The IRS Giveth and Taketh Away

We almost finished our annual income-tax-filing ritual. The challenges of being a registered domestic partnership couple in California (a community property state) and yet being unable to file a joint federal tax return have made filing our taxes this year to be frustrating at best. The differences in federal and state rules has required us to create a number of different tax returns, just to understand what we gained and what we lost.

Under our normal tax filing, we would have netted about $1150 in a federal tax refund. If we had been able to file jointly at the federal level as a couple, we would have received a $565 refund. By splitting our income and deductions, somehow we ended up with a net federal refund of just $490. We have looked at all the forms every which way, and we just can’t figure out how we had to pay so much more in federal taxes.

It didn’t help that today was a particularly expensive day. Our little chihuahua, Sherman, had his annual veterinary checkup today. That, plus the annual 12-month supply of heartworm prevention medication for both dogs, cost us $440. Then I took my 11-year-old car to Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed, and they convinced me that I needed to use the synthetic oil, so my $30 oil change costs $70.

Boy, that extra $660 in our federal refund sure would have been nice right about now.