Sunday, February 10, 2019

Taxes, Death and the Great Outdoors

Apparently people are beginning to file their income taxes for 2018.  MSNBC reports that 30 million Americans will owe the IRS money this year — 3 million more than before the republicans' new tax law.  Huffpost has an interesting article about the whole issue.  It was also on Yahoo news where at last check it had 13,400 comments.  There is an imbedded video in the article that's worth watching if you have the bandwidth available. 

The high points are as follows:
  • The IRS changed the withholding tables in 2018, people received slightly more money than they would have otherwise.  Many people failed to notice this (myself included) and didn't change the amounts being withheld.  Therefore, they're not receiving their usual tax refunds and in some cases will end up paying taxes for the first time.  Some people will cross the line and end up being fined for not having enough withheld.
  • There were changes to what you can deduct.  People who live in areas with high property taxes and local and state taxes are being capped at what they can deduct.  Gone is the mileage deduction for people who drive for their jobs and aren't reimbursed.  Police used to have a deduction for the cost of uniforms, guns, nightsticks and uniform cleaning costs.  Gone.  The medical deduction is gone. 
It's difficult to understand how the president and his talking heads can refer to the new tax bill as done for the middle class.  It wasn't. If you haven't done your taxes yet, gird your loins - it may be ugly.

Do you ever find yourself going through life, confident in your knowledge of how things work?  Then you find out you're wrong?  I always believed (erroneously) that if one of us died, the other would inherit the credit cards.  After all, most states are community property, right?  This started when I called the Costco Citicard to request a higher credit limit.  We had been right up against the credit limit which was impacting our FICO score.  The woman on the phone wouldn't talk to me, she had to have the permission of the primary on the card - Jim.  I put Jim on and then she would speak to me.  Out of curiosity I asked what would happen if Jim died, would they then talk to me?  Nope.  They would cancel the card in that event.  So far, for all of our cards, there is only one primary, and then there is an authorized user.  I'm prime on two, Jim is prime on two.  So, the surviving spouse will still have credit, but this just seems archaic to me.  Make sure you and your spouse have cards for this eventuality.  The other mistake I think we've made is not getting both our names of the cell phone contract, the cable contract and DISH network, as well as all of the utilities for the house.  These will be tasks for our next rainy day.

We got out for a hike this afternoon.  The day started out with gloom, but improved in the afternoon.  There were a lot of people coming up the trail from Gates Pass.  Not so much on our side of the hill.

The gray rock foreground is interesting.  I need a geology for dummies book.

That's it!  That's all I've got.


  1. As an accountant for one County in California, I dealt with those same tax deductions in Payroll. The IRS tax tables have been changed several times over the last 20 years, giving people more money in their checks. Unfortunately, everyone thinks YAY .. more money! They get you in the end however, when you owe more than what was deducted from your check. It's a dirty trick the government has played on us over and over for many years.

  2. Hopefully you have hastened everyone to the payroll office, to clean up withholdings for this year.

  3. Thank you for the information on the credit cards! We have two, and I am primary on both, since I handle most of the bill-paying and online ordering in our household. So, if I die, my spouse will be SOL. Something to discuss with him. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, as it's something I never gave any thought.

  4. So much for the "middle class" tax cuts.

  5. Also if you are not the primary on the card just an authorized user.If the primary dies you do NOT have to pay it... The credit card wants you to pay But you do NOT have to... even if that person was your spouse.