2011 Tax Round-Up

We’re overdue for a Tax Post.

UPDATED – DARWIN CORRECTS MY CALCULATION:  After reducing the tax-table amount by our tax credits ( Child Tax Credit in our case) the amount we actually owed was only 5%.  Much better.  Matches last year’s number, something of a relief after seeing that big jump in the first try.  Thanks Darwin!

To calculate, take line 55, which is your tax less regular tax credits, divided by line 22, gross income.  At least, that’s the way I do it when Darwin reminds me that’s the way I do it.  Also when I remember that thanks to those PDF’s mentioned below, I don’t have to dig through files to check line number, I can just pull up the PDF in about ten seconds.  Yay.

1.  Our real federal tax rate was 8.5%.  That’s taking our tax from the tax table  cacluation as a portion of gross income. (Line 22 or thereabouts? I already put my forms away.  It was line 22 last year.)  I think it’s a useful calculation, since talk about taxes tends to revolve around theoretical tax rates, when the actual amount you pay may be something quite different.

[FYI for those of you haven’t done the real tax rate check-in before, please don’t post any income information or long explanations.  Just the percentage.  Privacy, modesty, all that.]

2.  I was pleased to see that behind that flashy opening page, IRS.gov remains it’s same sensible self.  If I could only have one website, that would have to be the one.  Since everything else, in theory, I could do without.  But the days of riding downtown and searching through the shelves at the tax office for the forms I need?  I do not miss those days.

3. I love fillable forms.

4. Not the ones provided by third-party businesses I’ve never heard of and wouldn’t dream of using unless I had some time to research it, which I don’t.  But those lovely, lovely IRS-issued PDF’s.  Oh how I love them.

5.  I wish South Carolina would take a hint and follow suit.  Hand-writing is so 2009.

6. But give me that ol’ newsprint 1040 instruction manual.  Thankfully my library stocks them.  I see that last year I made do with printing out and secretly sorta liked it.  I take that back.  I hope there’s some law requiring them forever and ever amen.  I can do PDF instructions for everything else, but for the 1040, I wanna flip pages.  I highlight stuff.  I make notes in the margins.  I write numbers in the grainy gray worksheets.  It is my friend.

7.  Curse you, SC, for not printing SC Long Form booklets anymore.  You, too, should give me a booklet.  I want a booklet.  I never bought into the accusations that SC is a “backward” state, but now I see it is true. Fillable PDF’s, newsprint booklets.  It is The Way.

8.  The IRS really does have good writers.

(Okay, after a certain point, I think they assume nobody is reading the instructions anymore, because if you dig into the more arcane forms, yes, incomprehensible.  But a good ol’ 1040, and schedule A and those guys — yes. Well done.  And thank you generous employers for not giving everybody $7 in foreign-source dividend income as an employee perk, the way you did that other time.  I feel an HR person was burned in effigy over that little incident.)

9.  Thank you kind person who forgot to pay me until January 2012.  I owe you one.  Saved me a ton of headache I didn’t need this year.

10.  Geek humor:  The SuperHusband was talking about income and work and raises.  I told him to tell his boss about our big financial goal: We want to pay Alternative Minimum Tax*.

*It’s a JOKE.   I’m KIDDING.  Neither Powers nor Principalities need to get a laugh at my expense by making it actually happen.  Thank you P&P for your self-restraint.

5 thoughts on “2011 Tax Round-Up

  1. Hmmm. So is the real federal tax rate after deductions but prior to credits?

    I number I noted down this year was the actual taxes paid (after credits and rebates) as a percentage of gross income: 3.14%

  2. Okay I fixed my post – thank you. (BTW, this is my totally made-up calculation, though I can’t be the only one doing it. But hence the reason I forget from year to year exactly what it was I made up.) Our corrected number is 5%. Much better.

  3. Respecting our privacy, etc., our actual 2011 rate was such that I am less interested in working for pay than ever before. On the other hand, it just reminds me that I owe no taxes at all when I am productive in voluntary ways such as doing catechism and volunteering with KofC.

    1. Not only that, you can deduct your mileage for the volunteering. (Until the ATM kicks in and it no longer matters, anyhow.)

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