A very taxing situation
For the last three years, my wife and I have come up short on our taxes. The amount withheld from our paychecks has been insufficient to cover what we owed.
This post may come as a shock to some of you, but the gist is this: The current withholding system is not necessarily designed to collect what you will owe.
Every year it’s the same deal. Get the taxes done and then be subjected to intense sticker shock as we realize we’re fucked. We don’t mind being good Americans and paying our fair share but this is ridiculous.
Each time this happens we immediately fill out new W-4 forms based on the recommendation of our tax preparer and submit them to our employers.
I have no doubt that I’m going to be forced to cough up more dough for 2009. With that in mind, I decided to finally take some action and figure out just what in the hell is going on.
In my grubby little hands I’m holding my first paystub of this infant year. Everything that happened this pay period exactly matches my year-to-date totals. What an exciting time. I very carefully scrutinized the amount withheld for federal withholding. It seems small. Damn small.
I went to the internet and found this page. The “2010 Withholding Calculator” on the official IRS website. I went through their five-page process and got a “page not found” error as the result. Typical.
I was determined, though, and not to be deterred so easily. I tried it again. Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Guilty as charged! The insanity, however, is that on the second attempt it worked. Holy … fuck … shit.
Anyway, this story is not about the IRS’ ability to maintain a working web site.
The IRS web site had excellent advice for us. “You and your spouse should each enter 0 on line 5 of all of your Forms W-4.” No shit, Sherlock!
But wait, there’s more. Here’s the good part (my emphasis added):
Divide $X by the number of paydays remaining in 2010 (or use the table below to find this amount), and enter the result on line 6 of any one of your Forms W-4. This is the extra amount you need to have withheld each payday to ensure that you do not have too little withheld. Alternatively, you may split the $X between any of your jobs, by entering on line 6 of each Form W-4 the portion of this amount to be withheld from that job, divided by the number of paydays remaining in 2010 for that job.
There you have it, in writing, from the horse’s mouth. Claiming zero exemptions is not enough. You have to withhold additional amounts or you’ll be fucked. I must be an idiot, because I thought that was exactly what the fucking system was designed to do. When the hell did that fucking change?
You have all been warned. Save extra coins for the King or you’ll receive an unpleasant visit from the tax collector. You can thank me later.