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I already posted this on the LBYM board but at the recommendation of a responder am reposting here...

DH and I have always done our own taxes by hand.

This year's tax returns are going to be more daunting than previously. New issues:

1) I have worked half the year in a different state from where our household is, and as I understand tax law will have to file a return in this state for that income, as well as in my homestate for earlier income. Also, the place where I now work has a local income tax, whereas my home state has only local property taxes. Does one file local returns? Or is that just a predictable rate with no deductions?

2) I have moving expenses. One -- the cost of paying to have my horse shipped to my new location -- may or may not be deductible (I emailed the IRS and basically got back a "maybe;" the question is whether the beast constitutes a "household pet." Note: I am not concerned about the normative issue of whether horse-shipping should be deductible (I would say no), but the legal issue of whether it IS. There appears to be no clear precedent.

3) I am planning to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth before the end of Y2K.

4) We have a dependent who qualifies for the Hope scholarship (this has happened before) but this year for the first time our income will fall in that range between "you qualify for all" and "you qualify for none." It is remotely possible that this individual issue is an reason not to convert the IRA as that will reduce the amount of the credit we get, but I think not. This may be the last "window of opportunity" for Roth conversion for a while, barring
unforeseen circumstances I expect our incomes to exceed the $100k cap next year.

5) My new job provides free housing and some free meals, but it's not obvious to me how to estimate the cash value of these (I am trying to get info from my employer, though).

So here's the question...
My mother, who routinely pays someone to do her taxes and is very happy doing so (and believes that this saves her money, which is entirely possible as she has a rather complicated tax situation), has offered to give me and DH $100 toward having our taxes done. One question is, how much does it cost to get one's taxes done? Mom reports that she pays around $350 but as her situation is more complex than ours, perhaps getting
ours done would be cheaper???

Or, should we propose to mom that she instead give us "Turbotax?" She would not be offended by the alternative proposal and not likely that she would refuse the proposed substitution, though of course she could.

But how is Turbotax with state tax issues, or does it handle them at all? For example, I think I claim the income I earned in state A, on state A's form and that earned in state B, on state B's form. So far so good. But on which form do I declare the "income" generate
by the Roth conversion? Can Turbotax help me answer this? Or no? Is Turbotax "good" from one year to the next, or would we have to buy an update every year?

Thanks in advance. We may yet, as we have always done in the past, do the returns ourselves, so if you think I'm being unduly wimpy feel free to say so.

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