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Incomplete stories…

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I know that I have so many unfinished topics and stories on the blog.  You all know from my first 5 months as the blogger that I don’t usually leave a story untold.  I write today to express my frustration about not being able to be a completely open book.  It is really a terrible feeling for me to experience.  I know none of my readers are angry because of the many unfinished stories but it is really tough for me.  My nature is to just be an open book so to hold back is very stressful for me.

All of that said, I am also smart enough to know that no one is going to protect me but me and I cannot disclose everything at this time.  Although it is a silent battle, I cannot forget that I am indeed in the middle of a battle with a man who I do not recognize and I cannot predict.

The tax issue was addressed this weekend and it isn’t pretty.  I got a single line,  typed letter from Steve saying he will pay the IRS directly.  That’s it.  That is all he said.  I have no idea what that means but will not concern myself with trying to decipher his code.  I called in a favor to a dear friend who is a CPA (and one I’ve helped several times through the years with free legal advice–and isn’t that another great life lesson?  Pay it forward people b/c it will come back to you tenfold.  I could have been charged thousands for what my friend had to dig through this weekend and I was not charged) and while I certainly don’t like what I learned, knowledge is power.  I know now what I am dealing with and will act accordingly.  Forgive me for not being able to share details but I will eventually.

Even with this heaviness, it was a great weekend.  Church was all about the fear we all have of “letting go.”  Sometimes from basic material things and also the big stuff that holds us back.  I was there in my marriage.  I was so afraid of losing what I thought I had, what I had created as my reality that I actually ignored reality!  The message is that letting go always leads to bigger and better blessings.

Happy Monday!


2011 Taxes

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I snail mailed Steve our 2011 tax return that he had already completed before he moved out.  We owe $900.  I included a note asking him to sign and return to me with a check for $450 made to me or the IRS and I would file.  I have all of the required supporting documentation that I have to presume he intentionally left here b/c he was careful to take other legal documents and leave the tax stuff behind.   I sent it on September 30 and haven’t heard back.

Filing taxes has been yet another issue in the marriage.  I’m an early bird by nature and did not use any type of extensions in the past, but that’s where we are at this point.  This causes me a lot of anxiety and Steve knows it causes me anxiety.  I don’t want to think there is some intent behind this and instead just want to focus on getting the stupid taxes paid.  I have the money and will bite the bullet and pay the entire amount just to get this box checked.  I’m guessing he knows that I will do that but I’m not sure how to do that without his involvement.  Can I file without a signature (electronic or otherwise) from him?   I know many of you think I should know this stuff but I don’t so that’s why I am writing about it.  If I don’t receive something in the mail from him today, I want to take care of this in the next two days so I welcome any input you may have.  A friend suggested calling the IRS to explain the situation.  I am not looking to get out of payment or extend payment or anything like that.  I just want it done with no concern of follow up.  Blah.

Looking forward to filing separately for 2012 WELL before April 15, 2013!  🙂


Housing

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Warning:  The below is a stream of consciousness!  Have your coffee—or wine–before you read! 😉

I am guilty of looking way, WAY ahead and by July 21st, I’m already thinking about September 1.  It is my nature and while I am getting better about being in the moment, the part of my brain that is thinks ahead is still there.

As I’ve explained in a past post–our housing situation is unique (I can’t really think of the right word and unique doesn’t quite hit it…but you’ll see what I mean).  Steve owned a 3 bdrm, 2 bath home prior to our marriage that he lived in with his ex-wife and the boys.  He bought the house in 2007 right before things took  a downturn and he listed it for sale right around the same time that we met.  With no great interest from potential buyers he decided to take it off the market and we lived in it from our marriage in December of 2009 until September 2010.  There were several reasons for the move–we were driving 20-23 miles one way to work, the kids’ schools (all private at that time) and all extracurricular activities, the traffic was truly horrendous (an hour plus during rush hour to drive those 23 miles), a challenge with combining 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) in the 2 available kids’ bedrooms…so we converted another living space to a third “kids room” and did the best we could…and one of the biggest reasons I think (with hindsight) is I underestimated what it was to move into “their” house where a maternal figure had already lived.

Steve’s boys were 15 and 11 when we married.  My son was 10 and my daughter was just 5.  It was a lot to ask of all of them to become step-siblings at all–let alone to ask them to overcome the housing challenges.  The tension and understandable “territory” issues as well as the feeling like a “visitor” was making the already difficult blending seem insurmountable.  After a short discussion we listed the house for rent (on our own–no real estate professionals involved initially just to see what would happen) and then things really started happening fast.  We were SO blessed to be contacted by a couple with no children and no pets (great qualities in a renter) who have now been in the home for near two years.  They have been phenomenal renters.

The blessings kept flowing in September 2010 and we found the perfect rental house for our current needs.   The neighborhood we are in could not be a better fit for this family!  Our office commutes are now 5 miles, the kids’ schools are either by bus or just 3 miles down the road and we have no traffic. The house is 4 bedroom, 3 bath and the positive impact on our household was worth the expense of a move just 10 months after we married!  Our rent is $1795 per month and we are in an excellent area.  I don’t want to own this house because it is much too big (and has foundation issues) and we envision being in something much smaller (and single story!) but it is perfect for where we are right now.

So, why this long drawn out story?  September 1 is the 30-day mark for our tenants to give us any notice of move out…and shortly thereafter is our deadline to give our landlords notice of our intentions…the tenants have expressed an interest in buying the house but we don’t know if they are financially able to right now…and if they can give us what we need to break even on the house and not have to show up with $10,000-$15,000 at closing…if they do want to buy and are able to do so, then we face another tough situation because we will get nailed by federal income tax if we don’t have a mortgage deduction but we don’t want to buy a house to fit our needs at this moment because we still have a houseful of kids…and we aren’t in financial position to buy a house anyway!  We can’t even afford to MOVE right now!  Whew.  Are you as worn out by reading this as I am by thinking about it?!  So little of it is within my control and I know that but the end of July last year and now this year is when this voice in my head starts talking about this stuff!  I feel better sharing it and will hope and  pray for the best.  Fretting over it won’t change anything.

Upon reread I am laughing at myself because my writing tonight really does come across as the frantic thoughts in my brain!  That’s a scary place for me alone and now I’m dragging all of you with me!  Ha! I’m particularly struck by the overuse of (parentheticals) in this post but I am laughing about them….a funny read for me!


Donating to Charity While In Debt…

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One of the goals we came up with after filing taxes last year was to be more generous in our charitable giving. It’s easy to get so focused on penny-pinching that you forget there are folks out there less fortunate than yourself. For me, it’s difficult to not want to apply that amount toward debt and promise myself, “I’ll help out when I’m debt free.” To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have donated any more than our usual amount… but like I’ve said before, I’m married to a great guy. That great guy has a heart for helping others. Now that we have a child of our own, he has become more active in giving to children’s hospitals, giving to help hungry children in famine areas, and to programs helping children with autism.

When I was preparing our taxes this year, I was surprised how much his *cough* I mean, our charitable giving added up.

We beat our giving amount from last year…

and it felt good.

Set some goals this tax season, you may surprise yourself.


Is the refund enough to finish off our debt?!?!?

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I started our taxes last night, fearful my guestimations of our refund amount may be incorrect and that we’d be stuck with my student loan debt into eternity. Hubby and I worked as private contractors this year on all our side jobs and did not pay estimated taxes through the year for that income. We earned more than expected on the side work, which of course means, we owe a lot more in taxes than I thought. I typed the amount from side work and… the refund amount on the software window turned to a large, looming, red, negative number.

Great. Not only could we not polish off our debt…

We were going to accrue more.

Before I crumpled into a heap of tears, I decided to power through our deductions and let the cards fall where they may. I grabbed our mortgage interest statement and said, ‘Oh thank God! We paid a fortune!’

Just goes to show the level of my desperation when I’m thankful for Bank of America.

Forty-five minutes and a strong cup of tea later, the amount read…

More than $5,000…

In green.

Plus, I’m still waiting for my student loan interest statement so that number will only get better.

I ran down the hallway, slid across the living room floor in my socks Tom Cruise style, all while screaming ‘WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!’ and throwing my arms in the air.

It’s over folks. We did it.


It’s Tax Time!

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We are crossing our fingers (and counting on) a nice return this year. We didn’t make any adjustments to our withholdings last year because we weren’t sure about what would change this year and we wanted to finish out the tax year to get an idea of how much we should adjust for 2012.

My office distributed our tax forms on Friday and I opened mine to get a cursory look over the numbers. I started walking back to the payroll department to question them about my low income numbers before I remembered, I didn’t work for 5 months of the year.

Hmm. Maybe I need more sleep.

We are waiting to file until after the first of February since we usually have a tax form or two mailed late.

Are we seeing a tax guy this year? Nope! This will be year three of filing ourselves and – don’t tell hubby but… I kinda enjoy it.

Some of you shared some great software you use to prepare your taxes. Would you share again? I’d like to save all of us as much money as possible!


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