Friday, April 7, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time ... Part Two

Like I said, I use TurboTax to do my taxes.  I generally do my taxes all in one sitting, but I don't print them for filing immediately.  This because I like to wait a few days to see if I forgot anything.

Not like I expect myself to forget something.  I assume everything I've done is perfectly correct.  But I like to give my taxes a day or two to steep, just to see if anything comes up.

Example.  Got the mail today -- perfectly innocent act.  In which I found my car registration.  Oh, right, I'd written the check for the renewal sometime back in March.  Nice to know they'd gotten around to sending me the new registration. 

But then I thought, "Hmm, if I just paid the registration, shouldn't there be two registration bills in my tax documents folder?"  Because, I mean, there'd be the one I paid in 2006 and the one I paid in 2005.  (Of course, only the 2005 one is the one I need for my taxes right now.)  And there was only one.  "Aw hell," I thought, "Did I deduct this year's vehicle license fee rather than last year's?"

I did indeed.

Which then raised the question, what the heck was last year's vehicle license fee? 

Normally, I'd just dig through my files and look for the last year's registration renewal bill.  Excepting I don't have a registration bill for last year, because I bought the damn car last year (Yes!  Hybrid deduction!) and the registration was paid as part of the purchase contract.  I dug up the purchase contract, but it, of course, does not set forth which portion of the registration amount was the (deductible) vehicle license fee and which part was for other (non-deductible) registration expenses.

I go to the internet -- my first choice research tool.  I go to the California DMV website.  (It scares me that I know this URL without looking it up.)  Click my way through to the "answers" section for "How do I know how much my VLF is for last year?"  Tells me this number is printed on my registration card.  Even has a sample.  They're right.  I look on this year's registration card (the one I just got in the mail today) and it has the VLF amount right on it.  Armed with this knowledge, I go down to the garage, to check the current registration card (in my glove compartment) to find the VLF amount.

It's not there.

The car's there.  The glove box is there.  The registration is there.  VLF?  Not there.

Now I'm really annoyed.  I return to the website and it says I could try their VLF calculator.  I have very little faith that this is going to work, but I click the link.

It is not, in fact, a VLF calculator.  It is a VLF looker-upper.  I give it my license and VIN number -- it tells me how much VLF was paid on that car that can be deducted for tax year 2005.  Woo-hoo!  It is, in fact, about $30 more than the amount I paid this year, and mistakenly used as my deduction.

I reopen TurboTax and correct the mistake. 

TurboTax recalculates my taxes.

The result is exactly the same.  In fact (for reasons which I have no chance of ever understanding) my state taxes have now gone up a buck.



hewasolddog299 said...

BTW, did you remember to take the hybrid deduction this time?



helmswondermom said...

I'm STILL impressed!