[Adulting 101] Don’t Let Tax Season Tax You

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One of the biggest adjustments I’ve made as I’ve ‘grown up’ – a term that I still like to use pretty loosely – was getting my life in order.  It started with finding a planner that could coagulate the millions of thoughts into my head into a concise little package. After some researching, I happily adopted the Passion Planner as my new organizational best friend, and it’s made planning for the future a whole hell of a lot easier.  Now that my life has gotten into some semblance of an order, it was time to get my money in check.

For the last thirty odd years, those words have (rightfully) given me a bit of anxiety.  But the older I get, the more capable I’ve felt handling things on my own, instead of asking for help (also, thanks for the help, Dad!).  Just the other week, the IRS opened the floodgates for the 2017 filing system so we can finally rid ourselves of any reminder of 2016. With just a few tips, tricks and tools – you’ll be on your way to an early refund and have some extra money in the bank.

Before You Jump In

As you jump into filing your axes, you should be at the ready with a few vital pieces of information.  Employers should have sent out W2’s at the end of January, meaning they’ll be in your mailbox soon if you don’t already have them.   If you don’t have your W2, don’t fret – contact your company’s HR department, or the IRS.  Next, you’ll need to know how many dependents you have – which in layman’s terms, means how many people of familial relation fiscally depend on you throughout the year.  Do you have children?  Are you taking care of your parents? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you’ll be entering that number on your W-4, for the rest of us – if we’re single (in this case, meaning unmarried), over 25 and without children, that answer will be 0.  Next, if you were a student and only held a part time job, if you’ve been volunteering, or pursuing a career that’s slowly been taking off and didn’t make over $10,350 – the standard single payer deduction – you’re in luck, you don’t even need to file your taxes.

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In Come Tax

The landscape of the corporate world has been shifting over the last decade, with an unprecedented amount of the general population both working remotely from their home office, or as Independent Contractors – juggling multiple part time jobs.  This means that taxes have to be tailored to meet each and every one of our personal needs.  Back in the day, you’d need to go to a tax professional, so bless the technologically savvy age where we can do everything online at the push of a button.There are several basic options for filing your taxes, baring you’re not a unique tax unicorn with a special filing status.  Both Turbo Tax and H + R Block boast exceptional online options that are convenient, quick, and all things considered fairly painless.  They’re also not bank breakers, either.

Filing Deadline

You can file your taxes any time between now and the April 18th deadline, and in my personal experience, the earlier you file your taxes – the quicker you get your refund. I filed my taxes through Turbo Tax on January 24th, and within two hours was approved for both my State and Federal Returns.  It took a tiny bit of turnaround time,  but by Wednesday, February 1st I had both my of my tax returns sitting pretty in my checking account, cha-ching!

Traditionally, the filing deadline is April 15th – but this year, that’s a Saturday.  So, traditionally, it would be moved to the following Monday, April 17th – but that’s Emancipation Day in Washington DC.  What’s that mean?  This year, we have a three day cushion and if we’re the type that puts the pro in procrastinate, we don’t have to turn in our returns until Tuesday, April 18th.

For tax resources, I recommend the following; happy filing!

IRS | IRS E-File

Turbo Tax

H + R Block

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[Wednesday Watercooler] An October Fall

I swear it was just the other month that I started this blog, and now – almost four hundred posts and two years later – we’ve really begun to unfold on a beautiful, ever unraveling story together.  Just this year alone, I’ve traveled to the better part of the Western United States and seemingly haven’t been home for more than three weeks at a time. Even though I keep protesting that my birthday just happened, I woke up this morning and almost had a heart attack knowing I’ll be 30 in two months.  At 29, I fell in love, moved in with my two best friends (and our four cats) and mastered the balancing act of having two full time jobs. There aren’t enough hours in the day to read all the books I want to read, get lost in the back streets of my neighborhood, douse myself in new music and spend time with all of the people I love. Suffice it to say, my breaths of fresh air seem to come few and far between and I’ve frequently found myself quoting a childhood book ‘5 Minutes Peace‘ and lamenting on the basic lack-there-of; but to be honest, I thrive when life is like this and wouldn’t have it any other way.

California Knows How To Purr-ty.

Last weekend, Danny, a few friends and I gallivanted just a few feet down the block to the annual Eagle Rock Music Festival, celebrating the arts and culture of our small – yet awesome – community.  For just one day, the streets were transformed into a full fledged fest – fully equipped with 6 different stages lingering to the side streets, boasting a wide menagerie of music 0 from jazz and experimental, to  hip-hop, indie, rock and roll and a whole cacophony of world music.   Instead of charging entrance fee, there was a $10 suggested donation per person that went to the Center of the Arts in Eagle Rock.  Inside the festival you could find a cacophony of creativity and individuality, from families taking their kids out for their first musical experience to the tried and true festies donning their hula-hoops, neon hair and effervescent attitudes.  And there really was something for everyone, from food trucks like Kogi and the Grilled Cheese Truck, to a small Farmer’s Market and locally made goods.  I managed to snag a shirt from my favorite booth – Arm the Animals; they’re a local non-profit that have dedcicated a portion of their funds to No Kill Animal Shelters around Los Angeles. Not only is the shirt fucking adorable, but it’s comfortable and as far as I can tell – puts a smile on damn near everyone’s face.

Red Bull Does NOT Give You Wings, But it Will Give Refunds

There’s nothing quite as American as a lawsuit based on false advertising – and that’s precisely what’s happening with Red Bull. As of this morning, if you log on on through the link above – you can get $10 back.  But, why? Well, as it turns out – beyond the no-wings bit, Red Bull also has no valid claims that it can increase your reaction speed, concentration, or performance abilities. In fact, an 8oz Red Bull could have as little as half as much caffeine inside as compared to a 7oz Coffee from Starbucks.

Get Your Carlton On

80’s Babies, rejoice – the dance move that highlighted our generation is back with a vengeance. Now, I don’t consider myself a DWTS fan; in fact, I didn’t even know what that acronym meant until this article.  But I do know that this is all sorts of awesome and it makes my heart happy: