxes myself so I don't have to pay all sorts of crazy fees for someone else to do it, and I e-filed which means I should have my money direct deposited in the next 8-10 days! Not bad for a Tuesday afternoon!