7 responses to “Needing more than two PhDs to file taxes”

  1. Cherish The Scientist

    “In short, we’ve learned that either more education than two PhDs in Mechanical Engineering is needed to fill out your tax form…”

    Well, there you go. If you had PhDs in electrical engineering, I’m sure it would be much better. 😛


    As it turns out, we’ve had the opposite problem. With the suggested deductions, we weren’t having enough withheld. Two years ago, we got a horrible shock. We went back and readjusted. And we still had a horrible shock this year. My husband has given up and basically started claiming zero deductions. I think it gets really messy when you have more than one person earning an income.

  2. Miss MSE

    The IRS withholdings are designed to over-estimate. By overpaying, you’re essentially giving the government an interest free loan for a few months. When they give you a refund, it’s more of an economic stimulus than the same amount of money would be spread over twelve months, because you’re more likely to go out and spend it since it’s “extra” money. Frankly, after owing on my taxes for the past couple years, I’ve deliberately upped my estimated tax payments so that maybe I can get a refund next year.

    Also, if you want complicated, try filing taxes while on fellowship (where there’s no withholding), with a brief stint of TAing (with a W4) and getting married all in one year. At least I only worked in one state this year. If you think federal taxes are bad, try doing Californian taxes…

  3. Chris Gammell

    The number one way to get deductions right: “Hey (co-worker), what the heck do you use for your deduction?”

    And then fix it the next year, like I assume you’ll do. As my Dad always told me, if he gets his refund/owing within $100 at tax time (with all the allowable/legal deductions), he’s done his job right.

    1. Mike

      That’s what I thought I was doing, but my threshold is a little higher (+/- $500). You can see how that worked out (just check Cherish’s comment above)…

  4. gasstationwithoutpumps

    The California taxes are easier than the Federal ones, as long as you are a resident for the entire year. It is only when you are resident for only part of the year that the California taxes get messy.

    I’ve been slightly under-withheld for the past couple of years, because my wife’s salary from the school she works for is so small that they don’t bother withholding any income tax (I don’t think that you can declare negative numbers of dependents).

    More on my taxes at http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/taxes-done-2/

  5. sophi

    I do three things to make TaxLife easy:
    I don’t do my own taxes, (I’m sure a BSEE isn’t enough)
    I use a credit card for all consulting related expenses so that the deductions are clear. My credit card sends me a year end summary broken down into categories! No chasing around the house after receipts.
    I claim zero for all W-4 related income.