Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Income Tax Time - Good or Bad - Depending Whether You Have to Give or Receive

The American tax system is confusing. There are all sorts of exceptions and loopholes that allow some folks to pay less than they should and others end up paying more to make up for them. I am not going to argue that our government is wasting our taxes - that is a given. My story will deal with this amazing this law that allows us to calculate our own taxes.

The income tax law is very complex. I heard someone say a simpler form would be - "how much do you earn? --- send it in."

I have been preparing my income tax forms on a computer since 1994. With a simple tax preparation program - you are asked simple questions - you fill in answers - then it prepares the forms.

I used to use a program called "MacInTax." Then a company called "TurboTax" bought "MacinTax." Last year I switched to "H & R Block At Home" because "TurboTax"  started limiting how many forms you could fill out. "At Home" allows you to prepare as many paper forms as you want - but also allows you to file 5 electronic forms for free. So this is the first year I filed our income tax return over the Internet.

"At Home" cost $15. You can buy it on with no tax and no shipping fee. The program works on a Mac or a PC computer. You load the program onto your computer - then click to open the program. Then the program simply asks you questions and fills in the forms as you go. It will retrieve your old data from last year's forms no matter what tax program you used. 

In our case - I filed the simple 1040 form - because we do not have any deductions. Our tax bill came out to $32,000 - we had already paid $37,000 - so the government owed us $5000 back. I wanted to get the money back quickly so I chose to file over the Internet. 

I must admit that it was a little scary pressing the "send" button. Also - if you give them your bank account number - they will deposit it there directly. Supposedly - our money will be returned in 2 weeks. I will let you know when we get it back.

No comments: