Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Our 2013 Family taxes

When I was in 8th grade I was scheduled to babysit for a family. When I arrived the couple was not even close to ready to go. They had been working on taxes that afternoon and needed to mail them on the way on their evening out. I had to entertain the kids for several hours before they finally left for their date.
When we moved to the big city when I was in high school, I was amazed to watch the postal workers stand at the curb taking mail until midnight on April 15. My senior year I had an important scholarship application that needed to be postmarked on April 15 so I waited in the drive up line to hand it to the postal worker.
Boy have things ever changed. I don't know if any one still postpones their plans if they don't have their taxes done by April 15 like when I babysat for that family. I doubt even in big cities there are lines at the drop box at the post office. E-filing has really changed our lives, even for those that don't e-file. It was strange to mail one thin envelope only containing a voucher and check because everything else was e-filed for both federal and state. And it was a pleasant surprise to wake up one morning a few weeks ago and check my bank account and see that state refund deposited in the account. Those that get refunds don't even need to go to the bank to deposit their refund any more.

I do find looking at what we submit for taxes an interesting glimpse in our personal lives. I have blogged about this before. I will list some of what our 2013 taxes showed about our family.

* Ram did not attend any conferences out of state which meant he spent very little money on theology books because he didn't stop and shop at the booths. We did not travel out of state for vacation with the exception of Ewe attending the HRTB Retreat in St. Louis.
* Ram did 1 funeral and 2 baptisms at our church.
* Ram and Ewe participated in the Be Well Serve Well Program and were rewarded
* Ewe had 2 miscarriages and had her first mammogram
* Lamb 2 saw a lot of doctors in the fall until we discovered he needed vision therapy
* Lamb 2 began occupational therapy in the fall
* Lamb 3 began private speech after speech at the public school ended for him
* Lamb 3 attended and graduated from preschool
* We got a drinking and water softener system for our house
* We did a few home improvement projects that we wanted to do-put in a few ceiling fans, hung a few wall mirrors in some bedrooms, planted flower bulbs in the yard
* We bought a new refrigerator for the first time

This year we did much better estimating our taxes so only owed a small amount for federal and got a refund from state. Thankfully it is not like last year where we owed a bunch for the previous year taxes plus had to pay a bunch for estimated taxes for the next year. I do think we really realize what we are paying in taxes since Ram is self employed and we pay quarterly taxes instead of having it withdrawn from each paycheck like most Americans.
I miss living in MN at tax time. The refund from state is because there is sales tax on groceries here. I really doubt the refund covers the sales tax our family pays for food. In MN there was no sales tax on food, clothes, or shoes. But we are gradually getting used to paying high taxes here and also learning that because ID is a smaller state than MN there are also not as many benefits for our family (like the Lambs being allowed to have speech therapy at the public school). Thankfully there are other benefits to living in ID besides public services so we like living here!


Esther said...

Our church takes our estimated taxes out of each paycheck. It is WONDERFUL.

Joelle said...

I stopped at the post office yesterday after dropping Audrey off with Matt at BSF (not taxes - just regular bills). There was a line of cars waiting to hand envelopes to a postal worker - still happens! Matt just finished our taxes on Sunday - early for us! They are often sent in on the 15th! (even the year we got a HUGE refund because of the adoption credit!).

Good job not giving the gov't a free loan :) We get a federal refund each year - only because Matt's work is required to take 25% of their bonus check and send it to the gov't. If not for that we wouldn't get a refund. We'd rather not give free loans.

Reading through your list I was wondering why a few things were on there. Since I haven't been a church worker in 12 years (wow! Time flies!) I forgot about the housing allowance. That would be GREAT! Glad you can use that.