Sunday, February 13, 2011

Turbotax, I give you a 10.

My bank offered a free version of Turbotax for easy e-filing convenience.  The day the W-2s went out, I got on the interwebs and filled in the blanks on the 1040ez form and calculated that I owed the IRS $580.  OH BOY!  Given that I've been chronically underfunded for the last few months while in the midst of paying off a happy little divorce left-over, I wasn't sure how I was going to come up with an extra six hundred bucks, but I figured I'd find it somewhere.  Jimi generously offered to cover the debt for me -when we moved into the house he bought for us, we briefly discussed if I would benefit in any way from the interest he'll be able to deduct.  It was sort of left up in the air, with an aura of "we shouldn't talk about this much anymore" hanging around it.  Paying this tax bill for me, he kindly said, would be his way of sharing that benefit with me.  Bless his sweet little heart.  But then I got my BFB (Big Fat Bonus) and so I can afford to pay my own taxes now and decided today is the day - while the money is there in the account, before I've had the opportunity to blow it all despite my best intentions of saving or being responsible.

So, even though I've got the forms printed out and ready to mail in, that was going to require getting a money order to pay the moneys I owe.  (I don't have checks - I pay everything online or with my debit card.  My mom insists that if I don't have checks, I must not have a checking account.)  Finding the free e-filing option conveniently located in the upper right-hand corner of my online statement was a happy little twinkle of fate for this girl who doesn't like to leave the house.  It took a few minutes to locate my W-2 again, since I'd cleared off the dining room table since last seeing it and couldn't remember where I'd put the thing.  That happens to me a lot - I put things away and clean up and put things where they belong...and then I can't remember where it belongs but I can sure remember seeing it sitting there in the middle of the dining room table on top of the Christmas tins and December's cable bill.  W-2 finally found, internet browser switched temporarily (Turbotax doesn't work with Google Chrome, turns out), I was on my way to being a responsible American citizen.

It was super easy, as programs made for the masses tend to be, but what made me do a happy dance was learning about the $400 Making Work Pay tax credit - which reduced my tax owed from $580 to $180.  That fast, I had an extra $400 in my pocket.  That's real cash money that I'd already marked as gone -money I wouldn't have known about if I'd mailed in my 1040ez forms with a money order.

My day is officially made.

If that weren't enough, I also calculated my state return, and turns out Kentucky lets you deduct your health insurance premiums, even if you didn't itemize on your federal return - that took me from owing $76 to expecting a $46 refund!  Now, I didn't file my state return, because Turbotax wanted $27.95 for preparation and e-filing.  For $27.95, I'll print the forms off and mail them in myself; I'm lazy, but even I have my limits.

And now I really, REALLY want to go shopping.

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