Friday, April 10, 2009

And... that's where honesty gets me

Did my taxes today. Very late for me, but I was waiting to be reunited with my belongings. Good thing, too, as I needed to find the closing statement from when I'd purchased the condo (back in '95). It was pretty easy to find (I should keep my closing statement from the house purchase in the same convenient place), but it would have slowed me down quite a bit if I had to do the taxes without it.

Decided to break down and e-file for the first time, too, largely out of laziness. Yeah, and direct deposit my refund while we're at it. In for a penny...

And this year, I'd vowed to actually pay use tax on stuff I'd purchased on the internet.

I know. Nobody pays this. But, y'know, the State is my employer and all -- I figured I might as well take a shot at reporting my total internet purchases and going ahead and paying my 8.25% on them. (There are few things in life I believe in scrupulous honesty in -- taxes is one of them.)

Memo to Amazon: OK, I know you don't collect California sales tax, but do you think maybe you might make it easy on us to pay it by providing a "click here for your total 2008 purchases" button? I had to go through 5 pages of purchases with a calculator to get a total.

And, after all that was done (and I'd thrown in a few non-Amazon purchases I also wasn't taxed on), I discovered that I'd spent nearly $1800 on the internet last year. (Damn.)

The whole thing came out to a whole $144 in use tax liability, which TurboTax was more than happy to deduct from my CA refund.

Or, rather, wipe out my refund in its entirety. Instead of getting a few bucks back, I now owe the Great State of California a whole $12. The cost of honesty.

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