The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives


No tax refund for me

Judging from the posts of other personal finance bloggers, it seems like I'm the only one who OWES money to the federal government come April 17th!

At last, our taxes are finally done. Bad news is we owe about $900. We don't plan on mailing in our forms until the end of this week, since I see no rush to give Uncle Sam our check until it is absolutely required. Although we may seem like procrastinators, actually, we have been working on our taxes over the past 2 months.

My husband isn't technically a contractor, but due to a complex system created by his employer, he is considered self-employed for tax purposes only. Honestly, I don't even fully understand it, so I let him deal with the taxes. My situation is very straight-forward. I am an employee and get a W-2 every January.

Before we were married, my husband paid an accountant to do his taxes. In order to qualify for an early-bird discount, he would organize his papers in advance. Still, the bill would usually come out to $200-300. I always did my own.

The first year of our marriage we used the accountant for fear that we would screw something up in our newly-merged financial state. But dishing out $500 in accountant fees, in addition to paying taxes, seemed like a waste.

Thank goodness for TurboTax Premier. We've used it for the last 2 years. Not only do we save money, but doing our own taxes has helped us understand our finances better. I now know that we had about $10,000 of unanticipated taxable income last year, which explains why we owe money. Hopefully, we will be able to come up with more accurate numbers for next year.