Paying the tax man.

For the first time ever I/we finally owed the IRS money come tax time. I use to think getting a big return after efiling was awesome since it was like free money, but then I was reminded it was my money all along. I just loaned it to the government for free all year.Suddenly, a couple thousand dollar return was more depressing than cool. Last year we got back a tiny bit, couple hundred dollars I think. But this year, we finally turned the table and owed instead of being owed.

We wont share exact amounts, but we had already paid $13,000 in taxes and had more than a couple thousand dollars left to pay. I’d say I am deeply troubled by this obligation, but I anticipated this would happen back in May so we had money set aside just for this purpose.

Some people thought that since we owed more than $1,000, we would possibly face a penalty for underpayment. While that can happen, the penalty doesn’t apply to us since we had already paid more in 2011 than we did in 2010. Couldn’t imagine the pain that comes with owing thousand of dollars, and having to add on another couple hundred in penalties.

We dream of the things we could have done with the taxes we paid last year (like bought a brand new car), but at the end of the day we love America and we know it takes taxes to keep the system running, the roads paved, and the military doing military things. Taxes are a necessary, confusing, and very frustrating part of life. Not to mention they are terribly boring and in no way, shape, or form sexy.

Have you filed yet? Did you get a refund or did you owe? Fill in the blank, Taxes are ______.

Recent favorite nails: Hot dogtopus and this living room.

31 thoughts on “Paying the tax man.

  1. I went through most of my forms in January, but thought I was probably missing one or two so I couldn’t officially file. With moving, I had to fill out 2 state tax forms and the 1040 instead of the 1040EZ, so it was more complicated than I thought it would be. I’ll probably look them over and file while I’m on spring break in two weeks. I’m expecting a good bit of a refund. Turbotax helped me properly calculate the moving credit, but I couldn’t get it to fix a lot of the info on my part-year/nonresident return from one state, so I took all my information out and will file via paper, since I can’t file electronically in either state. I’m just hoping I don’t miss any forms that I need to attach even though there wouldn’t be any information on them. I suppose I could have an accountant look at them, but it would take as long to explain as to just do them myself. So I would say that taxes are necessary but seem much more confusing than warranted.

  2. 2011 should be my biggest return to date thanks to some qualifying credits. For 2012 though I’m probably going to be in the same boat. For some reason no matter what the year I always seem to end up owing a state like $1.

  3. Taxes are ridiculous! I don’t mind paying them, and I actually always pretty much break even…but the tax codes are insane! This was my first year being married, and we file separately for various reasons…and they penalize the heck out of you for that. I find it ridiculous!

  4. Every stinking year we owe the governement money. Every year! It varies in amount from a couple of hundred to a heck of a lot (this year) for both state and federal. I HATE April 15th, because I am always writing a fat check to the government.

    I like your positive spin on the necessity of it all, Ninja, but I still feel that the government wastes too much money. If I have to live on less than I earn, then so should they, or they should ALL be kicked out and replaced. Regardless of your political stance, leaders who can’t manage a budget need to get a new job.

    FILL IN THE BLANK: Taxes are a necessary evil that the government wastes too much of.

  5. I got a refund of just over $1,000, primarily because I had quite a bit of investment losses. Oops.

    And taxes are an infringement on our individual liberties. We didn’t have an income tax until 1913, so to think that the government needs an income tax to survive is to ignore about 150 years of American history.

    You should own your money, not the government.

  6. I did not like doing my taxes this year. Our income phased us out of all child care credits, but the loss of credits was not more than the gain in income.

    We owe (filed, but direct debit isn’t until April 5) an extra $1361. I had the money in the bank to cover it, but our state refund was $1598.

    For reference, last year we got a refund from Feds of ~$1200 and refund from state of ~$2200.

    My preference is to have a refund or owe +/-$100-200 between Fed and State.

    Taxes are unfair – mine are way too high compared to friends in the same field (regional cost of living adjustments kill you on Federal taxes). $100,000 in DC is no where near the same as $100,000 in Ohio when it comes to cost of living, but IRS doesn’t care about that.

  7. One reason I enjoy living in Nevada, no state income tax. Although, the state does seem to find other ways of taxing us like car registration and the sales tax.

    • Texas is the same way. When I first moved here, it cost almost $300 just to register my car! They threw in a nice ‘new resident’ fee…

      The good thing is, you can figure out how to get around that (have an older car, buy less stuff, shop on tax free weekend, etc), but there is no way to get around income tax! Except, I guess, quitting my job. But I wouldn’t come out ahead if I did that 🙂

  8. “And taxes are an infringement on our individual liberties. We didn’t have an income tax until 1913, so to think that the government needs an income tax to survive is to ignore about 150 years of American history.”

    To quote Ronald Reagan, “there you go again.” The power to tax is granted to the federal government both by Article 1, Section 8, and by the 13th Amendment. What the anti-income tax crowd has never explained is why, if taxes have had such a deleterious effect on the American economy, the growth of the United States to a world power over the past hundred years is precisely contemporaneous with the imposition of the federal income tax.

    As for moi, I get a smallish federal refund and owe a smallish amount to New York State. Taxes are simply something I accept without whining about them. You don’t like the tax code, then elect officials who will change it to your liking. I wish you luck.

  9. Haven’t done my taxes yet, I’ll probably do them this weekend. In all likelihood I’ll get around $1k from the Feds and owe the State $600 or so. I always owe the state; they suck at withholding enough from my paychecks, and couple that with having dividend income. I’m also pretty sure the old lady having unemployment won’t help matters either!

    In the end I’m happy as long as I avoid penalties and estimated taxes!

  10. “It should be your money, not the government’s.” Or some variation thereof like Kevin’s “You should own your money, not the government.”

    This is a commonly encountered notion, but the flaw in my opinion is that it presumes if your taxes were lower, your gross would remain the same. But that’s a questionable assumption. If employers knew their employees had no tax liabilities, they might well elect to lower their salary expenses by reducing your gross. Built in to your salary is the expectation that you will have to pay income taxes.

    Case in point: in 1978 I was living and working for a small software company in New Jersey, when that company was acquired by a huge corporation on Long Island and I was offered employment on condition that I relocated to New York. Every employee who was retained from my small company was offered an immediate raise. I argued, however – and successfully – that because at that time NJ taxes were far lower than NY, the amount I was offered amounted to a pay cut rather than a raise. And so I was given an additional increase to accommodate the far greater tax rate then in effect in NY.

  11. From the biblical perspective:
    Matthew 22:21
    They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.

    Romans 13:7
    Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

    From a human perspective:
    Refund? Taxes are great.
    I OWE them? Taxes are from the devil.

    I think the original intent of taxation was honorable. The way that legislators spend our money now, not so much. However, they are due so I will pay them. I try to make it so that I break even, or get a small return. Hubby and I got hit hard this year though, and will have to send in a huge chunk of change this year.

  12. i am getting a small refund this year ~ 2-300 bucks. Taxes are necessary and i think they should be higher. if we dont raise them soon, a lot of things we take for granted wont be available – like safe and clean drinking water. the US. infrastructure is falling apart or in great disrepair. remember that the next time a water pipe bursts in your community

    • Huh? Higher?!? Rather than raise taxes, why don’t we stop paying people to sit on their butt at home? Why don’t we demand that people take responsibility for their own lives (I am looking at you Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid)? Why don’t we stop using tax dollars to fund start up companies (so called Green energy) and bailing out of banks?

      The government gets plenty in taxes already, they just waste what they already get.

      • Well said. Quit giving my money to walmart and dairy and oil companies then complaining we don’t have enough to fix the potholes on the highways. It’s common sense!!!

  13. I’ve filed and already received my refund. The beauty of it is that I would have owed $$ (as usual–no free loans from me!) but I managed to squeak out a great return thanks to paying property taxes and mortgage interest. Considering that I paid off over $10K in principle last year, I know I won’t enjoy these benefits forever, but I will be milking it while I can (and saving boatloads of future interest payments in the future). Much as you punched Sallie in the face, I’m currently punching Fannie–repeatedly.

  14. I’m still waiting for one K-1 statement on an investment before I can file. I think I’m getting about $3500 back (which will be used in my mortgage paydown effort).

    Taxes are necessary but I do believe the money could be better managed. Probably like any big company. Our company likes to hire consultants, does the government do that?

    • I hit send before completing my comment. I don’t necessarily think consultants are the do-all, end-all by any means, but someone should be looking at ways to improve the spending for sure.

  15. I filed our taxes as early as we possibly could. We got a few thousand back as a refund but it was all in credits. Last year we got way too much back so I changed our withholding and evened it out.

  16. We owe $1200, which is better than the $3,000 we owed last year. We have been saving $300 each month to help cover this expense in April.

  17. Have to file them this week. First tax filing as a married couple! I am going to use turbotax. Taxes suck. But I think they suck even more because the government mismanages our funds. If the government was efficient and spent money on issues that really mattered, and then were successful, I would have no problem paying my taxes.

  18. Haven`t filed yet… we have until April 30 in Canada. I`m witing on one or two RSP statements for my contributions in January and February… that should be it. I took my $3800 Profit Sharing and put it in my spousal RSP because Hubby will be taxed up the wazzu because of his higher-paying job.

    I`m guessing we`ll be able to file within the next week or 2… not expecting to get more than $500 between the 2 of us, because we don`t have any other deductions we can claim, except for our RSP contibutions. We`ve agreed that if we get a refund, the full amount will go in the Vacation Kitty!

    Taxes are necessary, but it doesn`t mean I gotta like em!

  19. I got more back this year than I have ever gotten before. I think I definitely need to change my with holdings and get less taken out.

  20. Taxes are…. confusing and annoying. I really like the idea of a flat tax – even though it would probably cost me more – just because it would be simpler to understand! This is also my first year freelancing, so I have no idea how that is all going to work out come tax time next year. For this year, I got a small refund I’m going to use for my new computer!

  21. Inevitable, yet unnecessarily complex.

    I got a massive return… but I also bought a house and got married. Whoops; I’ll try not to do that again in 2012…

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