April 11th, 2006



I'd calculated our taxes with TurboTax Online a couple weeks ago, and was dismayed to conclude that we owed a few thousand dollars.

This was a real drag, and I got quite depressed. We can afford it, but our liquid funds are pretty tapped out after the home renovations. And it's terribly frustrating that we've been keeping our belts tightened for five years, now. There's always light at the end of the tunnel, but something always comes up to prolong the penury.

(Mind you, I know that many other people are much worse off than we are. And we've accomplished a heck of a lot in those years--two new cars, Lori's grad school paid for, extensive renovation. I don't have much basis for complaint.)


Lori suggested going to H&R Block instead, since we were so surprised by TurboTax's results. And she had a friend who worked at H&R Block. So last night we went in with an appointment with her.

It was extremely helpful. Her results were close to the ones I got with TurboTax, which was a mighty reassurance that I basically had my head on straight. She found a few things I'd overlooked, but not much.

She was also able to identify the error in our withholding that led to us under-withholding so badly. (In brief: any allowances that we have should only appear on the W-4 of the higher-paid spouse, and the lower-paid spouse should select "Single" for their withholding. This was far from obvious to me.) So I feel more confident of avoiding such a painful surprise next year.

She also gave me the knowledge of how to handle the writeoff for my Queria stock.

And she didn't charge us anything, which was very kind of her indeed. (I might have remonstrated more strongly, but she's salaried, so she's not losing money directly, and the office wasn't so busy that she was helping us instead of helping paying customers. The value she gave us was definitely worth paying for.)

Someday, someday we will get out of our financial crunch.