This year, my husband suggested that he complete our taxes. I then proceeded to burst out laughing. This is mostly because my husband hates math, so the picture of him trying to “crunch” our numbers for taxes made me smile. After my laughter settled down, he said in a defensive tone, “What? I used to do my own taxes!” The past several years since we were married, we have always paid a CPA to complete our taxes. This is because my husband used to own a business, and it was just easier to pay a professional to complete them, and reassuring in that we knew our taxes were “done correctly” that way. However, with our recently found FI attitude, I conceded to trying to file our own taxes.
We discussed and researched several DYI tax companies, and settled on using FreeTaxUSA. This decision was trifold. 1) My mom had been using this site for a decade to file her own taxes, and she thought it was straightforward and user-friendly. It’s always nice to have a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member! 2) Filing your federal tax return is free through the site, though you do have to pay a nominal fee ($14.99 in 2020) to file your state taxes. 3) You have the option to pay a small amount more for the Deluxe Edition ($6.99 in 2020) to get extras including unlimited amended returns at no extra cost and assistance from FreeTaxUSA if you were to be audited. The site seemed pretty straightforward, and there are many questions the software asks you to try to assist you in finding more deductions. There were even a few things that I am pretty confident our CPA would not have asked us for which we were able to claim as deductions. Examples include the following: did we install any new exterior doors or windows, did we make improvements to increase energy efficiency such as adding insulation, did we have to pay a union fee for one of our jobs, and did we donate items to places like Goodwill? The answer was YES to all of those!
Overall, completing our taxes together certainly was an interesting thing to do as a couple, as it led to a few “discussions”, (those who are married know exactly what I mean by that), but filing our own taxes ended up saving us several hundred dollars. We will likely attempt to continue to do so, unless we feel as though our taxes become a bit less straightforward again in the future (such as if we do start another small business). Overall, I would encourage you to consider completing your own taxes as it likely can save you several hundred dollars while providing a small sense of accomplishment.
Have you completed your own taxes for yourself or your family? How was your experience? Do you have a favorite site/company that you use to file your own taxes? Comment below!