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Thursday, March 16, 2017

TAXES


TAXES
a cranky rant

Begin rant.

I just finished this year’s taxes.  Well, the accountant finished.  I had to pay, but then realized we missed a credit.  We already sent in a check and now have filed an adjustment.  Nothing is easy.  The credit was missed because, well never mind, just let’s say it was not out of carelessness or ignorance or error…it’s complicated.

I only use an accountant because I am lazy, and because I years ago I made an error doing my own taxes.  The relentlessly bitchy ex-wife beat the crap out of me for it every year.  I still don’t believe I really made an error, but the state of New York disagreed and they seem to have the last word.  Anyway, it didn’t really cost me anything (they waved interest and penalty) but because we had to pay two years after the fact, the relentlessly bitchy ex-wife considered it an added expense that was due to my incompetence.

I have recently realized that I no longer have a relentlessly bitchy ex-wife to worry about.  As a matter of fact, Mrs. C is good with numbers, actually enjoys numbers and used to do her own taxes.  Next year, we will work together and do our own taxes to save the accountant fee.

There is no reason for me to be afraid of filing our taxes.  They are more complicated than a short form, but with past filings as a guide and Mrs. C by my side, or vice versa, there is no reason to pay an accountant.

People are too afraid of doing their taxes.  There is so much news about how taxes should be simplified and of the mountains of paper required to file, that too many people these days pay to have their taxes done.  They take their information to H. R. Crock, or that Turbo thing, and then brag about how they get a refund, when they could get the same refund themselves by taking the same 15 minutes that H.R. Crock takes to file for them and they could save the fee.

Ninety percent of the country can file with the short form. 

1.     Put your salary income on line one. (From your W2 form)

2.     Taxable interest earned if over $1500 (zero for most)

3.     Unemployment compensation (zero for most)

4.     Add lines 1,2 and 3 to get your total taxable income for line 4.

5.     Personal exemptions if mom or dad not claiming you (follow instructions, they are very simple.) $10,350 if single, $20,700 if filing joint.

6.    Subtract line 5 from line 4.  If line 5 is larger enter “0”. 

7.    Enter tax withheld (from your W-2 form.)

8.    Lines 8a, 8b, are for tax credits you probably are not entitled to, but check instructions just to be sure.

9.    Line 7 plus 8a…pretty much just line 7 unless you are entitled to earned income credit.  

10.                       Tax owed. Use tax table and the amount on line 6.  If zero just enter zero.

11.                       Heath care, if you have no coverage…see instructions

12.                       Tax owed.  Add line 10 and 11…this is going to be zero for most people.

13.                       If line 9 is larger than 12 enter that amount for you REFUND!!

14.                       If 12 is larger than 9, you must pay that amount.

If line 9 is greater than line 12 (for most people it is, unless you claimed too many exemptions during the year) that is the amount you will get as a rebate because you overpaid during the year.

If you simply fill in line by line this is not as complicated as it seems at first glance.

If your income and deductions are beyond a short form filing, you should be intelligent enough to do you own taxes, however if you want the luxury of having someone do it for you as I have for some years now, I do not judge.

It boggles my mind how so many people pay up to $150 or more (short form filers) to have someone else do a few simple addition and subtractions. 

They teach so much useless stuff in school, art, phys-ed, music, Latin, Shop, trigonometry, Shakespeare, (just kidding these are all worthwhile subjects…except Latin) why can’t they spend one hour explaining how the Income Tax system works, what exemption are, and how to process a short form? They could even spend another hour demonstrating how to file a relatively simple long form.

End of rant.


I have to share this:

My daughter's post about what was a pretty rough time in our family; I would hate reading it because of that, but she writes so well that pride overcomes the sorrow.



21 comments:

  1. I have a fantastic tax accountant. If I sleep with him, he'll do my taxes for free, even if they are fairly complicated. I always joke with him that he can't ever leave me, I'd be up shit creek. Not only would I have to pay someone to do the taxes, I wouldn't be able to figure out how to turn on the TV.

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  2. Ugh! Taxes. Thanks for the tutorial, next year we'll tackle. Good suggestion to teach in school.

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  3. We work together to do our own, and I honestly do not know anyone else who does their own. And ours is the long form. What irritates me is the price of the software. And the fact that we have to file state and local income tax forms, too. All in all, it's at least 15 hours of labor. And then there's our kids and 95 yr old aunt's that we do.

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  4. ACK! I need to start my taxes. I use that Turbo thing, because with two boys in college, and some inherited stocks, and my mom's house that we sold, and my retirement halfway through the year...it's not as simple as it used to be.

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  5. We send ours to an accountant and frankly I think I could do them myself. However, hubby is self employed and that has some extra lines here and there and that's one reason I can't wait for retirement so we can be poor and file ourselves. Hope it's a tax refund year for you! Now I have to go get all the stuff together for the accountant. Don't know why I put this off every year.

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  6. I liked your daughter's description of Jack and Jane's home. Houses are my thing and I enjoyed picturing it in my mind.
    I always did my husband's taxes and when I started working did my own too. Easy peasy, since we both only ever needed the short form. I don't think anyone here does joint forms, always individuals. After we divorced he had to take his receipts etc to one of those firms, they charged a percentage of his refund, so he wasn't happy about that.

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  7. I was fortunate in having a chartered accountant for a husband, but it hit me hard when he died and I had to worry about filling in forms. However, I was saved by hubby's profession - because of his standing with the Chartered Accountants Institution I was given the opportunity to have one of their accountants sort out my tax affairs - at no cost to me. Yep, the accountant comes free, and not just a one-off but for all time. What a relief to someone whose brain seizes up when faced with figures.

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  8. Our tax lady comes to our house, it takes about a half an hour, she chats away with us oldies, e files it immediately, charges us the seniors rate which is pretty cheap. It's done, we can forget about it, and the government will put the money directly into our bank account. I used to do ours until things got complicated...well...too complicated for my non mathematical brain anyway.

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  9. Mrs. Chatterbox does our taxes since she used to work for a CPA, but we did hire a CPA to do my late mother's taxes. You wouldn't believe what we had to pay.

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  10. Brother-in-Law, The Mouth, lets me do his taxes online, his are easy. Ours are more complex and worth the bit we pay the old family friend/accountant.

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  11. I quit doing taxes when I had to figure depreciation on the studio part of the house. I figured I was wandering down Audit Lane, and turned it over to my wonderful accountant.

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    Replies
    1. I would draw the line at depreciation for sure!

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  12. Hubby used Turbo Tax and it works great. We pay quarterlies and they aren't cheap. We always say if we're paying taxes then we're making money. Bugger.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  13. I haven't had to do the taxes since I got married. (No, I'm NOT saying that's why I married him...) My husband has been our taxman ever since. It was much more complicated years ago, and the kids and I knew to leave him the hell alone when he was working on them. When he started using Turbotax, it became a lot easier, and now that we're old farts, he can knock 'em out in a single afternoon. Our refunds were direct-deposited a few weeks ago.

    Your daughter is a talented writer. She must take after her old man.

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  14. Have always done me own taxes, at least up until Queenie listened to too many tax preparation commercials and decided we must be missing out .... so I made her a deal. If she'd have a tax prep firm do a draft of our taxes we'd compare it to my version and, if they found something I and my tax software didn't find we'd try it for a few years. The catch was that either way, taxes would become hers for a decade if she so chose because she'd been questioning the whole deal for about that long. Since this software makes it easy and automatic, why fight it?

    Well, we are in year 3 of her using the same software to do our taxes and life is cool. She chose to put 2 national firms to the test and the only extras they found were things we were clearly not eligible for ('Try it, it might go through and benefit you' ... yeah, with an audit? Or a delay?) and one of the firms missed a biggy that we WERE eligible for. So I have 7 years more of good luck left ;-)

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  15. Ah joeh, you just made me realize how nice it is to be poor and old. I haven't had to file income tax in 10 years. By the way, AARP will do your taxes for free and you don't have to belong. They usually set up in a local bank.

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  16. When I simplified my life years ago, donwsized and all that, a nice side benefit was that it simplified my taxes, too. I did mine last weekend. I get back $201. I'd say that's cutting it juuuuuust about perfect. :)

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  17. One of the reasons I have stayed married for 62 years is that my accountant/lawyer husband does ALL our taxes!!

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  18. We have let H and R Block (Crock) do our taxes. Hubby started way back when and we just continued on to this day. We've had complicated years with taxes with independent contractors employment, things dealing with inheritance and living trust funds, now rental house, etc., that it is "above my pay scale" to try to figure it out. For me it is worth them putting the number in here and there to get it all done. We both claim less exemptions during the year; I'm single and no dependents; he's married and no dependents. With what we have to write off with this and that we get a nice refund at the end of the year which we can use for this project or that project. Are we self disciplined to save the money if we didn't do it this way and have less money taken out? Sadly, no.

    I used to wait until April 14th or 15th to get them done. Now I get them down in February and enjoy the benefits of a quick refund :)

    betty

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  19. Our taxes are tricky because we both do work on the side. We have to track everything. We also claim everything. I've heard people say they don't show cash income. If they are comfortable with that, they should do it...until they get caught.
    One thing about claiming everything, if I were to get audited, I can look the taxman in the eyes without worrying that they know about the income I didn't report.
    I dread doing taxes every year.

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