March 25, 2011

Death and Taxes

I filed our taxes yesterday and in doing so was reminded about that old saying how nothing is certain except death and taxes. I was torn as to how I wanted to file our taxes; I could take them on post and get them done for free, but part of me was nervous about that as I know how Soldiers get detailed out to support the tax center - so it's not really a professional (don't get me wrong, I'm sure they get lots of training and probably are very competent, especially by this point), but regardless, I was still leery about it. I could attempt to do them on my own as Miles does every year, but that intimidated me. Or I could just pay and take them to HR Block. Well I decided that I shouldn't let taxes intimidate me and could at least see if it was something I could manage.

So I log on to HR Block and start answering the questions like our names, socials, etc. Then I was asked to check the block for all that apply regarding our status from 2010. This is what it looked like:

Ugh. Slap in the face. Yes, I had a baby, but I can't claim him as a dependent for tax purposes. And yes, there was a death in the family, but how do I answer that without a Social Security Number? Without first explaining that the death occured before life outside the womb? Without explaining all of these complicated things. . . to my computer.

So I don't check either of those boxes and figured I would just end up taking our taxes in to get help filing them, but wanted to go through all the questions first to make sure I had all the right documents. I finish the federal portion and move on to the state taxes portion. Being military, we don't pay state taxes for either of the states we are residents of, but if we claim residency on the tax form, we'd owe money. Confusing. And then one of the very first questions asked in the Arizona Tax portion was if any of the following apply: "had a stillbirth in 2010."  It really caught me off guard. The next question was "Do you have the certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth issued from the state of Arizona?" well, this doesn't apply since Cale wasn't born in AZ, but AZ is my home of record. More confusion. Time to get help.

So I ended up taking our taxes to HR Block. The questions about stillbirth didn't come up as Miles and I were listed as non-residents of our states since the military is not taxed. And even though we are living in GA, where Cale was born, we aren't residents so don't file GA taxes. And the questions about babies (and death) didn't come up as I answered no to having any dependents at home.

It sucks. Taxes alone suck. But just having a reminder of what should have been, how we should be answering those questions, makes an already sucky situation, even suckier.

But I will make the best of the situation as we've continued to try to do for the last almost nine months. I think I'll do that by buying myself a present when our refund comes in. I think that's fair :)


  1. Ben and I use H&R Block too. This year we are adding SS and they have sent me no paperwork for it! Uhhggg! I don't like how every state is sooo different! Im glad it went ok for you...I have mine coming up! Booo!

  2. I love the idea of buying yourself a present - do tell me what it is when you pick it out. I don't know why taxes are so crazy. I almost have two business degrees and I still don't want to touch my taxes with a ten-foot pole. I'm sorry that they were especially not fun for you this year. Thinking of you!

  3. It is so hard to answer these well intentioned questions about our children. So much explaining to do to someone who probably really doesn't know what they are in for when asking. I am glad that you didn't have to go there with the tax guy but, like you said, it is still a brutal reminder.

    Even though we have a birth certificate for Harper, we are not claiming her on our taxes. We didn't file for her to have a SSN anyway, it seemed pointless. Too many painful things to explain.

    I agree, you definitely deserve a present when the cash comes in! Let me know when it does, I will be happy to "help" you shop :)

  4. Taxes...just bleh. Thankfully one of my best friends is a CPA, so she handles our taxes for us. I don't really do math so well, and find taxes overwhelming and intimidating because there are so many rules. I'm actually terrified to be audited.

    Well, my husband and I should have changed our deductions, but we didn't because Caroline was on her way, and we're tax ignorant. Not that I wanted a child for tax purposes, at all. But, when we had to pay in this year, fairly substantially, it was like a kick in the teeth.

    Who knew taxes could be so emotional!?

  5. Well said! As always, so beautifully written!