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 :)