Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day! Or not.

Once again, it's April 15. I've already seen the yearly news coverage of drivers crawling up to the massive Royal Oak, Michigan post office, last-minute returns in hand. I have to go to downtown Royal Oak in a few hours; I may just go down to the post office and watch the fun in person.

Unlike some unemployed people, I TurboTaxed and e-filed my returns the moment I took my former employer's W2 form out of my mailbox. Why? Well, the last several years, I've received a decent refund from the federal government. This year was no different. I even received a modest refund from the state. And of course, being unemployed, I needed the money.

Since I used to work in the city of Detroit, I also had to file nonresident city income tax returns. I owed Detroit the grand total of $2. Which probably paid for a few of the ex-mayor's infamous text messages.

But here's another reason why I'm thinking about taxes today: Unfortunately, unemployment benefits are taxable income (after a certain amount; consult your tax advisor). Here in Michigan, they do give you the choice of having taxes withheld from your biweekly unemployment payments. I am having taxes withheld from mine so I won't be spending April 15, 2010, wondering how I'm going to pay back taxes to the IRS.

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