Wednesday, January 31, 2007

tax relief

when i got laid off last spring, my hr rep told me that my severance checks would be bigger than previous paychecks, because taxes and the like would not be withheld. (at least, that was the impression i got.) sure enough, the checks were bigger, which was pretty nice at the time, though i knew that sooner or later, the taxes would need to be paid.

consequently, i've been dreading the approach of tax time because
  1. the information about self-employment tax on is fairly confusing
  2. i figured, what with the taxes from my severance pay as well as what i've since earned freelancing, i would probably owe a couple grand or more. and while i am capable of paying that, the thought of doing so didn't exactly fill me with glee. (i don't know about you, but a thousand bucks is still a lot of money to me.)
furthermore, i knew that i faced penalties if i didn't pay my self-employment tax by february 2, but i kept waiting to receive a w-2 from my old employer that never arrived.

that w-2 still hasn't turned up, but i eventually gave in and tried to fudge it using the numbers from my last paystub. and now that i have, i've discovered that of course my severance checks had taxes withheld—they just stopped withholding money for health insurance and retirement benefits. meaning that i had already paid quite a bit more tax for 2006 than i thought.

so, to my extreme relief and surprise, it turns out that i will actually get a federal refund this year! granted, it's not as big as it would've been if i still had a full-time job, but it's enough to pay the mortgage for another month while we get the house ready to sell. and considering that i expected to owe at least one or two thousand, that's quite a load off my mind.

i'd been feeling miserly all month, bracing myself for the upcoming hit to my budget. suddenly i feel rich. i want to go record shopping and get a whole bunch of new music, just scads of records and cds. i also need some laptop accessories... i could use a performance-quality usb-based sound card (suggestions?) and some sort of carrying case/bag to make it portable. (or at least to make me less nervous about lugging the thing around.)

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