Monday, April 20, 2009

Death and TurboTaxes

I got a notice from the IRS today, so let's talk about my taxes.

In years gone by, I used to file by phone, which was way easy. Unfortunately, now that my money is earning interest, I no longer qualify for the 1040EZ. Anyway, I don't really have time to do all the math on the 1040A by hand, so my brother recommended TurboTax.

Let me tell you, it was great. It asked what forms I had, and had me entered my data. It did all the number crunching for me. Bing bang boom, I was done. This was March 27th.

I filed electronically. The estimated date for my refund direct deposit was April 10th. When the 10th came and went and no deposit was forthcoming, I went to the IRS's Where's My Refund page. I was then informed that my return (which I had already been told was accepted) would now be accepted on the 14th. So, even if there were an error that was caught in time, I would only have a single day to fix it.

Well, then I forgot about it. The refund deposit never did show up and I just got busy with schoolwork. And then the notice came.

Through the little window on the front of the envelope, I could read "We are writing to you because there is an error on yo[...]". Awesome. :-( I opened it up.

Why We Are Sending You This Notice
We are writing to you because there is an error on your 2008 Federal Income Tax Return. We will explain why we made the change and what you need to do.

Why We Made The Change
  • We changed the amount of the recovery rebate credit you claimed on Line 42 of your Form 1040A because the amount entered was computed incorrectly.
Wait, what? Recovery rebate credit?

I looked at my tax return, line 42 "Recovery rebate credit (see instrs)". I can't see instrs because I don't have the tax booklet or any of the actual forms. TurboTax calculated this value for me ("95" says TT).

Ahhhh.... I'm beginning to remember now.

I didn't receive a stimulus check last year, because my income for the previous year indicated that I probably wouldn't qualify (I came back to the US towards the end of 2007, so I didn't earn enough income). The stimulus check itself was just a prebate (is that a real word? I saw it on the IRS website, but I think they might just be fucking with me) against our 2008 taxes. Since I didn't get the check in 2008, I should have qualified for the money on my tax return. SOMEhow, TT didn't crunch the numbers right, or just assumed that everyone got the check last year, or something.

Anyway, the IRS was kind enough to catch it and bump up my refund by $205. Thanks, IRS.

My favorite part of their notice was the second half, where they tell me all about my options for disputing this change. It does put me in quite the quandary, as I am ethically opposed to government handouts (they're giving me money I didn't earn), but I'm also a broke college student. Hmmm....

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  1. For some reason I enjoyed filling out the tax by hand (and then file electronically) I weird?