In the past we've received a couple hundred dollars refund from our state tax return (that, of course, gets mailed as early as possible so we can use the refund to apply to what we owe Uncle Sam on April 15th). For 2009, however, it was less than a hundred and we donated half of it back to causes/charities that we checked off on the tax return. Such a paltry state refund wasn't going to be of much help when it looked like we owed over $2100 in federal taxes for 2009 (a considerable increase from years past)..........
Then, last week, I was having pita bread and hummus for breakfast while reading our local newspaper and I saw an article our paper had reprinted from USA Today titled
Take time to avoid costly tax mistakes.
Glancing quickly I saw mistakes we would never make, such as "incorrect Social Security numbers," "overlooking charitable contributions," and "forgetting to sign your return."
However, #5 grabbed my attention: Missing the 'Making Work Pay' credit. You can read the full article at the link above, but here is the text of #5 (highlighting is mine):
Last year's economic stimulus package provided a tax credit of $400, or $800 for married couples. Most workers who have taxes withheld from their paychecks received the credit throughout the year through an adjustment to their withholding. But when you file your tax return, you will still need to claim the credit. Otherwise, your refund could be delayed. The IRS says more than 2 million taxpayers have made errors in connection with the credit.Did we? Miss this? I wondered.....
Well, yes, we did. Michael woke me on Easter morning with the happy news that I had saved us over $800 on what we owe the feds. That would be the $800 tax credit for married couples, plus a smaller fine.
This is probably a boring post for those of you who use the services of tax accountants or even Turbo Tax. But I think I would still check that work against the list in the article!
Here is an old cartoon from HarpWeek that was originally published in Harper's Weekly on August 7, 1886. Click on the link to read the full -- and fascinating -- explanation. I've included the first two paragraphs below the cartoon.
In response to congressional passage of a federal tax on oleomargarine, cartoonist Thomas Nast suggests that Americans ask Congress for relief from other taxes. Here, a citizen covered in taxes knocks at the door of the U.S. Senate, while a wall poster informs readers that the margarine tax was enacted “to please the dairymen” who resented the economic competition.
Butter was considered a nutritional supplement to the daily staple of bread, as well as a cooking oil and flavor enhancement. The price of butter, however, rose in Europe nearly 100% from 1850 to 1870. At the 1866 World’s Fair in Paris, Napoleon III agreed to sponsor research aimed at developing a substitute for butter, and three years later Hippolyte Mège-Mouries, a French chemist, produced the first oleomargarine by mixing beef fat with milk and salt. Later, other animal fats or vegetable oils would be used.