What can you learn from a person by reading their tax return? What secrets do they have? What can you learn about their lives… and what have they been leaving off of the return? As part of this month’s coffee talk, I’m going to give you some insight into the three things my 2010 says about me 🙂
1. I filed a single tax return.
The first thing that you’ll notice is that my tax return is a single return — no spouse, no common-law partner. Back in 2010, I had been living with my girlfriend in an apartment for nearly a year, though my name was not on that lease as I was actually replacing her friend that had been living there before. These were the days before we bought our first home together. However, by the time it was time to actually file the tax return for 2010, we were living in our new home together. So why the single return?
Is it cause we weren’t married? Actually, where we live there are “common-law marriages”, and these can take effect if two people of the opposite sex have been living together for six months or longer. Guys, girls: if you’re room-mating with the opposite sex, then you better watch out! 🙂 At the time, this sort of income splitting might have been advantageous for us, but I think we were still getting used to the idea of living together, and we were taking on one commitment at a time. Now that it is nearly time to file the 2011 tax return, I don’t know what we will do this year. I do know that she is waiting for me to put a ring on it and make it official, already. 🙂
2. I need to organize my files a little bit better.
2008 tax year… check. 2009 tax year… check. 2010 tax year… where the heck is the statement? I have been filing my returns online for many years now, and I usually keep a local copy of the final report saved as a PDF. I say usually, because when I looked into it for this year, my 2010 PDF was nowhere to be found.
No problem, I can just download it from the site again, right? Nope, because they want me to pay again. I’m sure that is just a bug in the software and I have followed up with their support, but that will teach me to be lax when it comes to these sort of things.
EDIT: So I remembered that this was the first year that my girlfriend had decided to do my taxes for me (she really loves doing those sort of things, to see how much money we can save), so this is why I did not have a local copy of the final report. It was the first year I was not in complete control of my own finances in our relationship together.
3. No more refunds for me!
I used to look forward to paying my taxes because I would get a fat refund, as well as rebates for paying provincial and federal sales taxes. I got these refunds because I used to have a lot of education tax credits, as well as a lower income. Nevermind the fact that they were just returning me money that was mine; at the time it really felt like extra income. This is just one of the mental tricks that source withholding of taxes does to us — it makes us forget that it’s our money that is being returned to us.
Well, 2010 was my highest income year to date. The company I was working at was doing better then, and we had good bonus payments to go along with it. I did not breach six figures, but I wasn’t that far away from it, either. To reward me for my efforts, I was slapped with an extra tax bill, with a couple of extra thousands to pay. On top of that, I was told that I was ineligible for the sales tax rebates, since I now made too much money. 😉 It was the first time I had ever had to pay extra, and it wasn’t a good feeling! I learned a little something about the way that the world works that day.
Maybe this year will be different, now that I am out on my own and my income is decidedly lower at the moment! If some crazy entrepreneur guy wanted to see my return, he wouldn’t know anything about that — he’d only see a snapshot of the past.
Read these other great posts in this coffee talk:
Coffee Talk: Your Tax Return Diary (First Gen American)
My tax return and me (Budgeting in the Fun Stuff)
What does your Tax Return Say about you? (Dog Ate My Wallet)
My Tax Return As A Resume (Retire by 40)
Dear reader, what does your 2010 tax return say about your and your life? What have you learned, and how are things looking up (or down) for this year?