March 9, 2017

Taxes

I went to get my taxes done today.  I don't do them myself anymore.  The Meriwhen Estate is rather complicated and requires a lot of itemization and the use of many extra forms.  It is worth paying a professional to do them.  It might be expensive, but to me, it's worth every single penny.

If you itemize, here is a handy tip:  get a folder, label it "Taxes."  Throw any and every work-related receipt in there:  purchasing scrubs, renewing licensure, CEU payments, etc.  Also throw in donations, medical bills, anything that you plan to write off come tax time.  It's a lot easier to do that than to spend the first few weeks in January trying to find and print receipts, or doing a best guess estimate of what you spent without paperwork to back it up, and then hoping that you won't get audited.

Despite doing that every year, I still spend about 3 hours printing, cataloging and organizing all the tax paperwork.

Anyhow.

I used to strive for a gigantic refund every year, until I realized that I'm basically loaning money to the government interest-free.  And I could be using that money now, not later.  I do itemize and claim all the deductions I can, but I also tweak my withholding so that I come out close to $0.   I won't complain if I do get a refund though, but I'm no longer in the "big bucks, big bucks, no whammy, stop!" mindset.  I just don't expect a large refund.

This year, I owe the government a little bit.  It's much less than I thought it would be, given the income shift between the better half and I, plus the fact that I didn't update the multiple W4s until the middle of the year to follow those changes.  So we had too little taxes taken out...though if I hadn't changed the W4s, it could have been a lot worse.  Next year, we should hit the sweet spot.  But this year, I mail a check in the morning.

I got the state withholding right:  a $30 refund...which, in California, is taxable income for the following year.  Which is an even better reason for me to get my refund as close to $0 as possible:  not only would a refund mean I'm letting California borrow money from me at no charge to them, I then have to pay California for the privilege of getting back money that was rightfully mine to begin with.

It took two hours and two tax preparers to figure it all out.  But they did it a lot faster and probably more accurately than I ever could...so again, worth every penny.

No comments: