Weekly Blog March 25th, 2018: Taxes

Hello Internet!

I hope you had a wonderful week and I hope you are recovering from the craziness that is March Madness. Actually I’m not sure which is more crazy, March Madness or the “Spring Weather” we’ve been having. If you live in the United States, you know that the whole country has been experiencing crazy weather. The Midwest and the East Coast have been seeing snow, rain, and the sun all in the same day. We had more Spring like days in February than we had in March. It’s like Winter keeps walking away and then coming back. Just when we think Winter is gone and Spring has sprung, we get hit with a few more inches of snow. The plants must be seriously messed up after these waves of weather. They are probably more confused than we are. Anyway, I hope that you had a wonderful week and you are enjoying the weather no matter what season its resembling outside. Last week’s Weekly Blog was all about March Madness and Comebacks (Don’t call it a comeback!), Wednesday’s Poem was all about Searching For My Soulmate, and Friday’s Writing Prompt Piece was the second part to last week’s Writing Prompt Piece. Last week’s piece was about A Girl Being Kidnapped and this week’s piece was about her “Super” Rescue. Plus there’s a little bit of universe building. If you missed any of those pieces and they sound interesting, make sure you go check them out after reading today’s Weekly Blog. I really appreciate all your support and it would really make my day if you spent a little time on the website checking out all the stuff I’ve written.

Speaking of stuff I’ve written, I talked about it last week, but piece number 200 is quickly approaching. Today’s Weekly Blog makes piece 199 and Friday’s piece will be the big 2-0-0. As you may or may not know, I usually post Weekly Blogs on Sundays, Poetry on Wednesdays, and Writing Prompt Pieces on Fridays. Well because this week is special, there will not be anything posted on Wednesday. However I hope to make it up to you by posting the special 200th piece on Friday. So keep an eye out for that and make sure you come back on Friday to see that. It would mean a ton to me if you support that milestone. I’ve been doing this for about 15 months now and everyday I am blown away by all the support I receive from readers like you. So thank you for being amazing and I hope I can continue to rely on the support from awesome people like you.

Ok that’s enough of that. I don’t want your egos to get too inflated. Don’t worry, I’m about to bring you down with the super interesting, super sexy topic of taxes. Now I won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty about the tax code, the size of the government, tax brackets, tax rates, tax deductions, or tax exceptions. The fact that you read “tax” that many times probably put you to sleep. Also I am not smart enough or qualified enough to talk about all of those super important and in depth subjects. Doing the research necessary to tackle those topics would probably put me to asleep too, don’t worry. Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about my experience with taxes and more specifically doing my tax returns.

Now if you live in the US you should know that we’re in the middle of tax season. Now it’s always tax season in the sense that you are always paying taxes, but this is considered tax season because April 17th, 2018 is the deadline to file your tax return. This is the date in which you must fill out your federal, state, and local taxes to see how much stuff you can deduct and how much money you can get back from the government. Your tax return lets the government know how much you were overtaxed during the year and they give you that much back. Things like work expenses, charitable donations, and the interest you pay on your student loans are all deductible from your taxes. Again I’m not an expert, so don’t take tax advice from me. Don’t start deducting all types of random things just because some English major on the internet told you too. That’s a bad thing! If you really don’t know how to fill out your tax return, there are plenty of services out there that will help you file, but these also come at a cost. Basically you’re hoping that whatever money you save from deductions will outweigh the cost of paying someone to file your taxes for you. You might do this because you’re unaware of what deductions you qualify for or maybe you have no idea where to even start when it comes to file your tax return.

You’re not alone in that either. Tons of people have no idea how taxes work, what deductions they qualify for, and how to file their taxes, myself included. My taxes are fairly simple because I’m a young, single person without a ton of income and expenses and I don’t have stocks or any outside income. I’m a poor college graduate without any fancy retirement plans or 401ks. I don’t really know how any of that works. And that is a huge problem. Like I graduated college and I don’t know how to file a tax return. Like you think with the 12 years of basic education and the 3+ years of college education, I would have learned about taxes at some point, right? You might be just like me out there in the real world trying to be an adult. You’ve set budgets. You’ve bough groceries. You’ve changed the oil in your car. You’ve set up your own doctor’s appointments. You think your adult life is going fine and then, BAM, taxes hit you and you’re thrown into the purgatory between childhood and adulthood where you’re supposed to know about taxes, but no one has taught you. I’m right there with you.

I spent so much time learning about The Pythagorean Theorem, memorizing that the Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, and reading William Shakespeare, that somehow the topic of taxes slipped right through the cracks. Then I went to college and read more William Shakespeare while also learning about voting behavior and the international relations between Israel and Palestine, that again I forgot to learn about taxes. And really that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know anything about the Stock Market or retirement plans or how to get a loan. I stumbled blindly into student loan debt and I don’t know how to get out. There’s a major black spot on my education where I should have learned about finance and taxes.

Now if I was some kind of conspiracy theorist, I’d say that the government is secretly plotting against us and using our public school education to keep us dumb about taxes and finances so that the government can keep on spending and taxing, spending and taxing, spending and taxing. Kind of the rich get rich and the poor get poorer type of a thing. I’m not a conspiracy theorists, so I don’t believe, that but I do think that the education system should do a better job at teaching people about these things. We graduate High School and thrown into the adult world expected to know all of these adult things, but our brains are already crammed with useless facts that we had to learn for the ACTs or the SATs. Nowhere in those tests does it ask you to figure out how to get a house loan or file your taxes.

To give my public school a little credit, I did learn a little bit about this stuff my junior year of High School. I took Pre-Calculus as a Junior/11th grader and in that class we had this project that focused on finance, loans, taxes, etc. But this was more of a project where you had to do the research yourself and teach yourself. Then use fancy equations to calculate interest over a period of time. Like: “Plan A is a 5% interest rate for 30 years and Plan B is a 10% interest rate for 20 years. Which one is better?” Honestly I’m pretty sure I got a “C” or high “D” on the project and didn’t really learn anything, so that method of teaching wasn’t very good. I can’t even answer the example I gave you. I think Plan B, but I’m mostly guessing. So yeah, maybe math teachers can teach a little less about SOHCAHTOA and a little bit more about finances, taxes, and these adult math problems we face on a daily basis. Or maybe we need to have “Life Skills” classes that teach thing like balancing budgets, how to get a loan, and other skills we need to use outside of High School. Again to give a little credit to my school, we had a Life Skills class when I was a Freshman (9th grade), but it was mostly focused on study skills and teamwork and stuff like that. It had a bigger focus on those type of skills and less on finances. Plus they got rid of it and other Home Economics-type classes after the teacher retired, so kids attending my old High School don’t even get that now.

There’s my little speech about taxes as well as the education system I guess. I didn’t really mean to get so political. Don’t worry, next week I’ll talk about Easter and religion, so we’ll get that base covered as well. Thank you so much for reading that Weekly Blog. If you liked it, feel free to give it a like, share it on social media, or leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your tax stories or any advice you have about filing taxes. I managed to file mine, but others might still need help before that deadline hits. If you really liked the Weekly Blog, feel free to share some more love by checking out the other stuff I’ve written on the website. Again, we had some really cool stuff get published this week so if that interests you, make sure you check them out. Also I want to remind you that there will not be anything published on Wednesday, but there will be a special 200th piece published on this upcoming Friday, March 30th!

Thank you again for all your support and I hope you have a fantastic week!




Header Photo Credit to MightyTaxes.com

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