Monday, March 21, 2011

Too Bad They Don't Have Publication 54 in a Kindle Edition

So I wasn't exactly surprised that the free, walk-in tax clinic at the Law College was not able to help me. Our household income (before taxes) was a few times the median income in this state, and in addition to regular W2 income I had all sorts of crazy things ("consulting" business, royalties, investments), and he got paid in Germany (and is a dual US/UK citizen). It was pretty clear that the "but we can't itemize!" was not going to outweigh the large amount of crazy that we were bringing to the table.

Now, as people who do make several times the median household income for this state, it was not the "free" part of the clinic that was important to me. It was the "walk-in in the evening" part. As the taxes do have a small heaping of crazy mixed into them, I'm reluctant to go to McTaxes to get them done. And all the legit CPAs are all booked up already.

Thus, once again I am intrigued by the idea of a national sales tax or meaningful tax reform that leads to a greatly simplified flat tax. As someone who can not itemize, you can see how this would be appealing for me. I'd be quite willing to give up whatever income tax discount I get from paying $1700 a year in property taxes if I were saved from the hassle of filling out tax forms. (Can you even get money off for property taxes if you can't itemize? Can you count rodents as dependents? Where can I get social security numbers for my yarn?)

Also, I hear rumor of some extra crazy form that you need to fill out if at any point during the year you had more than $10,000 in an overseas bank.

The three extra days that we get this year may not be enough for me. Every year I threaten to fill out that automatic extension form and write the IRS a giant check and put the problem until August. Every year The Topologist takes the pile of crazy paper and raises an eyebrow at my "business expenses" (the scanner really was used only for my business!) and solves the problem, leaving me in a position where all I have to do is write a check. I like problems that can be easily solved by merely writing a check.