Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Positive feelings about taxes, for once

I've spent the last couple weeks gathering up records so we could file our taxes. Since we bought a house in 2009, this is our first year itemizing our deductions, and we had quite a few things to track, including:
  • Mortgage interest
  • Moving expenses
  • Home office expenses
  • Health costs (since my surgery cost so much, we met the threshold for the above-the-line deduction)
  • State tax
  • Property tax
  • Charitable donations
I managed to gather every necessary receipt and record, and they are all now in one folder. All I was waiting on was my W-2, and it arrived yesterday, so I devoted last night to preparing our taxes.

Originally, since our taxes were complicated this year with all the deductions, plus our partial-year residency in two different states, I thought we'd hire an accountant to do this. But with the spending freeze and all, and knowing that doing your taxes is a matter of good records, careful reading of instructions, a bit of math, and filling out forms, I didn't see how we could justify the cost.

It took me a few hours to do it all, with the various forms, all the careful adding and percentages (especially for the home office stuff), the figuring out our exemptions and deductions in each state, and so on. But at the end of the day I am nearly positive that I did it all correctly. All the forms are filled out. Everything is carefully documented in one folder in case we ever get audited. We have not overstated or understated everything. It is accurate.

(As a side note, can I just say that I love living in Colorado? Not only is their income tax low, but they have an online form that does all the math for you and files your return electronically at the end. The opposite of DC, where taxes are high and the online form only allows married couples to file jointly, whereas the paper form allows married couples to file separately on the same form. Doing this saves a good amount of money when your incomes are unequal, because DC tax is progressive and you can allocate the deductions however you want, so I can give Torsten all of mine and pull him into a lower tax bracket.)

Turns out, we're due the biggest refund of our lives. I guess there's a silver lining to all that mortgage interest, huh? And this refund could not be coming at a better time, since yesterday was Torsten's last day at his old job. As of today

Now to spend the next six months obsessively checking our bank account every day, keeping an eye out for those direct deposits.


  1. If you e-filed already, you should receive your direct deposits sooner than you think! I have been a very early e-filer in the past and have gotten my state and federal refunds quickly. This year, not so much...for the first time I think I have to hire someone to do my taxes. Ugh. At least you're super organized and on top of it all! My good organizational skills went a little downhill this year.

    - Mon

  2. When we filed on our own, we always used Turbo Tax. It walked us through everything. Asked all the important questions. Did state and federal filing electronically for us. And made it REALLY easy. Congrats on the refund.

  3. We're on the same page this week! Our married/with child/homeowning tax returns are the highlight of my winter!

  4. I love this time of year because we can almost always count on a refund (of course, I am knocking wood right now!). What, with all the schooling and the moving and up and down incomes, it seems like we usually come out a little ahead. I love this, i do, but part of me also wished I could get a better grasp on this so that I just have more money - and the control of that money - throughout the year.

    Oh, and every year my mom buys a "Tax Bag" with her refund. I think that's funny.

  5. A refund! Hurray!

    I haven't gotten my W2 yet (it should be here annnny day) but I'm hoping for a refund too!

  6. You'll get the first time homebuyers credit, right? That will be a nice little cushion with your startup. And just think - next year you'll have your own business for deductions!

    I do our taxes - B always used turbo tax and I hated having to pay for it every year - and then having to pay to file, too. Made me so mad! So I do them by hand, and mail them in and love every second of it.

  7. We have had to pay (a lot!) the last two years and I am dreading this year's returns as well. Sigh.

  8. I'm going to attempt to do my own taxes this year. We'll see how it goes. I'm expecting a big refund and I can't wait to turn around and put that money towards paying off my student loans!

  9. If you e-filed and asked for direct deposit, the refund will come very quickly. I got mine in less than 10 days. And there's a schedule at irs.gov that will tell you what the disbursement dates are.

  10. YAY! I'm sure you did it right. Congrats on the extra money!

  11. daaaaaang, nicely done!! i tried to do my taxes myself the first year i moved here, when i'd lived in both NJ and VA, worked 3 different jobs, AND did not have a computer so i was trying to fill it all out in some little paper booklet and OMG NO.

    (these days i turbotax my little heart out, and it could not be easier. i have a W2. i have a form for the interest on my savings account. that is literally all there is to enter.)

  12. Thanks for the birthday message, Jess! And rock star gold star for your taxes! I still have my mom take them to her accountant. With student loans and all that jazz, it's super confusing. I admire people who do their own taxes, because I'd totally screw it up!

  13. I'm getting a huge refund too. It's exciting!

  14. Woohoo! It's always nice to get a refund, no matter the size, but getting a big chunk of change back is the greatest! I'm so excited for you guys right now! I know it must be stressful in the beginning, but it sounds like you have all your ducks in a row and are really working hard. That is so awesome.

    And am I the only one who actually LIKES doing her taxes? Granted, I'm a single woman with no children who owns nothing and is worth nothing (financially speaking), so my taxes are a breeze...but I guess I just like the responsibility :-)

  15. Wow... you must be so proud of yourself! Taxes aren't due here for another couple of months but I am not looking forward to doing them... first time homeowner and all.
    But hopefully there will also be a refund coming our way :p
    Congrats on that! Good to have a little money coming in with Torstens new company

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  17. I tried to do our taxes on paper today just to see where we're at when we file jointly (we have to because otherwise we can't claim Will's school stuff) and I'm pretty sure my math is really really wrong or I took a wrong turn somewhere because somehow we get a refund.

    I have to admit that I'm hoping that my math is right--we'll find out when I plug the same stuff into one of the online tax figure outers tomorrow (can't decide between Turbo Tax and HR Block).

  18. I'm a college student, and I file indepedently. Which means I love big returns too! Haha.
    I actually filed on my own this year. I was nervous to do it since I had always had an accountant do it for me, but this year I couldn't justify the cost. I used Turbo Tax which made it really easy! Great experience.

  19. Yes, the giant refund is the one really big perk to home ownership, isn't it? I finally have my W-2, and I plan to do my taxes on my vacation day on Friday (when I will be waiting at home for my vanity countertop to be installed and my tub to be refinished). I sure do know how to use a vacation day, don't I? ;-)