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Situation Summary: Last year I simulated doing my own taxes by hand but I missed a ton of deductions. Thankfully I go to a CPA who didn't miss them and things were fine.

This year half my annual income is coming from rental properties which are untaxed until I go to my accountant at the end of the year and he tells me how much I need to pay.

Last year I provided my CPA an estimated income statement for 2015. I am skeptical about how much he told me to save so I'd like to try and estimate it myself again this year. Just more accurately.

Problem: I would like a free calculator or resource that will guide me on doing my own taxes this year. To me, because of all the deductions, they seem quite complex. It's a pretty healthy mix of personal earned income from the company I work for, which is taxed. Then a couple rentals.

  • How much different is your 2015 situation from your 2014 situation? Are you adverse to paying any amount for a software license? – user662852 Sep 10 '15 at 1:48
  • I bought a new property at the end of last year which increased my income another 25k so it's pretty different. I'd prefer a free resource. – Anthony Russell Sep 10 '15 at 2:01
  • I don't know how well packages like Turbo Tax handle rentals, but it might be worth trying running last year's numbers through a copy of last year's version (if you can find a friend who has the high-end version needed and will let you use it) and see how it works for you. Unfortunately I don't think Intuit has an official try-a-previous-year mechanism. – keshlam Sep 10 '15 at 12:12
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If you want to be more accurate than your CPA's estimate, you'll need to make your own estimates and calculate your taxes yourself.

It can all be calculated by hand. Take a look at your last year's tax return. Substitute the numbers there for your estimates of what the numbers will be this year, and calculate what your tax will be.

To assist you with this, you might find Excel 1040 useful. This is a free excel spreadsheet that contains Form 1040 and all the major schedules and forms that go with it. You just enter your numbers and it does the math for you.

If you are looking for something more automated than that, I don't think you'll find a free solution. You can purchase a copy of H&R Block Tax Software or TurboTax that will walk you through your tax return. You can enter last year's numbers into the software, and verify that you get the same result as your CPA. Then change the numbers as appropriate for your estimates for this year, and see what you get.

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