06 March 2013


I did my taxes today. 

Please note the date: March 6. This is the first time I can remember, other than (maybe?) when I was living in Rwanda, that I have done my taxes on a day other than April 15 or later. (Was it last year that April 15 was a Friday and a federal holiday, so tax day was the 18th?) In general, I am that person googling the post office hours on tax day and driving across town to get to an open mailbox. My first year in Gone West, I took the bus downtown at 10:30 pm to mail my tax return

(Side note: YAY! I am moving back to Gone West! Reading things like that reminds me how much I love it there, impending move notwithstanding.)

I am getting money back on my taxes, assuming I did the math right. Last year State of Happiness sent me a letter that said something along the lines of "You used the exemption for head of household, idiot. Please to send us $38." And I put a check in the mail, practically instantly, out of gratitude that I only made the one mistake. 

Money back is handy. I can use it, right now, with the move and all. 

I do my taxes myself every year, because my head spins when I have all the publications in front of me, but it spins even more when I just have to input numbers without knowing why, a la the online programs. (I had the same problem with physics in college: I couldn't learn it because the professor of physics-for-premed-students wouldn't tell me the calculus behind it. I loved calculus, and physics made no sense without it, and I find it impossible to learn things that do not make sense. I am not a memorize a formula sort of girl. I need to understand the reasons why.)

After I did my taxes, I realized that I paid about 20% of my salary in taxes last year, which seems high (including Medicare and Social Security, the second of which I do not expect to see any of when my day comes, the way things are going). I'm not complaining about how high it is, not at all. In fact, I'm pretty excited that I make enough money to pay that much in taxes, and I'm pretty excited to look at those numbers and think, "Hey! I'm finally making a real contribution!"

Maybe someone got food stamps every month this year from my tax dollars, and that thought makes me quite happy.

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