Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Double stab and a PSA

I got an envelope in the mail last week - cap and gown order for graduation ceremonies, or marking the box that says "I do not anticipate completing the requirements for graduation by March 21st." Ouch.

Then, after I posted my status on Facebook as "Courtney has 15 days until the firing squad" (referring to my committee meeting at the end of the month) several people interpreted that as being my final thesis defense and sent me congratulations and good luck wishes. Double ouch. I changed my status to read "Courtney says 'Reports of my thesis defense have been greatly exaggerated.'"

My cells died again over the weekend, so when I came in on Sunday to work with them they were all gone. GRRRR. I ended up moving some things around so that the day wasn't a total waste, and I have cells in the chamber again today. I keep checking on them, because I'm totally paranoid that they'll die again.

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I really am saddened by the vast number of people who cannot understand the basic math behind this tax rebate that's coming in a few months. Let me walk through an example for the uneducated.

1. Our fictional family is married, has a combined income of $120K and two children. Thus they qualify for a rebate amount of $1800 ($600 + $600 + $300 + $300).
2. Let's say they have already figured out the magic of W-4 forms, and they normally get a $50 refund every year.
3. Here's where people's brains start to explode. This *is* an advance on the refund for their 2008 taxes, so they say "Well, this family would normally get a $50 refund, but they got an advance refund of $1800, so now they owe $1750 on their 2009 return!" FAIL.
4. If they would normally be due a $50 refund, then on their return filed in 2009 (without the checks this year) they would have gotten an $1850 refund due to the changes in the tax code. Now, $1850 due - $1800 rebate received in 2008 = the same $50 they were already expecting. There is a net change of zero on their return.
5. Here's where it gets better. Let's say they have a baby in 2008 - they can claim the difference ($300) that they would have been due this year on their 2009 return. Total refund of $350, or they can change their withholding for the year to get an extra $25 a month.
6. Here's where it gets even better. Let's say that our fictional dad gets a huge raise in 2008, so that the family's total income is now $165K. Now they don't qualify for the rebate that they got a year ago, but obviously the IRS doesn't have a crystal ball. But if they end up getting a bigger rebate than they would have gotten based on their 2008 income, they don't have to pay back the difference!

Get it? Got it? Good. Class dismissed.

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