Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Filing My 2009 Income Taxes

Aside from watching all those movies last week (, I also managed to update my financial software (Microsoft Money) and do my income taxes using the free online tax preparation software from TaxACT ( I’ve prepared my own taxes in the past several years using software purchased from stores, except for last year when I downloaded the free TaxACT software. This year, I decided to try to use their online software. They offer free Federal E-file like most do plus a small amount for State filing. To my friends in the Philippines - we pay Federal taxes to the U.S. government plus State taxes to California. Filling out the forms were not too much of a problem since I had most of my income and expenses for 2009 in a Manila envelope already. I got that idea from a finance columnist in a newspaper years ago. At the start of the year, prepare an envelope and keep all your income and expenses in it so at the end of the year you don’t have to look high and low for them when you are ready to file your income taxes. Aside from the time it took to type in the data into the software and reading the instructions carefully, it was a pretty easy process. Despite a huge budget deficit, the government still managed to add some credits to reduce our payments. One had something to do with still being employed, and the other was about still owning your home without going into foreclosure (that’s how I interpreted them anyway). After a few days of waiting to make sure there weren't any more end of the year bank statements forthcoming, I filed both Federal and State taxes on February 11th and within a couple of hours got confirmation by email that both were accepted by the government. I will now be awaiting a little refund. How little? Well, I can’t tell you how much I’m going to get back from the Federal taxes, but I’m getting $4.00 back from California! Woohoo! I’m rich!
Speaking of year end statements, I got a 5 cent check from Vanguard Investments after I transferred funds from a regular account to a Roth IRA. It cost them 44 cents postage to mail a 5 cent check. Unbelievable!
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