The tax man cometh

After doing our taxes last year, I was so excited by the big return (no doubt going to pay a bill) that it never occurred to me that I was ignoring all of the investments The Woman sold. So when I found some paperwork months later that pointed this out… well… let’s just say that a panic attack was narrowly avoided. But a funny thing happened when that information was entered into the tax software – it said the freakin’ man still owed me more money.

How could this be? After pouring over the original and modified returns it eventually became clear that you should be wary of using an online service for doing your taxes. The website never properly transferred all of our wonderful home ownership type deductions over – and they more than adequately canceled out the rediscovered income. But as I struggled to find all of the paperwork and eventually formatted and reinstalled computers, actually filing the modifications kept getting put off.

Fast forward to this month. Shortly before we leave for vacation a nice letter from the IRS made it’s way to us: In case you didn’t notice, you forgot about a crapload of money so, PAY US FOUR GRAND OR WE TAKE YOUR FIRST BORN! Just kidding about that – it was under $4,000.

While I was pretty sure they weren’t taking everything into account, it was still disconcerting. And it became even more disconcerting when I noticed things on their paperwork that I had no knowledge of. Crap! Tax prison, here I come!

After weeks of sorting out missing papers, mixed up numbers, and software installation (it’s really awesome that TaxCut wouldn’t open my federal return because it also contained a state return which it wouldn’t let me install since it thought it already was…) I finally figured it all out. And tomorrow, not only do I get to tell the freakin’ man that I don’t owe them anything, but I also get to tell them that they owe me money!

I’m not sure how I managed to miss reporting several thousand dollars of income and still come out several hundred dollars ahead of the game. Perhaps I should start offering to do other people’s taxes?

Gratitude does not even begin to cover it…

This weekend we had another bout of realization at just how freakin’ lucky we are. A big part of that has to do with, obviously, my game show winnings. We’ve been watching episodes of Millionaire regularly since I was on (largely to see what happened with the only contestant who went after me) and it’s almost making me nervous again. Last week, 2 people didn’t even make it to $1000 (along with another one from a few weeks back) and lots of people dropped down to $1000. In the few dozen episodes since I’ve been on, I don’t remember seeing anyone make it to my level.

I’m not bragging here, because it’s not all about knowledge. There was a lot of luck involved to get me to that level. And now we are truly realizing just how much that money means to us as bills get paid, home improvements are purchased, and interest is earned. This is not a situation I’m used to. But in the first month of this year, we’ve already begun to make dramatic changes to our life that will really help when the biggest dramatic change happens this July.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about what we’ve been doing with the house and what we will be doing with the house. I’ll also be commenting on some of the other changes we’ve been able to afford. The purpose of doing so is to give people ideas who are looking at similar situations – not to brag about the fact that I won a lot of money. And that’s why, before I start blabbering about new stoves and closets, I just want to stress how ridiculously thankful we are right now.

Honestly, I still can’t fathom that it actually happened or that we even deserved it to happen – but I am eternally grateful that it did.