Monday, March 02, 2009

Jump Start on Taxes

Yesterday, prompted by a card I received in the mail from the USC's financial aid office stating that the deadline for federal aid applications was today at midnight. Because I need some info from our tax return in order to fill it out, I spent the day doing our taxes.

Last year we did them ourselves, and the two years before that we went to H&R Block. This year I downloaded--then bought Turbo Tax, and it wasn't too painful. It still took most of the day--I always hope it won't, but truthfully, it's like the "prep time" and the actual calculations all in one. I manage to put all the W-2s (for last year I had two) 1098s and 1099s in a file as they get mailed to us, but there are always things that come up in the middle, and I need to pull out credit card statements or receipts from a box that I haven't organized yet, set up online access at companies, call my mom to ask advice, etc. All to confirm that our overall income, with two graduate students living on financial aid, still is evens out to less that zero.

The kicker was, that at the end of the day, in a panic about some "Supplemental Form" that was also required, I was informed that the deadline was not March 2, but May 5. This was confirmed by the Financial Aid website...

So I'm frustrated because of course I did no writing or schoolwork yesterday. But if I am honest with myself, tax day was going to happen, now or later, and whenever it did it was going to throw me off schedule. And this way I have time to call the one or two places who were supposed to send documents but didn't (I fear they have gone bankrupt!) and Paul can find out if his contest prize is counted and how.

If I intern over the summer instead of working, it is possible that I won't have any W-2s next year. I don't like that feeling. Even when the money is quite small, something about W-2s gives me a and odd sense of satisfaction.

Guess I should scramble through my homework now.

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