Free Tax Program for Clergy

Discussion in 'Money Talk$' started by sag38, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. sag38

    sag38
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    Have any of you tried the free tax program for clergy that is advertised on this site? I gave it a try and found it to be far lacking. The program was confusing, did not adequately explain questions, and did not how to handle the fair market value of a parsonage when figuring self-employment tax. Beware of this product. In my opinion it's not what it claims to be.

    As a former tax preparer for HR Block I have high expectations of tax programs especially when they claim to understand the needs of clergy. Most tax programs, preparers and even accountants don't have clue. Beware!!!!
     
  2. tinytim

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    Nope.. I go to HR Block.. .One yr I did my own just to see if I could... and then went to HR Block, and I had cheated myself out of like $500!... so ... I just stick with the people who get paid to know what they are doing... The money I pay them is well worth the absence of a headache!
     
  3. annsni

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    When my husband had his business and all, we used an accountant but now we use TurboTax and it's great.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Turbo Tax messed us up big time.
     
  5. rbell

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    As do we.

    Sorry to hear that.

    RM, we are talking finances, taxes, etc., so this may not be answerable...

    ...but is it something you can share (in generalities)...so that it doesn't jump up & bite us?
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    It will allow you to make a claim based on a misunderstanding. Sometimes the questions are not specific enough. It was a 2300 dollar mistake.
     
    #6 Revmitchell, Apr 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2010
  7. rbell

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    Yikes. That'll "misunderstand" you right to the poorhouse, eh?
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Well it certainly could have gone elsewhere. Even with turbo tax you need to do your research on personal tax issues separate from turbo tax. Do not rely on it to give you answers.
     
  9. rbell

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    Right you are. I do my homework on tax stuff.

    Years and years ago, (way over a decade) I made a major mistake: a church I worked at screwed up...very badly...with regard to my income. I wasn't on top of it as I should have been...and I didn't speak up as I should have. (It wasn't a theft or ethics issue...but rather one of competence--reporting, re-imbursements, and such).

    It cost me thousands of $$. (I ended up taking a cash advance on a credit card...I was not going to owe the IRS). I learned some important lessons from that:

    1. Get stuff in writing.
    2. Don't assume the folks at your church know what they're doing with regards to taxes, etc. Check their facts, assumptions, etc.
    3. If there's a big foul-up, speak up. I wimped out, and it took a long time to clean up the mess. I could've spoken up...not in an ugly way, but spoken up nonetheless. Oh well...live & learn.
     
  10. annsni

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    I'm SOOOO grateful that two of our pastors are accountants by training. One is our business manager and NOTHING is done wrong with the books. He's so careful - it's great. AND you get free advice. ;)
     
  11. sag38

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    If you live in a parsonage or take a housing allowance make sure that if you use a tax program or even use a professional that the program or said professional knows to add the fair market rental value of the parsonage to your Social Security Tax computation. Also, you must add your housing allowance to your Social Security Tax computation. Turbo Tax doesn't automatically do this. You have to override the program and add these amounts in. Many "professionals" don't know about this either. Also, the fair market value of your parsonage and housing allowance must be used in determining whether you qualify of the Earned Income Credit. You must add your housing allowance and the fair market value of your parsonage to your reported income.
     

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