austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

It's not my mind that is confusing things

So, that was a costly mistake. After the frustration of working out our taxes last year, when filing both Michigan resident and New Jersey non-resident left us unsure that we were doing either part, particularly New Jersey's, quite right, we decided to go to a tax professional and have someone who presumably knows just how to handle our very slightly non-simple case do it. So we had a tax preparer's appointment which started late and which sprawled from the hour we expected to an hour and a half, forcing someone else to get bumped altogether, to our great social anxiety.

The first problem is it ended up crazily expensive, and that's mostly my fault: my feeble investment plans included dividends which to be entered accurately drove the cost of the tax prep way up, well past what I got in dividends. Still, that would have at least been defensible as a one-time crazy expense if had left us confident that we had seen how to enter New Jersey non-resident returns correctly. And the second problem is we weren't: the tax professional seemed to be unsure about just the same points that we were last year, particularly in that somehow I ended up owing several hundred dollars to New Jersey. At one point the preparer even mis-read the federal versus the state withholdings from my W-2, which is a common everyday accident swiftly corrected, but which is fatal to confidence. All we can say is that at least presumably competent tax professionals are unsure about the same things we were unsure of, for a lot less.

Anyway, we ended up owing Michigan and New Jersey just about exactly as much as the Federal government owed us. That pinches, but the net would've covered about the cost of a Free Play Day of pinball if not for the money paid for tax preparation. The best I can say is, we've learned better and won't be doing that again.

Trivia: Delaware's southern border, by its 1682 charter, was to be the southern extent of Cape Henlopen. It is in fact about 25 miles further south, at Fenwick Island, owing to Lord Baltimore having a chart incorrectly locating Cape Henlopen. Source: How The States Got Their Shapes, Mark Stein.

Currently Reading: Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan, Tamim Ansary.

PS: Roller Coaster Immortality Update! in my fourth post since the last roundup of mathematical topics. I got some information about how old the wood in the Leap The Dips roller coaster in Altoona, Pennsylvania, might be. Of course you read it already on your Friends page or on your RSS reader, if you were that interested, I guess.

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