Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tax Resources, Inc without Turbotax

For the first time in 15 years I won't be doing my own taxes for the previous tax year (2008). The reason is that last year's international assignment was long enough that I'll have to file taxes in both Germany and in the US, so my employee is going to take care of that for me. This is great, though as a paranoid guy, I'll probably be doing the taxes myself as well to double check what they do.

My biggest concern was with tax audit protection. I was handed a policy that included ambiguous statements about whether or not I would get support for dealing with the IRS. Given that I've received an IRS notice every year since 2004, I figured I'd take ambiguity out of the equation and suck it up and pay TaxResources, Inc anyway.

So I called them, and asked for a renewal. Because I was a turbo-tax filer, I got transferred to a different department. After I got to an agent, I asked if I could be covered despite not using turbo-tax. It turned out that I could be, just at a higher price, $50, rather than $35. Since even the retail package would be worth the $300/year that they charge (one of my friend uses a tax accountant, and according to him it cost him $200 per letter his accountant had to write to the IRS), I just signed up. I don't know whether you can only get this deal if you were a previous year customer, however.

In any case, that's how you get covered if you're not using Turbo Tax to file this year. And yes, every year since I've been using them, they have dealt with the IRS for me, and especially when I was in Munich, where it would have been hard for me to deal with the letters in time, it was a relief to hand it of to professional, competent people to deal with. If you're an expatriate with a company that has a tax audit policy like mine, you are encouraged to pay for whatever protection you need that has you covered.
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