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OT taxes questions - any experts?



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 13th 04, 11:01 PM
Dr. Quilter
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Posts: n/a
Default OT taxes questions - any experts?

Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.

I noticed that a lot less was taken from our paychecks than in 2002,
especially for DH. Any hint as to why? We both changed our status to
married in Jan of 2003 (we couldn't claim married until we were
'residents for tax purposes' and able to use the regular 1040 instead of
the 1040NR which has nothing to do with being legal residents but with
being in the US longer than 5 years, it has been more than that, but we
hadn't done it - I think I had, but it never crossed DH's mind he might
change his status, he just does not think about those mundane facts),
and we only have one allowance each. Do you guys know if changing from
single - married implies less is taken every month?

Or do you think it might be related to the new tax laws? I did notice
the amount I took home went up at some point, while the total salary had
not increased at that time.. I was happy since I was taking more home,
and did not question why at the time (I guess in the long run it is
better to owe since you've had the money all along, right? But getting a
check back sure is nice!).

Here I was, naively thinking that since taxes had gone down with Bush
(or so the ads keep repeating, although I know most benefits are for the
very rich) and there was no marriage penalty anymore we'd get a nice
check back!

Do you think I should see someone so they can take a look at my numbers?
Like an HR Block person? They say the can definitely save you some
money, right? The thing is, our taxes are so simple I am not sure they
can help us so paying a fee might not be worth it.. unless there is
something I am completely missing and it might make a huge difference -
remember Sofia was born this year so I cannot claim her!



--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)

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  #2  
Old March 13th 04, 11:19 PM
Mary in Oregon
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I would go to the payroll dept and ask them to go over withholdings with
you.

--
Mary
http://community.webshots.com/user/mardor1948
"Dr. Quilter" wrote in message
...
Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.

I noticed that a lot less was taken from our paychecks than in 2002,
especially for DH. Any hint as to why? We both changed our status to
married in Jan of 2003 (we couldn't claim married until we were
'residents for tax purposes' and able to use the regular 1040 instead of
the 1040NR which has nothing to do with being legal residents but with
being in the US longer than 5 years, it has been more than that, but we
hadn't done it - I think I had, but it never crossed DH's mind he might
change his status, he just does not think about those mundane facts),
and we only have one allowance each. Do you guys know if changing from
single - married implies less is taken every month?

Or do you think it might be related to the new tax laws? I did notice
the amount I took home went up at some point, while the total salary had
not increased at that time.. I was happy since I was taking more home,
and did not question why at the time (I guess in the long run it is
better to owe since you've had the money all along, right? But getting a
check back sure is nice!).

Here I was, naively thinking that since taxes had gone down with Bush
(or so the ads keep repeating, although I know most benefits are for the
very rich) and there was no marriage penalty anymore we'd get a nice
check back!

Do you think I should see someone so they can take a look at my numbers?
Like an HR Block person? They say the can definitely save you some
money, right? The thing is, our taxes are so simple I am not sure they
can help us so paying a fee might not be worth it.. unless there is
something I am completely missing and it might make a huge difference -
remember Sofia was born this year so I cannot claim her!



--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)



  #3  
Old March 13th 04, 11:28 PM
Deb in AR
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I know from experience that claiming "married" on your W2 does mean less
taxes taken out than claiming "single". I don't know why, but that's how it
works. Does that make sense? As far as I know, you don't have to claim
"married" even though you are. DH always claims single even though we're
married & since we have 2 kids we tend to get a chunk back. I knew there
was a good reason we had kids! hahaha

It might not hurt to go to a tax preparer, but I would suggest shopping
around first. Who knows, you might be able to find one who would look at it
cheaper than HR Block? We've used Jackson Hewitt in the past few years, but
after paying $200-something this year I've decided we're getting TurboTax
next year at Wal Mart.

HTH
--
Deb in AR
A desert-rat at heart!


"Dr. Quilter" wrote in message
...
Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.

I noticed that a lot less was taken from our paychecks than in 2002,
especially for DH. Any hint as to why? We both changed our status to
married in Jan of 2003 (we couldn't claim married until we were
'residents for tax purposes' and able to use the regular 1040 instead of
the 1040NR which has nothing to do with being legal residents but with
being in the US longer than 5 years, it has been more than that, but we
hadn't done it - I think I had, but it never crossed DH's mind he might
change his status, he just does not think about those mundane facts),
and we only have one allowance each. Do you guys know if changing from
single - married implies less is taken every month?

Or do you think it might be related to the new tax laws? I did notice
the amount I took home went up at some point, while the total salary had
not increased at that time.. I was happy since I was taking more home,
and did not question why at the time (I guess in the long run it is
better to owe since you've had the money all along, right? But getting a
check back sure is nice!).

Here I was, naively thinking that since taxes had gone down with Bush
(or so the ads keep repeating, although I know most benefits are for the
very rich) and there was no marriage penalty anymore we'd get a nice
check back!

Do you think I should see someone so they can take a look at my numbers?
Like an HR Block person? They say the can definitely save you some
money, right? The thing is, our taxes are so simple I am not sure they
can help us so paying a fee might not be worth it.. unless there is
something I am completely missing and it might make a huge difference -
remember Sofia was born this year so I cannot claim her!



--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)



  #4  
Old March 13th 04, 11:30 PM
Taria
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I don't know a lot about why with holding amounts might change.
The number to compare is how much taxes you pay in total
rather than the amount that you get back or pay by April 15.
You can tweak your withholding so you are paying enough not to
get a bill. Getting a big refund means you had too much withheld
and having to pay means you didn't have enough with held.
We actually paid a little less taxes this year compared to
last with the new tax cuts.
What 'rich' or 'very rich' means is different depending on
which politician is talking.
Taria

Dr. Quilter wrote:
Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.

I noticed that a lot less was taken from our paychecks than in 2002,
especially for DH. Any hint as to why? We both changed our status to
married in Jan of 2003 (we couldn't claim married until we were
'residents for tax purposes' and able to use the regular 1040 instead of
the 1040NR which has nothing to do with being legal residents but with
being in the US longer than 5 years, it has been more than that, but we
hadn't done it - I think I had, but it never crossed DH's mind he might
change his status, he just does not think about those mundane facts),
and we only have one allowance each. Do you guys know if changing from
single - married implies less is taken every month?

Or do you think it might be related to the new tax laws? I did notice
the amount I took home went up at some point, while the total salary had
not increased at that time.. I was happy since I was taking more home,
and did not question why at the time (I guess in the long run it is
better to owe since you've had the money all along, right? But getting a
check back sure is nice!).

Here I was, naively thinking that since taxes had gone down with Bush
(or so the ads keep repeating, although I know most benefits are for the
very rich) and there was no marriage penalty anymore we'd get a nice
check back!

Do you think I should see someone so they can take a look at my numbers?
Like an HR Block person? They say the can definitely save you some
money, right? The thing is, our taxes are so simple I am not sure they
can help us so paying a fee might not be worth it.. unless there is
something I am completely missing and it might make a huge difference -
remember Sofia was born this year so I cannot claim her!




  #5  
Old March 13th 04, 11:39 PM
Sandy Foster
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In article ,
"Dr. Quilter" wrote:

Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.


snip

I'd suggest getting some advice from an expert -- the H&R Block people
tend to be pretty knowledgeable. We used them for years, though this
year we switched to TurboTax and like that very much.
--
Sandy in Henderson, near Las Vegas
my ISP is earthlink.net -- put sfoster1(at) in front
http://home.earthlink.net/~sfoster1
  #6  
Old March 13th 04, 11:44 PM
Betty in Wi
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Married people get a break tax wise. You pay less taxes than if you both
filed separately. That is why less taxes were taken out. My husband and I
have found that we need to claim 0 deductions each----we don't itemize
deductions either (no house interest to deduct). The payroll department
where you work should be able to help you calculate how many exemptions to
claim. If your tax situation is simple---do your taxes yourself. No need to
pay someone to do what you can do yourself. Did you know you can go to
Turbotax.com and file your taxes online. There are other providers as
well---H & R Block for instance. If you have internet, you don't have to go
out and purchase tax software---which changes each year. There is a nominal
fee for using internet tax software.

Betty in WI


"Dr. Quilter" wrote in message
...
Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big chunk
(at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple hundred bucks
back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest from savings
accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc salaries. This
is the second time we filed jointly.




  #7  
Old March 13th 04, 11:49 PM
Dr. Quilter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

200 bucks, really??? I thought you had to claim married if you were and
the only reason we weren't was the non resident issue...

Deb in AR wrote:

I know from experience that claiming "married" on your W2 does mean less
taxes taken out than claiming "single". I don't know why, but that's how it
works. Does that make sense? As far as I know, you don't have to claim
"married" even though you are. DH always claims single even though we're
married & since we have 2 kids we tend to get a chunk back. I knew there
was a good reason we had kids! hahaha

It might not hurt to go to a tax preparer, but I would suggest shopping
around first. Who knows, you might be able to find one who would look at it
cheaper than HR Block? We've used Jackson Hewitt in the past few years, but
after paying $200-something this year I've decided we're getting TurboTax
next year at Wal Mart.

HTH


--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)

  #8  
Old March 13th 04, 11:51 PM
Dr. Quilter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

well, I know I am neither rich or very rich.. )
I wanted a couple hundred dollars refund.. that is what I am used to! so
you didn't get way too much withheld but you don't have to send a check
either! ) guess I did need some tweaking. of course next year it will
be very different with Sofia here, rigth? and to think we were
considering buying the house we live in, remember? that would have made
everything a lot more complicated!

Taria wrote:

I don't know a lot about why with holding amounts might change.
The number to compare is how much taxes you pay in total
rather than the amount that you get back or pay by April 15.
You can tweak your withholding so you are paying enough not to
get a bill. Getting a big refund means you had too much withheld
and having to pay means you didn't have enough with held.
We actually paid a little less taxes this year compared to
last with the new tax cuts.
What 'rich' or 'very rich' means is different depending on
which politician is talking.
Taria

Dr. Quilter wrote:

Obviously I know nothing about taxes. Just got a shock when I did the
calculations for 2003 and noticed for the first time we owe a big
chunk (at least for us, since in the past we always got a couple
hundred bucks back). Remember we rent, we don't get too much interest
from savings accounts, and we have no other income besides 2 postdoc
salaries. This is the second time we filed jointly.

I noticed that a lot less was taken from our paychecks than in 2002,
especially for DH. Any hint as to why? We both changed our status to
married in Jan of 2003 (we couldn't claim married until we were
'residents for tax purposes' and able to use the regular 1040 instead
of the 1040NR which has nothing to do with being legal residents but
with being in the US longer than 5 years, it has been more than that,
but we hadn't done it - I think I had, but it never crossed DH's mind
he might change his status, he just does not think about those mundane
facts), and we only have one allowance each. Do you guys know if
changing from single - married implies less is taken every month?

Or do you think it might be related to the new tax laws? I did notice
the amount I took home went up at some point, while the total salary
had not increased at that time.. I was happy since I was taking more
home, and did not question why at the time (I guess in the long run it
is better to owe since you've had the money all along, right? But
getting a check back sure is nice!).

Here I was, naively thinking that since taxes had gone down with Bush
(or so the ads keep repeating, although I know most benefits are for
the very rich) and there was no marriage penalty anymore we'd get a
nice check back!

Do you think I should see someone so they can take a look at my
numbers? Like an HR Block person? They say the can definitely save you
some money, right? The thing is, our taxes are so simple I am not sure
they can help us so paying a fee might not be worth it.. unless there
is something I am completely missing and it might make a huge
difference - remember Sofia was born this year so I cannot claim her!





--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)

  #9  
Old March 14th 04, 12:10 AM
Mary in Oregon
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Posts: n/a
Default

My DH former employer always assisted us.

--
Mary
http://community.webshots.com/user/mardor1948
"Dr. Quilter" wrote in message
...
I did, they tell me I should do what I want. I think maybe they are not
allowed to give tax advice?

Mary in Oregon wrote:
I would go to the payroll dept and ask them to go over withholdings with
you.


--
Dr. Quilter
Ambassador of Extraordinary Aliens
http://community.webshots.com/user/mvignali
(take the dog out before replying)



  #10  
Old March 14th 04, 12:34 AM
I.E.Z.
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Posts: n/a
Default


"Dr. Quilter" wrote in message
...
200 bucks, really??? I thought you had to claim married if you were and
the only reason we weren't was the non resident issue...



I would say undoubtedly your payroll deductions went down because of the
change to "married" as well as the tax reduction. Both DH and I claim
"single" and we also have extra money taken out. Still, this is the first
year we got a refund in a long time.

Iris


 




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