Archive for March, 2012

Turbo Tax Handout by Joan Pannenborg

Monday, March 5, 2012 @ 07:03 PM
posted by admin

Turbo Tax
Vero Beach Computer Group
March, 2012 by Joan Pannenborg
1)Tax Filing Strategies • Do it yourself – inexpensive ……….but laborious, – need good tax knowledge, – error possibility • Use Tax Professional – good for complex filings, – thorough, – audit support ……….but expensive!!
• Use AARP Tax Aid Program – free (e-file), joint IRS program lRS software – trained, certified preparers ………..but restrictions • •Use Other Free Tax Online Programs
• Use Web site
Tax Software (All Brands)/Pros • Avoids arithmetical errors • Step by step interview process — simplifies tax code – reduces need for tax code knowledge • Interview process minimizes errors from tax situation changes – e.g. new deductions because of life changes — retirement • Convenient import of previous years info — speeds up process – support for Quicken, direct import from banks and brokers…… • Can do ―what if‖ scenarios — see impact of different filing strategies
• E-file available & convenient storage in PDF format (backup!!) Software buys convenience
Tax Software – Cons • Expense • Accuracy in data entry important! • All-in-one solution leads to lengthy interview process • Program errors in updating changes to forms – requires careful monitoring of calculations during data entry • Requires updates for complete accuracy
2) E-file vs Snail Mail Pros • Return won’t get lost in mail (or use certified mail $$)

• Faster returns with direct deposit • Check out free IRS e-file site (AGI restrictions) Cons • Cost although some (most) software offer free e-file • Subject to e-file errors E-file is vastly improved — convenient and fast
3)Common e-File Rejection Errors • Name, birth date, SSN don’t match – enter name exactly as on SS card • Payer’s name and EIN don’t match W2, 1099 etc – enter name exactly without punctuation – exception: commonly used abbreviations OK after first few words — e.g. Dept – hyphens allowed
4)Tax Software Options *
• Turbo Tax– Turbo Tax is still 4.5 (out of 5) stars by PC magazine – clean and intuitive interface – clear guidance with multi-level help system – deduction maximizer — $30-$91
• TaxACT Online Ultimate Bundle- 4 stars -Price. Speed. Easily-accessible, thorough guidance throughout.
• H&R Block At Home Deluxe Online (2011) – 4 stars -Trusted tax advice from H&R Block and The Tax Institute. Clean, simple, fast user interface and competent coverage of the 1040. Help targeted better than anyone’s. Smartphone app
• TaxSlayer .com Premium Edition – 2 stars- Some things going for it, including a well-designed interface, good support for forms and schedules, and general tax acumen. But it doesn’t provide the guidance needed for such a complex operation.
• H&R Block At Home Deluxe for the iPad – 3 stars- good job of creating an iPad versions of its Free and Deluxe versions, with a couple of exceptions, one serious: The online help center wouldn’t open properly in their tests. Loading your online return in Safari on the iPad works fine overall
• Turbo Tax for the iPad – 3 ½ stars – Intuit has produced two versions of TurboTax for the iPad for the 2011 tax year: a native iPad application and a tweaked version that runs in Safari.
*All these reviews are from PC Magazines ―Best Tax Software‖

Page | 3
Turbo Tax on CD $29.99 Basic to $129.99 for Turbo Tax Business • Find different versions online versus retail • Online versions include efile but no State • Watch ads, shop around for rebates and software bundles!!!!!
Turbo Tax (Desktop versions) Turbo Tax Basic
• Interview process and error check • Time saving year to year data import • Quicken and Quickbooks import Turbo Tax Deluxe Federal and State
• Free state download • ―It’s Deductible‖ software, bluebook for donated items • Deduction Maximizer looks for deductions, tracks savings • Summary of deductions — how to qualify and eligibility
Turbo Tax premier and Home & Business • Help for stock, bond, mutual fund sales, stock options, • Basis Pro tracks and calculates historical cost basis • Rental property income guidance and refinancing • Expanded Schedule C and business deductions guidance • Expense categorizing, start-up deduction and depreciation
Note: the program will list errors after entry as well as showing red when information is not consistent
TaxCut (H&R Block) • Find different versions online -versus retail • Online versions include e-file for basic federal • Similar to Turbo Tax in progression of features – increasing cost • Some variation from store to store — watch ads shop around!!!! On line — much more cost effective
Note:the program will periodically ask for data verification to aid in avoiding errors

Page | 4
5 .Remember:Set up your information before starting
 Spreadsheet or printed reports from software
 Copies of 1099, W-2, 1099R, 1099P
 Print out of ALL transactions to check for category error
Common Missing Information • Stock sale — Cost basis and purchase date — Broker can assist if stock dividends or spin off, also check web site of company • Real Estate Sale other than primary residence — 1099-S, closing statements, capital improvements • Interest, tax exempt interest, dividends and foreign tax paid may be included in broker consolidated statement • 1099-B and KI may be late • For IRA holders (age 70+)….did you take your RMD?
Review: Are Documents Correct? — Review income statements • W2, 1099, SS Statement, etc — SSN & amounts correct — If not STOP and get corrected copy
Don’t File Too Early • Ensure all tax documents have been received and are correct ………BUT Don’t Delay Filing • Seek tax advice from AARP or professional on correct option •File and amend later •Ask for extension, pay estimated tax, file later


Technology Partners

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
posted by admin

Recycling Technology

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
posted by admin

CDs |  Computers  |  Cell Phones  |  Ink Cartridges

updated July 5, 2011


CD’s are plastic, so they can be placed in your curbside recycle bin for plastics.


Indian River County contracts with Treasure Coast Refuse for recycling at all of their convenience centers and the landfill off Oslo Road. This means that you can take recyclables all year round – including electronics – during the center’s normal hours of operation. See for locations and hours of operation.

They will take computers, TVs, VCRs, etc. It also includes accessories such as keyboards, printers, mice, etc.

In the past we had to wait for KIRB ( to have an annual drop-off for electronics. No longer. We can drop them off any time throughout the year in Indian River County.






Also some of the computer manufacturing companies now accept computer hardware items for recycling.  To find out more information on how to do this, check out the following websites:

Indian River County Waste

Florida DEP “End-of-Life” electronics recovery

Electronics TakeBack Coalition – Recycle it Right

Hewlett-Packard’s Product Recycling

Dell Recycling – Dell’s recycling program, and more Dell information and offers. 

IBM Product Recycling Programs

Tech Corps Computer Recycling Resources – Nonprofit Recycling Network

Share the Technology Computer Recycling Project

Computer Take Back Campaign

“Recycling E-Waste”

By Matthew D. Sarrel
PC Magazine, Nov. 29, 2006

“These days, responsible computing means more than not spreading viruses and not hacking into someone else’s system. The waste that results from disposing of electronics such as computers and mobile phones, called e-waste, can be highly toxic. The United Nations Environmental Program estimates that, each year, 20 million to 50 million tons of e-waste is dumped into landfills around the world. That works out to about 4,000 tons per hour.”

“Almost every component is built with some kind of toxin. Computer circuit boards hold lead and cadmium. Monitors’ cathode-ray tubes have lead, cadmium, phosphorus, and barium. In fact, a large CRT may contain as much as 4 to 8 pounds of lead. Even cables are bad for the environment, as they are sprayed with brominated flame retardants. Such chemicals can leach into the soil and groundwater.”

Click here to read the full story.


You can also find out more information about the issues and problems of not recycling our throw-away electronic equipment, in the following article from a recent issue of the “Audubon” magazine – “Garbage In, Garbage Out – We are drowning in digital detritus“.

Here’s another article from “The Green Guide” that explains more about the problems:

“Each time we purchase a new computer in the rush to keep up with software changes, increasing speed and memory, we also create new garbage in the form of our often still useful old machines. According to the EPA, 250 million computers will become obsolete by 2005. Yet, less than ten percent of outdated computer products are refurbished or recycled. Throwing away this “e-waste” (or electronic waste, which includes computers, monitors, printers and televisions) results in toxins sinking into landfills or blown into the air via incinerators. For example, a typical cathode ray tube monitor contains five to seven pounds of lead, a neurotoxin. But we can shape the consumer landscape through our informed choices about whether to buy, what to buy, and how to dispose of e-waste.”

Click here to read the full article and access other resources.

Ink Cartridges

You can reward point credits for dropping off most ink cartridge Staples.

Cell Phones

It was projected that in 2004 there were 19 million people with unwanted cell phones. A growing environmental concern is how to keep those phones from reaching landfills.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is encouraging Floridians to recycle old or unwanted cell phones. Recycling electronics helps protect the environment from heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, which can impact groundwater – the source of 90 percent of Florida’s drinking water.

There is a relatively new recycling program for cell phones in Indian River County.  There are three locations where they can be dropped off.  On the Mainland there is a recycling container at the “Guest Relations” at the Indian River Mall.  On the barrier island, phones can be dropped off at Sandpiper Valet drycleaners on Cardinal Drive.  And in Wabasso, the Environmental Learning Center is accepting phones too.  You can find more information on the ELC website at:

Also all Best Buy stores in the US are supposed to have a cell phone drop-off recycling bin in every store.  Look for it the next time you are in their store!



Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
posted by admin

Tim Glover
 Director, Webmaster

Club Treasurer

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
posted by admin

Chairman of House Committee

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 11:03 PM
posted by admin


 Eric Schoen
 Director, Chairman of House Committee

Club Vice-President

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 10:03 PM
posted by admin
Chris Westpfahl
Vice President, Program Coordinator

Club President

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 10:03 PM
posted by admin
 Eric Price
 President 2009-

Contact Information

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 10:03 PM
posted by admin

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 2564
Vero Beach, Florida 32961-2564

Email address:

You will also find contact information for each of the Board members on the “Officers” page and a list of our SIG leaders on the “Events” page. 


About the Vero Beach Computer Group

Saturday, March 3, 2012 @ 10:03 PM
posted by admin

The Vero Beach Computer Group (VBCG) is a self- help organization made of people who use computers, who want to learn more about computers, and who want to share what they know with others.

Our mission is “…to promote general interest in and information about computers and their use. Emphasis of the Group’s activities shall be on the use of the personal computers.”  We provide assistance and information about both Mac and Windows based PCs.