How & why I took the “easy” way out doing my taxes #FromHome this year
Confession: I never took Accounting 101 in college. Or any tax law or money-related course, at that.
To be honest, I’m 34-years-old and still intimidated by money. I own a business and I’m intimidated by money. So I’ve always found tax season to be, well… Stressful.
I’ve been through a lot in the last few years — financially and otherwise. I quit my full-time job to blog and try my hand in consulting; became a self-employed small business owner (but then also started working in fitness); moved from Chicago to New York back to Chicago, then ended up spending most of the year abroad… And now I’m quarantining back “home” in Arizona with family.
My money matters have gotten increasingly complicated over time. And with our lives wrapped up in tiger documentaries and round-the-clock Coronavirus news, I might need to remind you that — dun, dun, dun — tax season has arrived.
I should back up a sec:
This post is written documenting my experience using Tax Pro Go in partnership with H&R Block; but all opinions expressed are real, honest and my own.
Every year, I know It’s coming — “It” being Tax Day: April 15 (or July 15, ha) — and despite my usually unrealistic expectations to “be better” each year, I’m never prepared and usually end up sorting through piles of unorganized receipts in varying currencies from the past year for days at a time. (Expenses in different currencies are a nightmare if you leave them ‘til months later — like I tend to.)
The sheer force of dread is what fuels my procrastination. Which is kind of a Catch 22, I know… But summer is coming — and with it, our social lives — so I’m not about to spend my time in July indoors, slaving away over receipts and numbers.
So this year, I jumped at the chance to make a change – even with the July 15 tax extension – and document my experience using H&R Block’s Tax Pro Go®, which is a virtual time-saving tax solution for those of us with freelance hustles, small businesses and generally on-the-go lifestyles. (Or, well, those of us who had on-the-go lifestyles pre-quarantine.)
It’s actually ideal for those with a W2 or less complicated tax sitch, too – after a quick 20-second assessment (such as whether or not you own a home, have investments, student loans, kids; that sort of thing) – H&R Block recommends which tier is best for you: Simple, Student, Family or Biz Owner.
… And right now, more than ever, we need those refunds!
In the past, I’ve used a CPA or attempted them on my own, but the selling point for me here was the opportunity to have an expert file my taxes (1) quickly, (2) remotely and therefore (3) from home. In my sweats.
All-in-all, the process took me about three hours. I was surprised!
From my experience, it’s basically an easy way to have an expert do your taxes for you virtually (and it costs the same – if not less – than if you were to do them on your own). I used my computer, but you can upload over mobile, too. (And yes, it’s safe!)
I was matched with Anna, a CPA who specializes in multi-state income, small businesses, foreign income and corporations, among other things. (A lot, in other words. She’s been with H&R Block for more than five years!)
The “hard” part was getting all of my files and receipts together in an orderly fashion. (You don’t actually have to organize them up-front, but I didn’t want her to judge me for being so disorganized!)
After that, I did everything online — including two quick chat support sessions with Anna when I ran into questions about Illinois taxes, rental properties and write-offs. It was like having someone virtually coach me through my federal tax return, which made the process much less intimidating (and much less time-consuming) this year.
Once I sent off my documents (/scanned and uploaded my receipts and 1099s through H&R Block’s protected platform), Anna did the rest – and I had my completed return four days later.
In the past, I’d spend days logging receipts and categorizing expenses and dollar amounts in Microsoft Excel, a time-consuming process that ended up driving me crazy and not really saving me that much time or money in the end.
By comparison, I found Tax Pro Go to be surprisingly straightforward — no matter how complicated or unique your tax situation may be.
Thanks, Anna, and H&R Block for the opportunity to stay home and do my taxes (early) this season!
Are you done filing your taxes this year? Spend your quarantine time wisely (even with the July 15 extension) – summer will be here before we know it, and we’ll have social gatherings to attend to (hopefully)! Head to H&R Block and use this code to get $20 off your tax return using Tax Pro Go this year: 28325.