Tax Refund purchases

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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:49 pm

auxy wrote:My tax refund was $3.

Three. Dollars.

I guess I should be glad I didn't OWE taxes, but it's like ... why even bother filing? (◕︿◕✿)

You bother filing to stay in compliance and keep the IRS from annoying the crap out of you.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:52 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:You bother filing to stay in compliance and keep the IRS from annoying the crap out of you.
I'm pretty sure if you don't owe you don't have to file.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:12 pm

auxy wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:You bother filing to stay in compliance and keep the IRS from annoying the crap out of you.
I'm pretty sure if you don't owe you don't have to file.

Unless you are a fan of Unnecessary Trouble & Friends, I would suggest looking it up :P Basically, unless your AGI was really low, you should file regardless. If you are a legal adult earning any source of reported income, then any unusual behavior including not filing tax returns, is likely as not to raise flags.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:16 pm

ludi wrote:Unless you are a fan of Unnecessary Trouble & Friends, I would suggest looking it up :P Basically, unless your AGI was really low, you should file regardless. If you are a legal adult earning any source of reported income, then any unusual behavior including not filing tax returns, is likely as not to raise flags.
So you don't have to file, but it's probably a good idea to do so anyway. ┐( ̄ヮ ̄)┌

I was mostly annoyed that I paid $20 for H&R Block to go over my return and make sure it was right only to end up getting $3 back, thus costing me $17. I don't really qualify for anything in terms of credits and I don't have any exemptions at all, so I'm pretty well hosed on the whole tax thing.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:22 pm

auxy wrote:
ludi wrote:Unless you are a fan of Unnecessary Trouble & Friends, I would suggest looking it up :P Basically, unless your AGI was really low, you should file regardless. If you are a legal adult earning any source of reported income, then any unusual behavior including not filing tax returns, is likely as not to raise flags.
So you don't have to file, but it's probably a good idea to do so anyway. ┐( ̄ヮ ̄)┌

I was mostly annoyed that I paid $20 for H&R Block to go over my return and make sure it was right only to end up getting $3 back, thus costing me $17. I don't really qualify for anything in terms of credits and I don't have any exemptions at all, so I'm pretty well hosed on the whole tax thing.

You seem to be not getting that a low refund is actually what you should be striving for.
Most people have things setup incorrectly, and therefore they get big refunds (withholding too much per paycheck). This means that the government is taking your money early and you are not getting it and earning interest on it.

You should always want your refund to be as low as possible.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:06 pm

danny e. wrote:You seem to be not getting that a low refund is actually what you should be striving for. Most people have things setup incorrectly, and therefore they get big refunds (withholding too much per paycheck). This means that the government is taking your money early and you are not getting it and earning interest on it. You should always want your refund to be as low as possible.
You seem to have the impression that I don't already know this.
You seem to be making wild assumptions about what I do and don't know and how much money I make.

I never even complained about the amount of my refund and I never said I wished it was larger; I only complained about spending the $20 at H&R Block (which was admittedly my own mistake, but still; if people can't complain about their own mistakes then what CAN they complain about?)

I saw this post on my phone as I walked out to my car at work and I raced home with a head full of mad ready to post an angry retort full of vitriol, and then I realized that you're probably one more financially-secure older person who thinks I'm one more ignorant little poor kid who doesn't know how taxes work. Yeah, I'm poor, and I'm young, but at least I'm perceptive; if you'd actually read my first post in this thread, I think it should have been fairly clear I know that tax returns are simply a reimbursement for overpayment.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:02 pm

I tend to look at tax preparation costs (although I do it on TaxAct) as a convenience cost. I give them some money, and they make complying with the law easier. This is independent of how much money I get back. (I usually end up owing significantly overall (not everything that should be withheld is withheld in my case), which is actually best - if you owe, you get to collect interest on the money.)

But, I've bought myself a couple calculators and a server - a SwissMicros DM-15CC (reviewed here), an Elektronika MK-61 (a vintage Soviet RPN calculator), and a Dell CS24-SC ($190, for a dual 2.5 GHz Xeon L5420 (essentially dual Core 2 Quad) with 16 GiB RAM, in a 1U case) to replace my ancient bottom-of-the-line Dell P3 desktop that I'm currently using as a server.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:23 pm

Opened a Motif Investing account.
https://www.motifinvesting.com/

Making money on money you didnt expect back isn't all that bad.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 7:30 pm

bhtooefr wrote:But, I've bought myself a couple calculators and a server - a SwissMicros DM-15CC (reviewed here), an Elektronika MK-61 (a vintage Soviet RPN calculator), and a Dell CS24-SC ($190, for a dual 2.5 GHz Xeon L5420 (essentially dual Core 2 Quad) with 16 GiB RAM, in a 1U case) to replace my ancient bottom-of-the-line Dell P3 desktop that I'm currently using as a server.

Surprised you didn't buy a Curta, unless of course you already own one.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:32 am

Captain Ned wrote:Surprised you didn't buy a Curta, unless of course you already own one.

If I'm cranking away at something, it better be doing one of two things: propelling me, or loosening or tightening a bolt.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:28 am

auxy wrote:
danny e. wrote:You seem to be not getting that a low refund is actually what you should be striving for. Most people have things setup incorrectly, and therefore they get big refunds (withholding too much per paycheck). This means that the government is taking your money early and you are not getting it and earning interest on it. You should always want your refund to be as low as possible.
You seem to have the impression that I don't already know this.
You seem to be making wild assumptions about what I do and don't know and how much money I make.

I never even complained about the amount of my refund and I never said I wished it was larger; I only complained about spending the $20 at H&R Block (which was admittedly my own mistake, but still; if people can't complain about their own mistakes then what CAN they complain about?)

I saw this post on my phone as I walked out to my car at work and I raced home with a head full of mad ready to post an angry retort full of vitriol, and then I realized that you're probably one more financially-secure older person who thinks I'm one more ignorant little poor kid who doesn't know how taxes work. Yeah, I'm poor, and I'm young, but at least I'm perceptive; if you'd actually read my first post in this thread, I think it should have been fairly clear I know that tax returns are simply a reimbursement for overpayment.


whoa, relax crazy emoji person :o As you know I've made the mistake of reading too much into posts and going overboard in reply as well (Chrome) ;)

For the future I would say that if your tax returns are simple and straightforward and you qualify, go with one of the free e-file options like Turbotax free edition. It does cover the most common deductions and actually has a lot of detail for less common things if you want. Cost? $0...just some time. I'd say that time is what you really paid for at H&R Block, but if you have low income your time isn't worth much (no offense - just saying). Just crank up some tunes and go through Turbotax for a few hours and you're good to go at no cost.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:19 pm

Except you have to file state as well in most states...
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:59 pm

bhtooefr wrote:Except you have to file state as well in most states...


Was that a reply to me?

Yes, you may have to file state taxes. That's a separate issue...I don't use Intuit's Turbotax State filing because it charges $30 for what is easy otherwise. In PA the state's own online tax filing for a similarly straightforward tax return is very easy but of course every state varies. You'd have to do it regardless, so why not at least use one of the free Federal options for Federal taxes?
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:38 pm

We will owe on our federal just a little, but the refund on our state taxes should cover most of it.

So, no purchases. Our big thing at the moment is refinancing the house. Drop the mortgage from 22 remaining on a 30-year to a 15-year fixed, going from 5.75% to 3%, we'll pay slightly more a month and save a bunch in the long run.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:27 pm

This year I bought two months' rent with my tax return.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:23 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Yes, you may have to file state taxes. That's a separate issue...I don't use Intuit's Turbotax State filing because it charges $30 for what is easy otherwise. In PA the state's own online tax filing for a similarly straightforward tax return is very easy but of course every state varies. You'd have to do it regardless, so why not at least use one of the free Federal options for Federal taxes?
No state taxes in Texas, whee!

I actually did a free e-file through H&R block, and then it was like "for just $20, we'll go over your return and make sure you didn't miss anything!" and I fell for it, since my return was $3. :lol: I should've just taken my $3 and been done with it; my return is ridiculously simple, so I don't know what I thought I could have missed.

You guys keep talking about earning interest on your money you aren't paying in taxes -- what the heck kind of income do you have? I can't even imagine earning relevant interest on anything.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:23 pm

Oh, it's only a few cents, but a few cents is a few cents, with no additional work (it takes just as much time to fill in the bank account info for the direct debit of owed taxes, as it does the direct deposit of a refund).
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:49 am

We ended up owing a lot this year. SWMBO was switching jobs and spent some time as a 1099 contractor. That apparently really screwed us over. We filed an extension and will be having the pros look at it to see if TurboTax missed something large.

I sure hope so. Otherwise I might have to sell a rifle to pay this crap.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:21 am

Well, I spent some of my tax return money. I bought one of these at Microcenter. New in box $550. Spent $100 on extra warranty just in case, total came out around $700. Worth it. It's way better than the 4 year old 32" LG I had before.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:21 am

Darkmage wrote:We ended up owing a lot this year. SWMBO was switching jobs and spent some time as a 1099 contractor. That apparently really screwed us over. We filed an extension and will be having the pros look at it to see if TurboTax missed something large.

I sure hope so. Otherwise I might have to sell a rifle to pay this crap.


It's hard to call that 'getting screwed over' it just sounds like you were unaware that as a 1099 contractor she was responsible for all taxes since she was effectively a pass-through business and not an employee.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:15 am

auxy wrote:You guys keep talking about earning interest on your money you aren't paying in taxes -- what the heck kind of income do you have? I can't even imagine earning relevant interest on anything.

Well, the "you could be earning interest on it" angle is certainly less relevant than it was a few years ago. With interest rates near zero and any investments with a decent rate of return being fairly risky, even if you'd had the cash you probably wouldn't be much better off than if you'd just stuffed it in a mattress.

I prefer to get a (moderately) sized refund rather than owe on the 15th, because that means I haven't already spent money that I need to pay the taxes. A large discrepancy in either direction means I screwed up.

MadManOriginal wrote:
Darkmage wrote:We ended up owing a lot this year. SWMBO was switching jobs and spent some time as a 1099 contractor. That apparently really screwed us over. We filed an extension and will be having the pros look at it to see if TurboTax missed something large.

I sure hope so. Otherwise I might have to sell a rifle to pay this crap.

It's hard to call that 'getting screwed over' it just sounds like you were unaware that as a 1099 contractor she was responsible for all taxes since she was effectively a pass-through business and not an employee.

It's still 'getting screwed over' even if it is partially self-inflicted. And in this situation, even the self-inflicted part is not something I would expect someone to understand unless they've dealt with it before. If a substantial portion of your income is reported on Form 1099 *and* your income from that source fluctuates over the course of the year *or* you have other income from non-1099 sources, it can be difficult to get it right.

The first few years I was an independent contractor (before I got this stuff mostly figured out) were a mess; one year I ended up owing thousands of $, and one year I overpaid by thousands. (I've gone back to being a W-2 employee these past few years; I sure don't miss dealing with the quarterly 1040-ES estimated tax payments, tracking all of my expenses, or the novella-length tax returns; but there are other aspects of the job which sometimes make me seriously consider going back to contracting.)
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:12 am

just brew it! wrote:
auxy wrote:You guys keep talking about earning interest on your money you aren't paying in taxes -- what the heck kind of income do you have? I can't even imagine earning relevant interest on anything.

Well, the "you could be earning interest on it" angle is certainly less relevant than it was a few years ago. With interest rates near zero and any investments with a decent rate of return being fairly risky, even if you'd had the cash you probably wouldn't be much better off than if you'd just stuffed it in a mattress.

I see at least two lines of thinking on this subject. While a savings account might not accumulate anything over letting the government hold it, actually having access to it can be beneficial, and you might get some benefits with your bank for keeping the money with them. Also along this thinking, that money IS available for higher-return investments, although that obviously carries heavier risk.

The other line of thinking is getting that money out of your reach. If you don't feel like you have the financial discipline to save your money, having it withheld by the government would keep it well out of reach until you get a return (if you get one at all). Even still, I do think there are some alternative strategies that would be more beneficial in the long run than using the government as an actual zero-return savings account.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:28 am

Sticking it in a CD could actually be a quite useful option. Then, the interest rates are better, you get the same "can't touch the money" factor, and you could get a 12 month CD, and cash it out at tax time. (Although, that requires having enough cash on hand to put a meaningful percentage of the taxes into the CD beforehand.)
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:42 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:It's hard to call that 'getting screwed over' it just sounds like you were unaware that as a 1099 contractor she was responsible for all taxes since she was effectively a pass-through business and not an employee.
Nope. She paid estimated taxes during her time as a 1099 in the form of two really large checks to Uncle Sugar. It wasn't enough.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:29 pm

bhtooefr wrote:Sticking it in a CD could actually be a quite useful option. Then, the interest rates are better, you get the same "can't touch the money" factor, and you could get a 12 month CD, and cash it out at tax time. (Although, that requires having enough cash on hand to put a meaningful percentage of the taxes into the CD beforehand.)


Can you find a CD that yields more than 1%? That's the best I've seen anywhere, and even with an enormous $20,000 tax bill that's only $200. And that's ignoring the fact that you wouldn't have all the money at the beginning of the year but only as the year goes by -- really, if you put it in a 1% savings account, you'd average .5% on the total principal invested and you'd be looking at $100 of interest. That's kinda insignificant, no?
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:22 pm

Does it count as a tax refund purchase if you buy a new camera lens at twice the combined value of your tax refund AND the resale value of the previous lens?
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:21 am

auxy wrote:My tax refund was $3.

Three. Dollars.

I guess I should be glad I didn't OWE taxes, but it's like ... why even bother filing? (◕︿◕✿)


This is actually the best strategy. Shoot for zero or even to owe a little bit.

Always ALWAYS take note of what you paid in taxes. I could have bought two cheap cars or one nice one. I wish election day was on the first Tuesday after April 15th. :evil:
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:39 pm

Blargh.. Off again this year... ended up owing about $2500 to Uncle Sam, and $3500 to CA... :evil: I blame it on having to buy a house (and liquidating assets)... I'm sure I'll overshoot in the other direction next year... The other part that gets me is this is the overage that we owe beyond what we paid in W-2 taxes... DINK's with no house get screwed over royally by the government.. forget about the 1% getting shafted, it's definitely DINK's.. although technically I think we fall in the 5-10% range.. doesn't feel like it here in CA..
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:48 pm

druidcent wrote:Blargh.. Off again this year... ended up owing about $2500 to Uncle Sam, and $3500 to CA... :evil: I blame it on having to buy a house (and liquidating assets)... I'm sure I'll overshoot in the other direction next year... The other part that gets me is this is the overage that we owe beyond what we paid in W-2 taxes... DINK's with no house get screwed over royally by the government.. forget about the 1% getting shafted, it's definitely DINK's.. although technically I think we fall in the 5-10% range.. doesn't feel like it here in CA..

Even with one kid I'm close to breakeven even with both of us claiming single instead of married for withholding purposes (increases withholdings), and that's with itemized deductions. If I went standard I'd owe unless I had additional $$ withheld every paycheck. The withholding tables are screwed.
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Re: Tax Refund purchases

Postposted on Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:23 pm

I ended up owing precisely $1 to the dreaded state of Taxachusetts. Wrote them a check for it and everything. I hope they choke on it. Fed kicked back a bit over $2K back but took forever. Spent it already - added a few $$$ and paid off my car. Now it's all mine! My preeciousssss!!!
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