April 15th, 2013

krazy koati

Your day breaks, your mind aches

We had our first experience of filing taxes jointly, not in the past couple days --- bunny_hugger was (fairly) too nervous about that to wait so long --- but this is a more timely season to write about the experience. This was my first time filing as a married person, obviously, and we both faced fearsomely complicated tax returns. This was my fault, as I was part of the year a New Jersey resident, and part of the year a Michigan resident, while remaining employed in New Jersey all year long, while bunny_hugger was resident of and employed in Michigan year-round, and jointly that leaves us with taxes to file for the federal government, Michigan, and New Jersey.

I've just filed using Turbotax the last couple years, but bunny_hugger has made use of some web site service that she was more comfortable with, despite unease about whether it could handle our two-state situation. I deferred to her judgement since she usually is better about paperwork than I am (and I like to think I'm fairly good at it). The web site seemed fairly confident about what the results should be, so we accepted that and filed, with just the inkjet printer deciding to be all inkjet printer as we printed out copies for potential reference. At least we're not honestly making any efforts to cheat.

But we also ended up owing, and alarmingly close to the threshold where the federal government starts attaching penalties. This is my fault: I never adjusted my withholdings from the single to married status, and neither of us had really looked at a W-4 since we got married. There's a worksheet for it, to use if you are a two-income couple, and it turns out we were taking too many exemptions, me particularly, which likely explains why I've owed money the last couple years. With this rebalanced we should next year come a lot closer to having the right amount of withholding, and we won't have to consider the issue of changing state residency partway through.

Trivia: In January 1919, in France, Congressman William Borland of Kansas became the third congressman killed by the Spanish Flu. Source: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, John M Barry.

Currently Reading: Opus 100, Isaac Asimov.