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Do you like doing your own taxes, but need an expert opinion?


This post is sponsored by H&R Block, but all opinions are my own.

April 17th is closing in fast. Are you done with your tax return? By now, you should have all of the forms you need to do your tax return. I usually try to finish my taxes in February, but often wait to file until the last minute. That’s because we usually owe the IRS some money and I don’t want to send it in early. 2017 was a particular difficult year for taxes. I had more income than expected and I didn’t send in estimated tax payments last year. It worked in previous years because my self-employment income was low. 2017 was a different story and I’ll need to send the IRS almost $10,000. That’s a lot of money! That’s why I’m looking for an expert opinion this year and H&R Block provides it.

H&R Block Tax Pro Review

Nobody wants to write a $10,000 check to the IRS. It might be unavoidable, but I would like to run it by a tax expert. Our taxes have grown complicated over the last few years.

  • I’m self-employed and need to pay self-employment tax.
  • Mrs. RB40 works full time.
  • We have interest and dividend income.
  • We have gains and losses from stock sales.
  • We have rental properties.
  • I have an individual 401k that I max out every year. For 2017, I contributed $30,150. Nice!
  • We have a house, a kid, childcare expense, local taxes, and charitable donations.

Usually, I don’t mind doing taxes because it gives us a good picture of our finances. This year is not good because we owe the IRS a ton of money. I knew we’ll owe some money, but I didn’t think it would be this much. The biggest amount we owed in previous year was just a couple thousand dollars. The good news is that H&R Block has a service that can help. I completed my tax return online and sent it in to be reviewed by a tax professional. This service is called Tax Pro Review. It costs $59.99 to $89.99 depending on the complexity of your tax return. Our tax return is as complicated as it gets so it cost the full $89.99.

I think this is a great service for DIY tax filer like me. I could do my own taxes like normal. It gives me a better understanding of our finances and I can plan for next year. Having an expert review our tax return is great. They might catch something that I miss. The best thing is that I can do it all from home. This is much better than going to a tax office. I’ve done that before and it takes a ton of time during the busy season. I’d rather spend time with my family than a tax accountant, no offense to the accountants out there.

Visit www.hrblock.com/online-tax-filing/tax-pro-review/ to start your return today.

Next year will be better

It wasn’t fun to do our taxes this year. The amount we owe was too high. Overall, this is good news because it meant I made much more income than normal. However, I get a little panicky whenever I need to send $10,000 in the mail. The Tax Pro Feedback service helps reassure me that I didn’t miss anything. I’ll plan better in 2018 and send in estimate tax payments every quarter. Next year tax return should be much more palatable.

Do you like doing your own tax return like I do? Could an experienced tax professional help with your taxes?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Felipe March 7, 2018, 6:35 am

    My parents always did their own taxes, but they live in a state with no income tax so it’s only one return. One year my mom paid the fancy expensive accounting firm to do them. They made a mistake and my parents had to pay a penalty.
    When I moved to yet another state with a state return I was lazy and didn’t want to figure out a new system. So I found an H&R Block lady who’d been there 30 years and is year-round. I go back every year and happily pay $300+. Really professional, good advice, and tax planning advice for the coming year. I’ve had foreign tax paid, electric car credits, qualified dividends. More than I want to figure out. But your idea is a great value. Good post. We have to plan taxes in advance, not after the year’s up. Paying someone this year may help us navigate next year’s new tax laws.

    • retirebyforty March 7, 2018, 9:04 am

      Thanks for sharing. I haven’t found a good tax person yet so I’ve been doing it myself.
      I didn’t plan well for 2017 because we made more money than expected. Next year will be very complicated too. Our taxes should come down, though. The pass through tax cut should help.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early March 7, 2018, 7:52 am

    I did our own taxes until things started to get more complicated, and then I found a wonderful CPA who does them now. She charges a bit more than H&R Block, but she’s very familiar with the intricacies of our tax situation and more than makes up for it by finding all the legal ways we can reduce our tax bill. So worth it in my opinion.

    • retirebyforty March 7, 2018, 9:05 am

      I need a good CPA. 🙂 Our taxes are getting way too complicated.

  • savvy March 7, 2018, 9:56 am

    Please post an update once you’ve met with them. This is probably something I could benefit from this year as well. We had a number of complexities for 2017 that we hadn’t had before. I’m pretty sure I accounted for everything correctly but would love a second set of eyes.

  • Adam and Jane March 7, 2018, 11:30 am

    I did our taxes for the first 10 years and sometimes I made a mistake. I hated the ones when I worked in another state. I work in IT providing 24×7 online support which is stressful enough. I used to have such high anxiety when I mailed my return and hoped I did it correctly.

    For the past 21 years, we used my father’s CPA to do our taxes and my stress level is gone during tax season. The CPA also handled my parents business returns. After my mom retired, the CPA still handles her personal return which has with 2 rentals.

    For this year, we paid him $300 for our tax return and $450 for my mom’s return with rental properties. It is expensive but to us it is worth every penny to not have to deal with it.


    • retirebyforty March 7, 2018, 12:12 pm

      That’s a good move for you. Having a trusted CPA really helps. I still need to find good a local CPA. Our taxes usually isn’t that bad, but it keeps getting more complicated.

  • VegDad16 March 7, 2018, 11:45 am

    I am one of the crazy ones who likes doing taxes 🙂 Been using TurboTax for 18 years! I feel it is really thorough and have never had any problems. I’ve owned property, itemized deductions, got married, had kids, EV credit, you name it and it seems to handle it well. That being said, and to your point I have never had a second opinion. But it is usually in line with my estimates for the year so I feel pretty confident. Oh, the best part is you can install one copy on multiple computers so my family shares the cost, ends up costing only ~$20 to do our taxes! It would be interesting to put up a poll with various tax prep options to see what readers are using!

  • Richard March 10, 2018, 5:58 pm

    Praying here. My taxes are even more complicated than yours rb40 as besides everything you have I have a couple of foreign accounts. I did all by myself via turbotax and I whish they had a service like H&R which I only found out now. The only think I can do now is to pray for IRS not find anything wrong w/ it

  • Lamar Preprit March 10, 2018, 6:05 pm

    I do on my own and it’s complicated BUT I refuse to have to PAY in order to PAY taxes. This is a complete absurd from where I come from !
    Every year I go thru the 117 forms available on the IRS website and pick the ones that apply to me. Did you know there are 117 forms there that can apply to you?
    (insane America. You guys went to the moon and still can’t figure out a easy way of doing taxes, unbelievable!!!)

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