i think we've gotten all of our documents to prepare taxes: w-2's and 1099s from our employers, 1099s from our banks, real estate tax receipts, mortgage interest statements, documents from our investment accounts for gains/losses, and the like. we will probably schedule some time with our tax person here in february to get things done.
we use someone to help with our taxes, not because we can't do them ourselves, but because we like the person that does them for us and she does a good job. we started using her when we had to fill out additional schedules apart from the 1040.
after years of consulting work and having to write a decent sized check, we changed up our withholding and now routinely get a decent sized refund. this year, my wife went part time, so it may balance out, but i'm thinking we will have to fork some money out due to some capital gains as a part of some trades that we made. i have to be honest, i never have any clue as to how much we will have to pay or how much we will be getting back from the government.
tax refunds are a mix of emotion and economics to me. while i totally understand the economics about avoiding a big refund -- it means that you've given the government an interest free loan on your money -- it's always seems nice to have that money returned to me! the opposite is true, too. while having to pay means that you've had access to money -- usually with little or no penalty, it's always a downer to have to fork over that cash.