It's not about the house.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Render Unto Caesar

I did it! I filed my taxes! And I have to say: this homeownership thing, combined with the whole matrimony thing (which is also fairly new to us)? Not such a terrible idea after all. Especially when you toss in a ridiculously low income to boot.

See, although Johnny and I bought the house – and pay the bills on it and everything – together, the mortgage and the deed and all are only in my name. And, as it turns out, I actually earn less than we pay in interest every year (yeah, I sorta lied a little on the mortgage application – so? Maybe you’ve heard lately: I’m not the only one.). Anyway, so for the past few years I’ve been claiming zero net income, leaving extra mortgage interest just dangling around there un-deducted, and hoping the IRS won’t get around to wondering how I’ve been managing to feed myself. La la…

But then last year we up and married, which means we get to file jointly, which means we get to claim the full amount of interest that we pay, plus property taxes! Woohoo, property taxes!

The thing that has me really giddy, though, is that while I was totting up the numbers to see whether we ought to file jointly after all, and whether we should itemize or take standard deductions – while I was looking at what all these options meant to the what-we-owed-the-government bottom line – I did it wrong.

I’d already made my decisions on all of the above, already done the math and resigned myself, already said goodbye to our not-halfway-there-yet furnace fund, even got the dollars from their secret place and filled out a deposit slip to put them in the bank to cover the checks I’d have to write, when I got to line 42: “Multiply $3,300,” it said, “by the total number of exemptions claimed on line 6D” – which is two, because I have a husband.

And then, the kicker: “subtract this number from your total income.”

I forgot about exemptions! You know, those couple thousand dollars you get to shave off the top just because you’re you? (At least, I think that’s what it’s for. Makes as much sense as rest of it, I figure.) Ooh, I could hug myself just thinking about it. It was like getting an instant rebate on the spot – and I haven’t had anything resembling one of those in donkey’s years. I felt so virtuous for having finally done the taxes in the first place, and now I was rich on top of it – and fortunate to boot!

I was at such sixes and sevens trying to get it all finalized and in the envelope that I didn’t even answer the door when some crazy person came a-pounding. And a-pounding, and a-pounding. I knew who it was going to be, anyway: the oil guy. I’d just heard him making a delivery and I know the company has messed up my account. They claim I haven’t paid them in a month but I know they’ve cashed my checks. It’s a whole big pain in the hoo – which is yet another reason why I WANT TO SWITCH TO KEYSPAN if they would just RETURN MY CALLS – but this morning I was feeling too virtuous and rich and fortunate to spoil my happy mood on them. So I just let them knock until their arms fell off, and they picked them up and tucked them under their – well, chins, I guess – and got back in their truck and drove away.

Except for, when I’d dotted my last dot and crossed my last cross and went out the door to mail my envelopes, I discovered it hadn't been the oil man at all. It was Jehovah’s Witnesses – a whole posse of them, judging from the noise they made. They’d left a pamphlet for me, so I could read about THE GREATEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED.

I know who they’re talking about, and I don’t want to bring the wrath of the Believers raining down upon my house (or, actually, let me think about that for a minute… no. No, I don’t), so let me just say I’ve got a nomination for greatest-man first-runner-up. And I’d like to ask him a question:

How did you come up with the idea of exemptions, anyway?


Georgetown House said...

Well, I doubt if my solution to the unwelcome religious solicitations would work for you, at least they wouldn't if your dh was around. But when the first and only set to knock on my door here arrived, I simply smiled very sweetly and told them "Thanks but I'm a lesbian and a Jew so I'm not interested, but have a great day!" then closed the door. I thught for a while that perhaps they might up their efforts since I'm sure that they would earn double-bonus brownie points if they were able to pull me into the fold, but they haven't been back. ::grin::

EGE said...

Okay but sweetheart? You need to move to Massachusetts, so you can get married and claim all these beauty benefits!

Georgetown House said...

LOL well, if someone could provide my honey and I with jobs just like the ones we have now (since we both love our jobs and the jobs we have aren't easy to find), in an area where we can actually afford to buy a house close to where we work, then we'd consider it. But the cost of living there is just too much for us to consider. Plus the chances of getting us to move away from our grandkids right now are... well, none.

Oh well, no MA for and no marriage (or even marriage equivalent for those who are certain that our calling ourselve "married" would destroy at least a dozen "real" marriages a day!).

(thanks for being supportive, btw!! that means a LOT - nothing will change until enough individuals are willing to speak up and say "ok, what's the big deal here?!?)

mummy dearest said...

I'm still singing LA LA LA and hoping that this is mostly a humor piece! Lied for your mortgage, filed tases incorrectly... LA LA LA yikes