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Apr. 16th, 2012

I suppose I ought also keep up my tradition of reporting my uninteresting tax situation. I filed. e-filed, actually, courtesy of TurboTax. I still feel a little odd using software to calculate my taxes. It's not that I distrust it, particularly, it's just that I always had a feeling I was pretty good at forms --- I still think I am --- and I have so few forms on which to be any good at anymore. TurboTax does a decent enough job, and I really like the step-by-step approach of asking questions and offering explanation boxes. But it's going to take time to reach the Singaporean model where they do all the data-gathering and figuring and send me their calculations and a form to fill out if I think they got it wrong.

I ended up owing money again, a couple hundred to the Federal Government and nearly a hundred to the State. Yes, yes, I know, it's better than getting a huge refund because unpaid interest loan blah blah blah but I would prefer getting a modest amount of money back than going out. I'm fairly sure that I didn't get any vast reserves of funds from the interest on a couple hundred dollars in my savings account even over the course of a year.

One thing I had been doing, and that TurboTax last year and this encouraged me to do, was get money into my Individual Retirement Accounts. For that matter, it got me to open them. The rate of return on this hasn't been outstanding, but I admit I am getting a thrill from checking back every week or so to see how all these various little holdings are doing. That's just a matter of buying mild shares in various mutual funds, and selling off the holdings and rebalancing if the amount goes up by some tolerable amount. So if there is any system I suppose what I'm doing is trusting in the fundamental randomness of the money industry.

Trivia: In 1862, Cornelius Vanderbilt was assessed a 50 percent penalty on his income tax, presumably assessed because of his refusal to respond to inquiries about his income. Source: The Last Tycoon: The Epic Life Of Cornelius Vanderbilt, T J Stiles.

Currently Reading: Electric Forest, Tanith Lee.

(By the way, folks with Turner Classic Movies: Hot Millions is on at 10:30 am Eastern. You should see this, especially if you like the golden old days of room-filling computers.)

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