Rendering unto Caesar, part XIV

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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sasha
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Rendering unto Caesar, part XIV

Post by sasha » August 14th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Prior to 2016, my mom had always had her taxes done by an accounting firm in Manchester NH. She'd pack any important-looking mailings into a shoebox and hand-carry the thing to their office. But as her dementia grew more debilitating, we had to take away her car, and a representative of their firm agreed to make the drive to Keene to pick up the paperwork for her 2016 return. When they delivered it, I nearly went through the roof. Her income had consisted entirely of Social Security and a half-dozen or so 1099s. She had no deductibles to justify itemizing, yet they had charged her $500 to fill out and file a straightforward 1040. I decided I could the job myself for $50 - the cost of a copy of TurboTax.

We both owed the IRS a fair amount of money in 2017 for the 2016 tax year - the brokerage with whom we both had our investment accounts had entirely rebuilt our portfolios to better capitalize on the economic conditions, so a lot of buying and selling had gone on. Based on this, the accountants who did her taxes gave me a handful of vouchers and advised using them to pay $800 each quarter on her behalf. So I did.

That same year (2017), we moved her from New Hampshire to a small assisted-living facility in Massachusetts. New Hampshire has no general income tax, but Massachusetts does. I balked at the notion of trying to figure out how to compute the taxes for someone who'd lived part of the year in NH and part in MA, so in early 2018 dumped the whole thing in H&R Block's lap. The guy who eventually filed for her admitted it was the most difficult filing he'd done that season.

In early 2018, she received a bill from the MA Dept of Revenue - a $70 penalty for paying her taxes all at once, rather than piecemeal over the course of the fiscal year. So in anticipation of the 2019 tax season (for 2018 income), and using the 2016 & 2017 figures as a guide, I sent $3500 to Washington and another $3500 to Boston later in the year.

Enter 2019. Early this year, she received a letter from the IRS - she (meaning I) had grossly overpaid her 2017 taxes (the ones I'd prepaid quarterly, the ones filed by H&R Block), and had gotten a refund of some $3200. That's the good news. The bad news was she'd (once again) lost two of her 1099s - one from an annuity, one from Social Security. I called the annuity and had them send her another, and requested the other through the SSA website.

The annuity 1099-R arrived several days later, but by April 10, the 1099-SSA was still nowhere in sight. So I filed for an extension (or rather had a local mom-and-pop tax service do it for me, since I had no idea how to file for one in MA), and after a contentious visit with the Social Security office in Keene NH, secured a copy of the 1099-SSA.

I blasted through my own taxes in a morning, but I had until October to file hers, and was in no mood to tackle the task. I had It had just gotten way too complicated, so I put it off, and put it off... and it ate at me, worried me, frightened me even - am I even up to this? How do I report the payments I'd made? I'd gotten no acknowledgement from either government, no receipts of any kind - all I had were photocopies of the canceled checks. It was like a thundercloud on the horizon - until this week. I gritted my teeth while TurboTax walked me through the process. And lo and behold - she's getting back 3300 of the 3500 I'd paid to the IRS, and 1700 of the 3500 I'd sent to Boston! And now this great weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and the sun shines again through the dissipating thunderhead, and the birds are singing, and Bambi and Thumper are gamboling in my front yard!

All this so that Trump and his minions can "get a whole lot richer". I hope they're very happy with their new-found wealth. I'm happy just to have that goddamned task behind me.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: Rendering unto Caesar, part XIV

Post by goldenmyst » August 15th, 2019, 1:43 am

You write your mother’s tax problems with the drama of an epic tale my friend. And like a Homeric story Odysseus, in this case you, rises back into the light at the end. Truly and engaging tale gripping and with a grand resolution at the end. Your story had me empathizing with you the protagonist which is the true writer’s talent. John

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sasha
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Re: Rendering unto Caesar, part XIV

Post by sasha » August 15th, 2019, 10:37 am

Thanks for the comments. Death and taxes, eh? I'm really hoping April 15, 2020 will be a lot smoother now that my status as her proxy is recognized by the SSA. It was the 2nd time she'd lost her 1099 from the IRS. The 1st time she'd hidden it in a "safe" place - her underwear drawer. She found it much later, after I'd replaced it.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: Rendering unto Caesar, part XIV

Post by goldenmyst » August 16th, 2019, 7:51 am

That is priceless. You took it and voila it appeared for her when you replaced it. A successful covert operation. :)

John

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