Thursday Thirteen Freewrite
Job for George and Taxes
George got an email last Friday the 29th saying that he was selected for the job he interviewed for on March 18. He was going to get a formal offer on Monday. When it did not come he called, and the PR person said that upper management wanted them to interview one more person. Say what? It did not help that I was RIGHT in the middle of doing the Oregon College Savings Plan (529) portion of our taxes (the last thing I needed to do), and I realized, after considerable digging in the "fine print" of the Oregon College Plan site and the IRS tax code, that our withdrawals from it for Michael's "vocational school" were not eligible! FINE PRINT. Also, that was put into effect in 2002, after we had opened the savings plan for Michael. The reason it is not eligible is because the school does not receive federal financial aid!
Who is John Galt?
What business does the federal government have telling me what school my kid can go to and what I can do with the money I invested BEFORE you enacted the rule?
So, to hear of the job news AND realizing that we were going to have a 10% penalty federally PLUS have to pay state taxes at 9% for the principal we invested was a DOUBLE BLOW!
I got off the phone with George and just cried. (On top of that Paul called at the exact time to say that he missed his bus from LBCC and could I pick him up? Minor, but I told him no and told him later why).
It took eight hours of searching HOW to report the mistake on our tax form, WITH NO HELP FROM TURBO TAX, by the way, they would have led me down the path to believe that we were hunky dory in everything. There was no information about "qualified disbursements" and possible reasons why the vocational school did not send a 1099-T like LBCC did (a legit school, GRRR). I just had a "feeling" and did not trust Turbo Tax and will not trust them again. They have lost my business forever. I am not impressed with Turbo Tax anymore. When your taxes get as complicated as ours, you need to go to a tax accountant. Next year I will shell out the money for it.
What is funny is, once I plugged in all the numbers, our Educational Opportunity Credit made our refund go up MORE after I took out the 529 Plan money and the expenses for that "illigit" school!
529 Plans are not all they are cracked up to be. We thought we were being so responsible by putting money away every year for it. I read a website by a financial planner who said they are not worth unless the grandparents want to pour money into it. Instead, grandpa poured it into a bond that performed amazingly! So, I think there was a better way to go. Keep the federal government out of our college/post-secondary education (with "illigit" trade schools) funds! (It hurts you for the Educational Opportunity Credit too, but that wasn't in effect when we started the fund.)
We decided to roll over what is left to Paul's account and just clean out that 529 fund altogether. What a pain. It is really sad how poorly it has done, how many hidden expenses there are in the program, and how they changed the rules and you are stuck.
I finished at 11:22 pm on Monday. Hallelujah, the fog cleared immediately. About the same time, Michael announced he got a great grade on his first project from the nasty "illigit" school (Who is John Galt?) and that his instructor (who was new to Animation Mentors) admitted that he graded all his students too hard last term. :) On top of that, my sweet Paul said, "Thank you so much for doing those taxes."
Note: The bell rang, but I have to go on (making this a "Freewrite 15").
Even though I could not fall asleep until 2 am, I enjoyed reading my book free from the burden of taxes.
"Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
Woke up early for study only to realize we had moved it to 12:30 pm. So, I could go and have a great workout and then great Bible Study with Rachel in Romans 8.
Fast forward to Wednesday and George was offered the job. The stress of trying to piece together a job here is over. I am relieved.