xtitsx: (Default)
( 17 Feb 2017 11:41 am)
'tis the season to do your taxes.
i say it every year, but i really like doing my taxes. it combines several of my interests.
i find filling out forms and following procedures gratifying, i enjoy the satisfaction of being able to do basic math, i revel in the opportunity to try to game the system and i like to be rewarded in the end with a bit of money from the government for my efforts.
i spent all January watching my mailbox, excitedly waiting for my 1099s to roll in.
unfortunately this year, things did not go as i would have hoped and i am totally down on tax season.

the PSE and i file our taxes as Married, Filing Jointly.
the PSE and i aren't properly, legally married, but in the State of Texas, living in sin counts as marriage if you want it to.
our collective 1099s for 2016 are as follows:

+a 1099 from the few months the PSE worked at the Ramen Restaurant
the PSE made $6,659.51 in wages and reported tips.
the government took out $175.82 in Federal withholdings. the State of Texas does not have an income tax.
+a 1099-T Tuition Statement from my Law School
i received a scholarship of $11,000 and was billed $11,000 for tuition and fees.
that was a wash.
+two 1099-MISCs for miscellaneous income the PSE and i made from the Dallas Drug Study
i earned $6,050 from doing one Drug Study and the PSE earned $9,450 from doing two.
there were no Federal withholdings on that because we are considered “independent contractors” and expected to manage our own tax bills.
+three 1099-DIV for dividends from the three stocks the PSE and i hold [the fourth stock we hold doesn't send us a statement, i guess because it does not earn dividends?]
we earned $569.72 in dividends for the three stocks
the American government did not withhold any taxes, but the government of Finland withheld $2.90 from the Nokia stock the PSE thought it would be a good idea to buy.
+a 1099-INT from our bank for interest we've earned on our high-yield savings account
we earned $299.54.
for the PSE and i, that's a grand total of $23,028.27 in adjusted gross income for 2016, and $178.72 in withholdings.

the first thing i did was try to run all of my numbers through the TurboTax to see how they would shake out.
this is normally what most people do with their taxes who aren't so fucking dumb and lazy they just pay somebody at H&R Block to do it for them, or so fucking rich and lazy they have their own CPA.
but, if, say, you've graduate high school but don't have a Master's Degree, most people turn to TurboTax to do their taxes and for most people it is free.
but not for the PSE and me.
because the PSE and i have 1099-MISC income, that's income the TurboTax people think we're a small business and want to charge us for their services.
so run my numbers through TurboTax up to the point where they want me to start paying, just to give me a good idea where to start, then i have to take over and do it all by hand from there.

the problem with 1099-MISC income is that technically, legally, the PSE and i are supposed to pay a “self employment tax” of 15.3 percent.
that's to cover the Social Security and Medicare deductions that normally get taken out of an employer paycheck.
for the PSE and i, that would be $2,371.50 out of the $15,500 we earned from the Dallas Drug Study.
but self employment tax only applies if the PSE and i are doing our Drug Study work as a source of income.
if we earned our money as a “hobby” then self-employment tax does not apply.
so, sure, the PSE and i test experimental pharmaceuticals a hobby, because we just enjoy the experience that much.
the pay is compensation for our time and travel expenses, not services rendered.
why not?
i'll be goddamned if i'm gonna pay the government $2,371.50 just so some old people can get medical care or money to live off of.
i've got my own problems.

setting aside any self-employment obligations, our Adjusted Gross Income is $23,028.27.
the PSE and i take the Standard Deduction of -$12,600 for the two of us because i don't know how to do itemized deductions.
i don't think we have anything to itemize that would add up to -$12,600 anyway.
then we get a combined personal exemption of -$8,100.
which leaves us with total taxable income of $2,328.27.
the 2016 Tax Tables say that that amount has a tax liability of $234, a little more then ten percent.
somehow the government thinks that $23,028.27 is so much money for the PSE to live on that we have $234 to spare.
but, because of reasons, i decided that our tax liability should only be $179.
and since the PSE and i have already paid $175.82 out of the PSE's Ramen Restaurant checks, and $2.90 to the government of Finland which i can deduct as Foreign Interest, that leaves us with a total advanced payment of $178.72, round up to $179, which means the government and the PSE and i ought to be square.
it's not the outcome i would have wanted, i felt like we really ought to be entitled to a refund because we're poor and all, but i guess i'll settle for not having to pay any more taxes.
but we're not done yet.
breaking even would be the tax outcome for the PSE and i if it was back in 2008, but now we've got Obamacare to deal with, and Obamacare is a whole 'nother motherfucker.

the PSE and i did not take any Obamacare for the months of January through July because we were out on our Great Adventure.
i had to fill out form 8965 with an Exemption Number i got from the Department of Health and Human Services so the IRS wouldn't hit me with a penalty.
when we got back to the States and i tried to sign up for Obamacare, the Obamacare people asked me how much money the PSE and i were going to earn in 2016.
how the fuck should i know?
after going back and forth with them for a while about what a stupid question that was, i eventually said “$14,900” because that's the minimum we could make to qualify for the program and because i didn't expect to make much more.
the Obamacare people based their insurance premium assistance on that amount and awarded the PSE and i a subsidy of $559 per month.
our insurance was $583.77 a month, which meant the PSE and i had to come out of pocket $24.77 per month for our insurance.
but it turns out that wasn't enough. the Obamacare people decided that we had made too much money and retroactively reduced our subsidy to $516.24, per month, which meant we had received an over-payment of $42.76 a month for five months.
that's an over-payment of $213.80 in 2016 that the government paid to my insurance company and now decided it wants back.
motherfucker, i never asked you cunts to pay all this money to my insurance company.
if i knew this was going to have to come out of my end, i never would have gotten involved with your crooks.
Obamacare is a wealth-transfer program to private insurance companies. it's got nothing to do with getting people access to care that they need.

in the end, because of Obamacare, the PSE and i ended up owing the government a tax bill of $213.80, or, rounding up like they like you to do, $214.
i was fucking cheesed about having to pay the goddamned government my hard-earned money, but i took at least a little happiness in that i had beat the estimate i got from the fucks at TurboTax.
the TurboTax estimate of what the PSE and i would owe was $391.
i don't have any idea how they reached that number and i didn't bother to look too close to ask why.
it took me putting in a good five hours worth of work, staying up until 2:30am on a school night, but, i was able to beat TurboTax by$177 dollars, plus whatever they would have charged me for their services.
still, paying $214 to the cunts in the government is a big ol' crock of shit.
one day, i'm really gonna have to get the balls to just go full Ted Kaczynski [or Thoreau if you want to be romantic about it] and move into a cabin and refuse to acknowledge the government, but until that day comes, i remain a lowly serf.

//[ab irato ad astra]

September 2017

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