The Big Fight Over How to File Our Taxes

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I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this one coming, but I guess I thought it would go down a lot smoother than it has. For the past month, The Man and I have been ignoring a little underlying tax tension in this house. Now that we’re married we must share the filing process, and though we’ve been together for seven years that’s not something we’ve ever really talked that much about with each other before. In the past he filed his (usually super early and fast!) and I filed mine (days before that damn deadline), end of story. We didn’t share much other than how much money we were getting back. Now that the experts say when you’re married it’s best you file together we’re faced with our first big challenge as husband and wife: We must somehow agree to disagree over money. Not an easy situation.

Without going into all of the details I’ll say that the main issue is that he wants to file separately and I want to file jointly. Our tax styles don’t exactly jive they way they should. Any other year The Man would go to HR Block, let one of their “experts” help him get the most back and he’d come home with a nice chunk of change headed his way before Valentine’s Day. Any other year I, The Wife, would go purchase the latest turbo tax CD, follow the instructions on the screen, and then cross my fingers that I break even when it was all said and done. If I got back anything at all it was enough to buy a pair of overpriced shoes, maybe, so I didn’t ever feel a rush to file.

Now, I want to follow the advice we’ve been given and file together so we won’t owe, but when we crunched our joint numbers together on my new TurboTax software The Man wasn’t happy with the final refund number that popped up at the top of the screen. Now he refuses to file that way without getting a second opinion about whether or not we’ll do better on our own, and I refuse to trust the methods of these so called “tax experts” at his go-to HR Block.

So, now we’re just sort of at a standstill on the whole tax thing. (And when it comes up you could cut the air with a knife!) Nothing has been filed as of right now and each day that goes by is one day longer that The Man goes without his annual savings boos – which doesn’t make him very happy. I on the other hand, having been so used to getting back next to nothing, could care less if we resolve this anytime soon. And so we debate, and wait. Then debate some more, and wait some more.

Are any of you having better luck? Any tax experts out there want to weigh in? We’ll listen to any arguments that could help either of us win our case. HELP!

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14 Responses to The Big Fight Over How to File Our Taxes

  1. blu says:

    have you tried to enter your individual info into the turbo tax separately, that way you can compare whether you'll do better together or individually. and you can still safely rely on turbo tax rather than H&R

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Yes, but he's convinced TurboTax doesn't look out for you the way an HR Block would as far as "knowing the tricks" goes. LOL! Jury's still out on that one.

  2. Bella says:

    Don’t be angry for me not siding with one of the sisters of the sisterhood, but I’m with the Man on this one. I would not solely rely on a turbo tax program and would most definitely get a second opinion. The sooner the better so you can put all of this behind you, return or no return!

  3. Tazzee says:

    I’m a combination of the two of you. In the past I would buy TaxCut (now the H&R Block software), follow the instructions and file my taxes super fast with my refund coming mid-February. My husband would take his to his tax guy at the last minute.
     
    I’m a CPA so I can’t imagine paying someone to file our taxes. With the new tax laws, we couldn’t file before 2/15 so that took some pressure off. I’ve been accumulating our tax papers and I plan to buy the software this weekend. My husband owns his own business so it will be a little more difficult but I’m ready for the task. Like blu recommended, I’m going to do both our taxes together and then separately to see which is better. If you buy the H&R Block software, they give you free online assistance so you can chat with someone if you think there’s a problem. I can say this, there aren’t many ‘tricks’ they can find in the H&R Block office that aren’t in the software. I used to do my sister’s taxes. One year, her husband didn’t like the result so he took the taxes I filed completed with the software over to H&R Block – paid them to look at them and got the same result.
     
    Unless you guys have a lot of difficult transactions, I think the software will work fine. With that said – we might still get ours checked by a professional (I’m not a tax accountant). Not only did we get married but I sold my rental property and he turned his old house into rental property. I’m not looking forward to doing our taxes this year…

  4. Coco says:

    Why doesn't he just plug his information into the H&R Block website? He will get the same result that he would get at the actual office (I work there so I know). He won't have to pay unless he tries to file.
    My recent post Update on Parenting

  5. Tiffany In Houston says:

    We are planning on filing separately this year because my husband owes from last year and will be on a payment plan and I will probably be getting a refund. We will probably file joint after this year.

  6. Mrs TDJ says:

    Hubs and I faced this issue as well. We finally just agreed to pay an actual accountant. We got referrals from other married friends. Each year, he crunches the numbers and we talk to him thoroughly before filing. We're good now and we're on year 6.
    My recent post The Accidental Stunt Woman

  7. alovelydai says:

    You'll usually end up getting a larger refund if you two file separately. The problem is (as you've stated above) you could end up owing and you don't want that.

  8. Jami Graham says:

    To be honest…I've never even considered doing it separately. I would have to agree with everyone who suggest checking both…wish we had! There's always next year…

    We always use a real professional, it's $100 extra but we know from personal experience (last tax season after using said "experts") that we got $700 more…$600 difference in profit.
    My recent post Why NOT to buy flooring from Home Depot or Lowes

  9. fahmida says:

    I am missing something, I feel like. We have different tax styles, too, as in he likes using software, I like to manually pore over each form and arcane instructions and talk to various tax folks. So we do it both ways. I do our taxes my way, he does them his way, and then we check to see who got the better 'deal' – and during our first year, we doubled the work by each of us doing it jointly and separately. With two freelance incomes (multiple 1099s), rental property, mortgage, two (at least) W-2, kids, childcare, we have a pretty complex tax situation, so we just go ahead and let each of us do our own thing and then compare. And once we have all the info, we file accordingly. I've found tricks my way that his software didn't catch some years, and he's found deductions his way that I didn't catch. It's more work, but it keeps us happy that we covered all bases. Since you now have the Turbo Tax numbers, and you listen to the tax advisor, and the number is not as good, don't use their info. Besides, doesn't HR Block have a thing where if they can't find a better deal, they don't charge you?

  10. Melissa E. says:

    My husband and I file jointly, and since his dad and stepmom file taxes professionally, we let them do it and figure out the hard stuff. The rest of our finances, though, are separate. I wouldn't trust turbotax if your stuff is at all complicated. . . you might be missing deductions and such.

    But as for all married money matters, I think if you and your husband are that far apart with regard to finances, it might be better to keep things that way. . . for your marriage, I mean. I've been advised by all kinds of people to combine checking accounts and credit cards and such, and we just can't do it. We married in our 30s and do not want to fight about our money. So we split the bills. For us, it makes more sense to do it that way and not have to fight about whether I "really" needed shoes or he "really" needed fourteen visits to Starbucks. If either one of us spends a huge amount (more than a few hundred) we talk about it, but mostly everything is separate.

    Fights about money and taxes can be bad. Probably better to file separately if it is causing arguments. Good luck figuring out this conundrum.

  11. ManWifeDog says:

    I cannot thank you all enough for the advice! Seriously!! We needed it. I'll let you know how it goes…lol..the jury is STILL out on this one.
    My recent post Meet A Wife Monday- Super Awesome Blogger Hallie Stops By

  12. Mac says:

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