March 11th, 2016

Angry scribble cat

Things I don't recommend doing on a Friday afternoon...

Know what's worse than doing your taxes once? Doing them twice.
Know what's worse than doing your taxes twice? Doing them three times.
Know what's worse than doing your taxes three times? Doing them four times.
Know what's worse than doing your taxes four times? Doing them five times.
Know what's worse than doing your taxes five times? Doing them six times.

That's right. I did my taxes SIX times today. Part of it was TurboTax's fault, part of it was TurboTax's fault (again), part of it was mine(?), and who knows about the rest.

First time I did it, it looked perfect. I didn't have the issue I had last year: Somehow, though I LOST money on a retirement account, I had to pay $1,000 more in taxes -- I did my taxes without the retirement account form, did it with it, and the difference was $1,000 more I had to pay. However, I got all the way to the end before I noticed TurboTax now starts you in Premium (paid) even when you select free (you have to jump through a couple hoops to stay in free mode). The only way to downgrade to free was to clear your taxes and start over... So I did that.

And then last year's problem returned: That retirement account, which LOST money again this year, increased my taxes by nearly $1,000.

Thinking it was the free version of TurboTax that made the differences, I sighed and went to do it again. $60 to pay for TurboTax premium is still better than $1,000 higher taxes... But that didn't change anything, I still owed $1,000 more with that one form, even though I entered everything exactly the same.

So why stay on Premium if it wouldn't help? I cleared my data and started over again in free...

Then I started questioning myself -- why, when I entered the exact same data couldn't I reproduce the original results? So I switched back to Premium and carefully (so carefully) went through it all again. Yet I still owed the $1,000 more.

So... back to free once more for the final time.

During my first time doing it, when it was doing the final check before you can submit, it told me I had to check this box. Box 6, a:

And somehow checking that box made almost $1,000 difference. Notice the number listed ($5.35), somehow deducting that on Schedule A could make $1,000 difference? So I think maybe that first time I did it, I ran into some kind of a bug... So I'm trying not to kick myself for not just submitting it that first time, since maybe the IRS would have noticed the difference and that would have lead to trouble. Still, maybe it wouldn't have...

(It doesn't let you edit the forms directly unless it wants you to, so there's no way for me to just go back and check the box now.)

I'm so annoyed at that darned retirement account. It's done nothing but lose money -- I would have more money now by a lot if I had just left it sitting in a saving account. Hell, I'd have more money now if I kept it under my mattress. My mother pushed me hard to invest it, so finally I just gave in. While I know she was only trying to help me, that damned retirement account has been nothing but trouble since then, and if I take my money out now, I'll just lose even more...

Grump, grump, grrrr.