Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Newlywed Life: Filing Taxes

Many would say that Mr. Robinson and I married young.  I was 22, he was 23.  In many ways, we were both adults.  In many other ways, we were still "kids."  We never really experienced complete independence from our parents until we got hitched.  For example, neither of us have ever filed our own taxes.  Ever.  Both of us were in college and our parents had always taken care of things.   

Now, here we are...all grown up...married & clueless.

Okay, okay...we aren't completely grown up...but we are still married & clueless.  :)

  I was mildly terrified of filing taxes this year.  You see, I waited tables for the majority of 2011 and I'll be the first to tell you that I did not even come close to claiming all of the tips I made.  The less money I "claimed" in tips, the more money I got to keep.  Money I worked my butt off for, I might add.  (My behavior wasn't honest, it wasn't Christian-like, and if I was still waiting tables I would conduct myself entirely different.)  With a slightly guilty conscience, I was obviously a little bit nervous about a possible audit in our future.

Another scary thing....There are so many choices when it comes to filing taxes.  It's a little ridiculous how many choices there are, if you ask me.  I thought I'd share with y'all how The Robinson's went about filing taxes and why.  

  1. We filed together because based on our financial situation, it would save us money.  Do the research and determine what will be most beneficial to you and your spouse - filing together or filing separately.  I was also very inclined for us to file together because I felt like it was the Biblically correct thing to do.  Call me crazy, but I feel like when God said a married couple is one, He meant in all areas.  Not only in certain areas or in all areas except.... you know what I'm saying?  Also, when Mary was pregnant with Jesus, her and Joseph went to be taxed.  They went together.  Mr. Robinson didn't so much agree with my Biblical reasoning, and that's okay.  We did the research and determined that we needed to file together.  Advice:  Do the research.  There are so many options out there, figure out what option works best for you.  We all want to get money back!  So Google it, ask an accountant for free advice, talk to parents and/or grandparents... 
  2. We decided to have a professional tax accountant do our taxes for us instead of doing them on our own.  Like I said, we have no experience with this whole "filing taxes" thing.  We are still wet behind the ears.  I'm lucky enough to work for the family business and we already had a trusted accountant.  His private company handled our taxes this year.
  3. We turned in everything.  Just to be sure.  Our W2's (we each had two), the tithes and offerings report from church, receipts from the Goodwill donations we made (even the separate donations we made before we were married), etc.  We turned in everything.  
Filing taxes can be stressful.  We certainly argued about the best thing to do and the best way to do it.  What we learned (and we are not experts by ANY means) is to do your research!  What works for your parents might not work for you.  Ask around, do internet searches, and be prepared to stay confused.  I'd (personally) recommend hiring a professional to save yourself a headache AND professionals can check both options (filing jointly or separately) and tell you which way will save money!

We just found out yesterday that we got $2,000 back!  Whoop, Whoop!! 

I hope this helps!  How'd you survive tax season?         

Don't forget to sign up for the blogger meet - up planned for October.  Click Here for details!  We'd LOVE to have you!  


Val said...

We are HUGE slackers this year with our taxes...I always used to do mine myself with a simple form in January, but now here we are, at the end of March, and they're still not done. It just stresses me out because they're so much more complicated now that we just got married, bought a house last year, etc. Luckily I have an appointment at H & R Block this Saturday..

Erin said...

I've done my own for the past few years, so it wasn't TOO bad for us making the switch to file jointly this year. Just took a little more time and I was extra cautious because we have more info to file! We were happy to file jointly and got a good chunk of money back which was great :)

Meg @ Mr.C and Me said...

ours was crazy stressful (due to full-time students last year, parents claiming us as dependents - but we're married now-, moving, having W2s from multiple states, partial residency, etc etc). after 3 weeks we finaaally got it worked out and ended up married filing separately. we also went to a professional since mr.c had never done his taxes before (his parents did his) and because they were way to complicated. next year we will file MFJ and hopefully get some more $$ back :)

Amber in South Carolina said...

we went with a professional too because we each had two jobs in two different states, got married and bought a car. definitely too complicated for us :) and it's always nice to see a big return! :)

TIffany Gabriel said...

I have a love / hate relationship when it comes to tax time. Mainly because there is so much more involved with me being a military spouse but its good to bc I get everything back at the end of the year that was paid in. So with this being said we take them and have them done, its easier this way and insures me that its done right and on time.

Alison Sokol said...

We got about that much, too! Woohoo!! It feels so good! Taxes are so annoying, but for right now it was pretty easy for us. Just W-2s and student loans. I'll get more nervous when we buy a house and start investments. Eek!

Kathy Gregory said...

Honestly, it’d be a lot better if you file your taxes separately. The biggest reason is the forfeiture of a number of major tax credits and deductions that are available to those who file jointly. If you are still unsure of which status to file under, it may be necessary to have your tax return computed both ways in order to determine which will give the biggest refund or lower tax bill.

Kathy Gregory