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February Challenge – Tax Planning

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I would not want to be working for the IRS these days. The immense amount of policy changes, quick responses to COVID legislation and of course, annual tax time. Then, of course, there are the PPP loans, ERC tax credits and so much more. It’s enough to make someone’s head spin.

As a programmer, I always look at the work load from the technology point of view and ugh. I have alot of sympathy for the teams working to update tax filing software, there are just so many nuances, dependencies and modifications to be made.

But any way it goes, tax season is upon us again. The twins are chomping at the bit to file their taxes and anticipating getting the stimulus tax credits. (They are both part of the generation that did not qualify in any capacity for the stimulus checks.) The IRS announcement that they weren’t accepting any returns until February 12th really took the wind out of their sails.

Are you Ready for Filing Taxes?

While legally companies had through January to mail out tax forms, most of us (5 of the 6 of us have had jobs this past year) have received all our tax documentation. This will be the girls first year filing taxes and the twins first time filing as independents, so lots of lessons to be learned.

  1. Gather all the documents – donations, job related earnings, receipts and bills education related forms and personal information.
  2. Organize and scan everything in – we have been paperless for several years now. I have had the kids set up digital storage to keep important documents in the past few years. So now we scan any important document including tax documents.
  3. Block off some time – whether you are filing taxes yourself or paying a professional to prepare them for you, it’s important that you block off some time to get your ducks in a row. Make a list of it all. Make sure nothing is missing.

I have always filed my own taxes. Well, except 2 years when both my ex-husband and I had businesses, it was just too complicated for me. This year I will guide 3 of my children through filing their own taxes and do my own as well. One of the twins is having a friend’s dad do his in hopes of getting more money back.

This month’s challenge is to get ready to file your taxes. Gather all the documents, make a plan and take your time so it doesn’t become a stressful mess.

Hope’s Debt Update – January, 2021

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This has been a month for the history books and the goal of getting out of debt in 2021 is closer than ever. I’ve worked a record number of hours between my new corporate job and maintaining a handful of existing clients for my business. I’ve made a record amount of money.

I figured it was time for a debt update.

Creditor
Original Debt
Last Update
Current Balance
Interest
Min. Payment
Student Loan #1$17,000.00$3,478.45$02.88%$0
Student Loan #2$21,750.03$19,184.23$19,242.592.88%$306
Honda HRV$21,200.00$16,012.86
$12,769.08
3%$1,600
Total$59,950.03$38,675.54$32,011.67$1,906

Getting Out of Debt

My student loans are on auto-pay as of this month, the $306 is the minimum required payment. I will continue to pay this amount every month until my car is paid off. I hate that the interest caused this loan to grow over the last couple of months.

Even if the government suspends required student loan payments again, I have decided to keep paying this amount. It makes it easier to keep my records and budget. (And it will at least minimally chip away at this larger debt.)

Car Payment

I am upping my minimum monthly car payment to $2,000 per month. (This month I paid $2,200 toward my car as my income was higher than I anticipated after all the deductions.) If there are additional monies after my monthly budget and maxing out my 2020 ROTH, they will go toward my car payment.

This is getting real…I am getting out of debt in 2021 or at least mostly!

ROTH

I have $$$ diverted to my ROTH account with every paycheck. However, there is no way, that I have found, to attribute that to 2020 instead of 2021. Therefore, I have been making additional contributions manually so that I can set those as 2020 contributions. My goal was to max out 2020 by 3rd new paycheck. I’m going to miss that by just a little bit. So it will take me until the end of February to reach to $6,000 goal. (Remember, I did begin contributing back in the fall of 2020 so I am not having to make up the entire $6,000.)