Taxes: What takes the time?

Amazed at some of the responses to my earlier thread as well as anecdotal evidence, I find myself needing to ask, how long does it usually take you to do your taxes, and why does it take that long? It takes me about an hour to do my state and federal returns. Mine are pretty simple. Single person with no dependents, standard deductions all around. What makes yours so time-consuming and complicated?

3 W2s
2-3 1099s

When I used paper it would take me all day, now most of the info is already there! No more calculator work and triple checking everything. :slight_smile:

Well, it depends. The biggest chunk o’ time is just getting all the records together. Back when investing in the stock market was actually worth doing, I’d often have to figure out the basis for stocks. E.g. if you buy stock in a company over a period of time and at different costs, when you sell it, you have to figure out what you paid for the particular shares you sold so you know what your (hopefully) profit was. This is a big pain, especially if you adopt the big pile o’ paper approach to record keeping and go in and out of the stock frequently.

Now that I’ve temporarily adopted the “keep it all under the mattress” approach to savings, tax preparation is much easier. An hour or two to dig up the various forms, figure out deductions, and fill everything out.

I’m waiting on my mortgage company to send my interest statement. Last year, they had overcharged a large group of clients and sent out a check as compensation. This has delayed everything, but they promise to get it to me by the 28th!

Usually it takes 10-14 days to get my refund. In fact, I usually have it by now.

It take me a couple of hours to add up all the stuff I’ve saved throughout the year. Then about 30 to 40 minutes to meet with the tax preparer. So, three hours in all.

Making sure I have all the paperwork. This year, off the top of my head:

2 W-2s
2 1099s, maybe 3
stock sales
stock option exercises
interest earned
interest paid on home loan
property taxes
capital gains

My time is much reduced now that I just plug everything into Turbo Tax and believe what comes out the other end.