Friday, January 26, 2007

The IRS Man Goeth

Despite being confused, intimidated, and totally clueless, I sat down (okay, flung myself across my bed with my laptop) to do my taxes last night.

I discovered that, like a lot of financial tasks that come bundled with scary baggage, it's actually not all that hard. The only way in which my parents claiming me as a dependent affected the return is that it made me automatically ineligible for the Earned Income Credit (for which I believe I am ineligible anyway) and meant that I couldn't claim education expenses (which I couldn't have done anyway: my parents paid them). As HC very helpfully commented, I still qualified for the standard deduction on the basis of earned income. There were some complications because I spent half the year as a student (in a place that's not here) and half the year (less, actually) as a full-time employee, but the complications only involved frustration, not financial ruin.

The bottom line is that I filed for free without having to do any math and now I get money back (kind of a lot, actually: $701, total). And it's done. And I'm relieved. The real bottom line is that I, like, I think, many others, build things up in my head to be harder and scarier than they are, and just doing them often reveals that they are no big deal.


S/100/30 said...

Yep, I think taxes are pretty simple except for extraordinarily complicated situations. Heck, I once had to file in CA, PA, and MA all in the same year -- it took me about 10 hours total worth of work. Not a big deal.

I have friends who are much older than you whose parents do their taxes because they're "no good a math". I try to explain that a calculator can be used for any math -- taxes are all about organization, logic, and reading comprehension.

mOOm said...

So you had all the info on that trust stuff? Or just ignored it?

English Major said...

moom, I talked to my mother, who said that I didn't need to worry about it--my name's on there as a beneficiary, but I don't technically own anything, so I'm okay.

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