It seems like this time of year things happen to get piled up and stressful. Then I realize that taxes are due and the to-do-list seems to get downright overwhelming. I don't know why doing the taxes stresses me out so much. I've never had to pay anything and have always received a few thousand dollars back every year that I've filed, and it doesn't even seem to take that long for me to do them.
I think that one of the things about them that cause me anxiety is that I don't like spending money so I always opt to do them myself instead of paying someone to do them. And I seems to always be searching for the cheapest online software to use. Part of me always wonders if I could get more of a return by paying more to do them but as I fill them out I feel like I;m doing everything correctly and that the software coders can't be that different from one company to the next that it will make a difference in the tax laws that they all follow. So I have to try my best to push that thought out of my head and just go with it.
Last year this nagging question was too much for me so I used two free online options to see if there was a difference and found that while H&R Block did get me a few more dollars on my return the extra cost to submit the state return portion out-weighed the benefits. So for at least the past two years now we have been using FreeTaxUSA for our taxes.
Now, I want to make sure that you understand that I do have an affiliate connection with FreeTaxUSA and would love it if you followed my links to file your taxes with them, but I would be writing the same information here even if I didn't have an affiliate link with them. They will give me 50% of any sales that I send over to them. But don't worry, I'll still provide you with a coupon code to use that gives you a 10% discount and thus lowers anything that I would be making from the sale. My reason for telling you about them isn't to try to sell their product but to try to give you the best information that I can and I wouldn't push their product if I didn't use them myself.
Since I had most of the day off yesterday for Easter, and had already received all of the tax information that I needed to do my taxes this year I decided to bite the bullet and get them done, or at least started. It seems like every year I have a hard time remembering who we used the previous year and why we used them, so after spending at least an hour trying to figure out who to use I finally determined that we had used FreeTaxUSA based off of the amount that I had documented having spent on taxes last year.
Our taxes aren't horribly difficult so the entering of information went fairly quickly and the onscreen help icons clarified the few times that I had questions about what to enter. We have a home, children, and investments that pay dividends. No inheritances, no form of income outside of my W-2able job in 2015, no investment properties, and no personal business income. (Hopefully this site can at least make something this year and I won't have this luxury next year ;))
It took me about 3 hours to enter in all of the information and fill it all out, except - I didn't have access to the amount that I paid in health insurance premiums for the itemized deductions portion. So I couldn't finish them until I got that value off of my computer at the office. *Side-note: claiming the premiums increased my federal refund by about $137.
After getting that number at work today I quickly entered it in which finished our federal portion. It then took me about 30 minutes to go through the questions that they asked for the state filings and make the final submit everything. At checkout they charge $12.95 for the State filing but the federal filing is absolutely FREE. And thanks to the Honey browser add on I found the coupon code FREETAXUSA10 which saves you 10% off your purchase amount. So I paid a total of $11.66 to submit my taxes this year.
Now for the two answers that your dying to know:
1) How much did we get back? - Federal gave us $2,224 and the State gave us $411 this year. So after the cost of filing we will have gotten $2,623.34 for taxes this year.
2) What are you doing with it? - The first 10% of this refund will go to tithing as soon as it hits our accounts ($262.34). The remaining $2,361.00 will be split evenly between paying off principle on our mortgage and investing in Vanguard per Our Current Financial Plan, for a total of $1,180.50 in each. The Vanguard portion will probably all go into our VHCOX fund (Vanguard's Capital Index Fund) simply because that's where I've been putting our focus until that fund value hits $10,000 and I can get the admiral version of the fund which has a lower expense ratio.
If you have any other questions just let me know and if you're really feeling brave let us know how your taxes turned out this year in the comments. Good luck on them now and for always!