Thursday, April 08, 2010

Land of the Free?

Coming to blog in the midst of doing my taxes, having kids on spring break week 2 (but we home school in the summer so I'm not feeling guilty about it)trying to work in two cardios a day and my usual housework/laundry/ typing etc.

I have been feeling as though I am living under a cloud of late - and it's not just because of tax season (although that's part of it) or grief issues dealing with my mom. A few things from outside sources have put me on edge.

1. The gas company. A few weeks ago I got a letter that the company had to come into my home and read my meter in person. It wasn't enough that I sent in the readings. They have the right by law apparently, to come in and see for themselves. I let the first two letters slide, but then I got notice that the gas guy would be in the neighborhood and could stop and read the meter! Cool. He was coming on a Saturday sometime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Not cool. He apparently picked the five minutes that I ran down to the store to get some milk because when I came back there was a yellow tag on the door that I had missed him and that now the company had the right to turn off my gas in the next couple of weeks. So I called the company and set up an appointment for Tuesday. The reader would show up sometime between 8 a.m. and noon, which was a little better I guess. So Tuesday came and I remained imprisoned in my home(although I did get in a 5 minute shower - telling Sam, "If the gas guy comes to read the meter, tell him you're 18!! or he won't read it!") until 1:30 - when a nice man finally showed up to read the meter and wish me a nice day.

2. The Ohio Booster Car Seat law became enforce-able yesterday with fines up to $200 if they catch your 4 to 8-year-old loose inside of your car or just in a seat belt. Now, of course I want Rosie to be safe, but I don't want to be bullied into purchasing yet another safety chair that has to be transferred from car to car for another four years. Ohio is a cash strapped state. I'm sure they're looking forward to the new revenue the $200 fine per incident is bound to generate. The sales tax on the $45+ booster chair must be a nice bonus as well.

And on a nostalgic note, I remember playing happily under the metal dashboard of the family car as my grandma drove us to the grocery store! How ever did my generation survive without the nanny state to protect us!

3. I read something very interesting on the Turbo Tax site yesterday. Apparently a man worked a number of odd jobs during the year and had a pile of W2 forms. He did pretty well making about $100,000 for the year, but he didn't really have a retirement plan in place, so he decided to set up an IRA for retirement and to reduce his taxable income. To his surprise he was having trouble getting the turbo tax software to comply. It seems that one of the jobs that gave him a W2, a job that he only did for a few days, had a retirement plan and they marked that down on his W2, and the pittance they put into it, prevented him from deducting the $5000 from his IRA from his taxable income. Talk about the letter of the law interfering with the intent! Turns out the guy documented the situation in a letter on his return and took the deduction anyway. The Tax Pro thought it would be okay, but what a ridiculous situation! Did I mention that Mr. Pete teaches a two-week long class once a year for a local university and makes a little over a grand? and they have a mandatory retirement plan? and guess who also might not be able to deduct any IRA contributions?



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