With the TurboTax software (compliments of daughter Vanita's employment at Intuit), the process should be easy and non-painful. Perhaps for some people. Not for me.
The easy part is filling out personal data: social security number, age, any dependents, etc. Then it is time to collect your income. The software asks slews of questions of your sources of income. There are about 40 different sources of income that are identified by the software. (Of course, the software only interprets the 7200 pages of Federal Tax Code. That code is the result of laws enacted by the Federal legislative bodies. Most times those decisions are based on favors to blocs of voters, large campaign donors, etc. i.e. The usual suspects.)
At some point I opted out of the TurboTax "easy" questions and decided that I would fill in the data in TurboTax "spread sheets". For some reason the spread sheets have no relationship to the IRS final form -- or documents that I have received from various financial organizations. In some cases there is no spread sheet available. If there was one for the 1099-R forms, I was unable to find it.
At some point, I began to wonder why the blazes I am actually doing any of this detailed mind numbing error prone routine. The IRS receives all the information from various financial organizations. It is those organizations' data forms that I am using to fill out the 1040 form and the many attached schedules. The IRS could send me a form already completed with all the information they received. All I would have to do is to make changes, include missing data or approve as received.
However, that is not how we do things in this technologically advanced country. Apparently, I wasn't the only one questioning this stupidity. Found a recent article about simple tax filing by ProPublica that describes the ugly situation. Yup. Lobbying for a corporation's interest is the reason for maintaining a complicated taxing system.
So what is the state of my tax filing.... If that document had arrived from the IRS which only required completing the information that wasn't supplied to the IRS, it would have been an "easy" tax filing. Fill in the cost basis for stock sales and the taxes would have been done. Once the data inputting for taxes 2012 was complete and the amount due was small, the tax form was e-filed. The form was accepted within a day and the same day, the amount was deducted from the checking account.
A few days later, I started to think about that small amount due and decided that there should have been a refund. So I looked at the forms and discovered that I had obviously made some human (that would be me) errors. Thought the error might be in Schedule D. Checked it. That was okay. Then I looked at the data entered from the 1099-R forms. Oops. As I entered the data from the 1099-R forms, I managed to transpose digits from one form and forgetting to enter a number from another form.
Started TurboTax to file an amended return. The 1040X. Made all the corrections and the amount to be refunded would be the amount that was deducted from my checking account plus the refund amount from the corrections of input data. No e-filing of 1040X. Get an envelope and stamps and mail to the IRS center. It will be six to eight weeks before the refund will appear in my checking account.
Since there will be no form from the IRS with all the data completed in the foreseeable future, next year I will recheck my data entry before e-filing taxes.