My CPA and I… 2011 Taxes, Almost Done

After years of fairly simple taxes finalized in less than an hour online, this year I went to a CPA hoping that he’d provide me more in value than an H&R Block, given his rates were $220 an hour. Selecting a CPA was a daunting process and admittedly one I ran out of time to do effectively — all I knew is in order to properly submit my 83(b) election form with this years taxes, I needed to paper file, which took Turbotax out of the running.

Going to a CPA, I learned, isn’t a lot different from doing your own taxes online. I sat there with him for a full two hours reviewing my paperwork (which admittedly wasn’t as organized as it could have been) — but what took the most amount of time was him trying to understand my gains and loss statement for my Sharebuilder account, which — I thought for a CPA — should have been easy. He also was confused by my tiny Lending Club and Prosper interest, not knowing where to put it.

I expected to owe taxes this year, and really had no idea if it would be $3,000 or $10k, so I was prepared for the worst. In the end, the relatively good news is, I seem to only owe $3500 or so, plus the $500-$600 to the CPA. I can also sleep at night knowing a CPA filled out my tax forms versus my guessing on a few confusing parts of TurboTax. It’s a little bit of a bummer that I am paying $600 or so to file taxes, versus $100 online, but this also ensures my forms will be mailed in that have to be sent with a paper return.

This week, I also re-discovered the inefficiencies of the IRS and just how behind the times they are when it comes to technology. It’s amazing they let anyone e-file taxes to begin with.

In any case, I’m almost done with this filing. I need to figure out if a stock gain was recorded properly on my taxes last year, or if I need to count it in this year’s taxes. I’m on a life mission to get much more organized around taxes and everything else. It’s only going to get more complicated from hereon out.

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