I am between 59-1/2 and 70. I am looking for software that can easily perform what-if analysis - in particular, with regards to balancing long term capital gains I may choose to take vs early IRA withdrawals. I want to maximize early IRA withdrawals while keeping my tax liability near zero.
In general, the quick online calculators, and some of the Turbo Tax options I have looked at are not convenient in so far as you generally have to run through a long series of questions for each case you want to run. The calculators do not generally remember your previous responses.
I want something that I can set up a base case with (entering all personal information and running through all the various questions regarding deductions, rental income, dividends, capital gains, and IRA withdrawals ONCE). I then want to run cases where, for example, I vary only the IRA withdrawals. I do not want to run through all the base case questions again for each case.
Does TurboTax have a product that can easily do this type of what-if analysis?
Yes, but only the Desktop software that you download and install on your Windows or MAC computer.
Only the 2017 tax software is available, but the What-If worksheet has a checkbox for 2018 calculations on data on that sheet.
You would download and install the 2017 software. Fill out your information for your 2017 tax return (and... see if it matches whatever you actually filed.)
And when done and saved you can switch to Forms Mode to open the What-IF worksheet. That allows you to copy all your 2017 data into 3 other columns, select the "2018" box for those columns....and then change any of the data in each of those columns to try different situations.
The 2017 tax software cannot be used for your actual 2018 taxes though. You'd need to repurchase the software, or use the Online software next year if you plan to use TurboTax to file for 2018.
TurboTax sells their 2017 downloads here (Amazon may be cheaper, but be careful in that they also sell DELUXE versions that do not contain one free state, but Premier may be more applicable for your purposes anyhow with rental income.....the What-IF worksheet can't do a state prediction...I doubt if anyone has one for that):
Check the minimum Computer requirements first:
IF you buy, download, install the 2017 Desktop software, you can fill that in with all your 2017 tax data, adn check that it matches what you actually filed for 2017 too.
Then go to a What-IF worksheet in Forms Mode and transfer the $$ from the 2017 column to any/all of 3 other columns......check the 2018 box, and you'll see what the same $$ would be taxed with 2018 tax laws...AND you can change the $$ directly in each of the additional 2018 columns at-will. See attached picture. I've tested and it includes most of the 2018 changes, but there may be some fine points that it doesn't capture yet...which ones, I wouldn't know.
(You will have to buy new 2018 software when 2018 comes around early in 2019...each year is specific for that year, except for the What-IF sheet)
As per your recommendation, I have bought TurboTax Premier 2017 and entered all my 2017 tax info. I have saved the return, but obviously not filed it. I have switched to Forms mode and I can see that all the forms pretty well match the 2017 return I actually filed. But I cannot find the What-If section.
How do I get to the What-If section that you refer to and supplied a screenshot of?
I found the What-If sheet. The only way to find it seems to be to go Form / Open Form / and type in "what" in the text box, which then finds the form.
Why isn't the What-If Form listed with all the others by default?