Death And Taxes: Here’s A Hint, Death Is Less Messy
Today is Tax Day.
Also known as the day people who don’t usually swear start swearing.
I know the Post Office used to stay open until midnight on tax day so the procrastinators could get their taxes postmarked in time, but with the Post Office budget cuts and the prevalence of online filing I don’t know if they do that anymore.
Taxes have been an adventure for me for a number of years. Once my family did the move to IL, the simple “oh yeah just fill this out woohoo you’re done” routine no longer applied. Since I was going to school in MI and working for the university, but also working at home in the summer, I had income from two different states while only being a resident of one, and the two states were a part of the reciprocal tax agreement, it got nightmarish very quickly. If you’ve never dealt with a reciprocal tax agreement, essentially any state that participates in it recognizes that taxes will be paid only to your state of residence regardless of which state you earned the income in. So, since I was a resident of IL, my MI income tax should have gone to IL. But of course while you’re working the state you’re in taxes your paycheck, meaning that every tax season I would end up getting all of my paid taxes in MI back but turn around and owe IL money. And automatic tax softwares like TurboTax didn’t handle it too well. I routinely spent half the year arguing with the various state tax authorities clearing everything up. It was fun.
I got to have one year while I was working at Fermi where all I did was work at Fermi, and that was the most glorious year to do taxes. No weird rules, no multiple states, just straight up taxes. So of course the universe had to balance that out by making this year’s absolutely terrible. Let’s review, shall we?
I worked in IL. I worked for MIT, an MA employer, while in IL. I worked in MI. I changed my resident state. I changed my marital status. I collected unemployment. We bought a house. About the only major life change that would impact taxes that we didn’t throw in there was having a baby.
So, I had to have 3 state returns and a federal. MA is also part of the reciprocal tax agreement, so that added another layer to the fun. We used TurboTax, but it got so confused that it suddenly decided I needed to do a Maryland return too. Turns out MI also doesn’t like when you change your resident state and your legal name at the same time, so our MI return kept getting rejected. We spent a lot of time chatting with the TurboTax support team. And a lot of time working on it. I think Geoff had to redo everything 3 different times, possibly more.
In the end it all got sorted out, but resulted in us having to mail in 2 of the state returns instead of e-filing, and TurboTax actually refunded us the fee for using their service since we had so many problems and they have that satisfaction guarantee. The good news is that this should never happen again. The bad news is now that I said that out loud something really odd is going to happen. We got everything submitted about two weeks ago, which is way later in the tax season than I usually get them in, but this was a sort of ridiculous year for it.
Did you get everything in? Have any tax adventures of your own?