Still Percolating… and Doing Taxes

I’ve been active on Happycrow’s blog, commenting on his recent education post, which gave me more fodder for the post that I plan to write.  Also, Bush’s State of the Union address gave additional fodder (especially the renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act).  So I’m still officially percolating.

Meanwhile, after watching two cool documentaries on PBS, I’ve started to gather materials for the great Filling-Out the Tax Return Extravaganza.  Funnily enough, the only document that’s preventing me from filling out the dang thing now is my Form 1098-E “Student Loan Interest Received” from Sallie Mae.  I’ve calculated the amount myself, but there could always be a discrepancy between my calculations and Sallie Mae’s.  Not that it would matter that much.  The student loan interest deduction’s still capped at $2500.  What with my mucho-huge graduate loan, I’ve more than paid over $2500 in interest last year.

Moreover, because we live so UN-extravagantly, shunting available discretionary income to debt-reduction and helping out friends and family in monetary need, the Hubby was genuinely surprised by how much he and I were paid last year.  I wasn’t — I keep track of things like this on a normal basis.  But not the Hubby, who still tends to think he’s doing worse than he actually is.  Comes from being desperately poor as a kid. 

The upside is that our debts are going away pretty quickly and our mortgage rate is very reasonable so that there’s no point in itemizing deductions — the standard for married filing jointly is more than enough to cover the amount.  This is good, since if we’re not bothering to itemize the mortgage interest as a deduction, then there’s one more reason to pay off the mortgage.

The downside is that we may actually have to pay.  I haven’t done the preliminary calculations yet, but something tells me that we might not get a refund this year.  We’ll see…

Tax time.  ::sigh::  Part of the personal finance game.

UPDATE, 1/25/2007: Did a preliminary Schedule A.  Even with deductions itemized (including personal property taxes and home mortgage interest), the amount is still less than the standard deduction.  Good reason why –most of our discretionary income didn’t go to medical/dental expenses, charitable giving to organizations, or heavy job-related expenses.  It went to 1) paying off the principal on the mortgage and 2) helping out family and friends.

And there are no deductions for “debt-reduction” and “gifts to individuals in need who are not Katrina victims.”

And, yes — we will have to pay.  ::sigh::  I figure, if I use my Amex card, I can at least rack up Reward Points.

Heh.

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6 Responses to Still Percolating… and Doing Taxes

  1. happycrow says:

    Yup, that’s where I a getting our ridiculous figures as well…:-)

  2. Zathras says:

    When it comes to property tax records, no guessing is required:

    http://www.dallascad.org/AcctDetailRes.aspx?ID=32080500080140000

  3. happycrow says:

    Yes, it will. Property taxes here tend to float around 3k or so. Even with LQ’s property being a little bit on the lower end for the neighborhood (unless re-appraised), it shoudl almost certainly hit the 8k mark.

  4. Zathras says:

    Does the $5.4K include property taxes? That alone should get you to about $8K. The property taxes are also fully deducible, not just interest.

  5. lizardqueen says:

    All good things — I’d be kicking myself for not saving the receipts. Happily, my educator/career expenses last year were very low, and J & I often get free stuff through our colleges. 🙂

    Medical expenses were next to nil (lots of “going to the grocery store for herbal/vitamin/OTC stuff — not much in terms of going to the doctor). No “business” expenses. I didn’t go to a conference at all, although Jonathon did (the APSA).

    Since standard deduction this year is $10.3K, and our mortgage deduction this year would be $5.4K, I don’t know if the additional qualified deductions itemized would make up the $4.9K difference. I’ll have to check both options.

    All good points, Z.

  6. Zathras says:

    Don’t be too quick to shun itemizing. There is more than just mortgage interest that can be aggregated for itemized deductions. Go to any conferences this year? Buy any books for your career? The costs of any and all of these can be itemized.

    If you don’t think of using the std deduction, you must be paying less than $650/month in interest. Pretty good.

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