Saturday, February 20, 2010

using both Optional Methods

I have been slogging through our 2009 tax forms lately. I had a good start on it last weekend, but getting it all figgered out required all this week's lunch breaks too. Last night I put the finishing staples in the stacks of married-filing-jointly a-go-go's Federal 1040 and California 540 thoroughly beaten dead horses. Shew!...

That knocks one big important thing off the list of things to do before the Big Trip, but I can't get over the randomness of it all. Last year we had a nice fat refund from both the feds and the state. This year our income was a little higher, our Federal withholding was lower(!?), our state withholding was higher, and the result?... $21 refund from the feds and we owe California $71. Huh? Who figures this stuff? The withholding allowances didn't change, and my income was up a smidge.... how did my Federal withholding go down? All said and done, I'm happy to not have the fat refund. That's just $$$ we couldn't earn interest on during the year, but how did California eat so much more of my wages? State withholding went up and they swallowed last year's refund too. I dug all around looking for where they slipped in the increase, and I'm still not sure how they did it. The tax rates went up but not enough to account for most of the change. I have a degree in economics and I can't figure it out.

Oh well it's done and I can move on to the next item on the list. So long adjusted gross income. See you next year.


  1. My mother, long since departed, always wondered why my husband and I, two college graduates, could not do our own taxes. You tell the story very well. If she was still around to call up on the phone, I would read your tale of two taxes to her and she might be more understanding.

    We dropped our tax material off last week in SF with our wonderful tax preparer and friend. Haven't heard back yet, but the news cannot be good because hubby had a contract job last year on which were no deductions. He put all the money in the bank knowing full well that Uncle Sam and the Terminator would be coming for him.

  2. grrr. we owed CA $71 this year too! I use taxslayer so can't even begin to explain the mystery. i admire your diligence in slogging through it yourself!



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