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reduce tax debt

Beating Tax Debt With A Christmas Tree

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You want to know my deep-dark shameful secret? I have significant tax debt. I have significant tax debt because I didn’t file taxes for 4 consecutive years. I owe over $30,000 to the Feds and about $6,000 to the state of California. It’s a huge sum and I often feel I’m beating tax debt with a feather.  

Unlike credit card debt, tax debt doesn’t get “written off.” It’s just there. Always. Making you feel like a shitty American and a perpetually broke bitch. A few years, the pressure and the guilt became too much. I downloaded Turbo Tax and submitted 3 years of back tax filings. Why not all 4, you ask? Because I lost all the requisite paperwork.

In their wisdom, the IRS “filed” that year for me. And not-so-big surprise, they inform me I owe a shitload of money for that year; nearly $11,000 in taxes and over $3,000 in fees and penalties for that one year alone. CA State wants another $6,000. Gulp! Since that time, I pay $400 a month on a installment payment arrangement with the Feds. California Franchise Tax Board are fuckers that won’t ever answer their phone so I pay them when I can. And for my troubles, they placed a lien against me.

Still with me? Cool. Here’s the fun part of this story.

This past December I decided to invest in my first artificial Christmas tree for my first season in my first SoCal apartment. The tree is beyond cool but its box is larger than a coffin. There was only one place to store it and that place was full of old paperwork. So, with no other storage options, I was forced to sort through every damn thing. Every box. Every file folder. And low and behold…in a red folder marked “Goodwill” I found my missing tax forms! With the hope of some meager savings,  I delivered the paperwork to my tax lady at HR Block and asked her to do what she could. (Yes, I learned my lesson and now pay for a professional.) With fingers crossed, I waited to hear.

And then, last week, the call finally comes. Not only did she save me money, the IRS and California owe me a refund for that year! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!? I did have to pay her $500 for her efforts and have yet to file the forms myself at the local tax offices….and yes, I may still owe a penalty for non-payment…but I approximate a $19,000 reduction in debt!

Moral of the Story: Sometimes money does grow on trees. Even plastic ones.

I’ll be writing more about what I learned about taxes and tax debt in upcoming posts but, for now, I just felt like sharing the great news!

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2 comments

  1. This is the very first financial blog I have ever read and I found it because I joined Facebook in order to ask questions and to learn how to blog with the hope of telling my own story. I found a link to an article of female financial bloggers and because you fall in the category of debt repayment, single with kids (and so do I!) and you were the only one (super special and niched-to-the-max!) I looked you up first. I am really GLAD that I did! You are HILARIOUS and I totally GET exactly what you are writing about. It’s refreshing and encouraging to know I am not alone. I will be a regular reader! ~Fran

    1. Holy cow, Fran! It’s comments like this that remind me of why I write this blog (and also make me ashamed for not writing in a while!) Debt sucks. Kids rock. Juggling both as a single woman is a challenge…and in pre-menopausal hormones and VOILA! Good times. Thanks for the nice note and hang in there, Lady. You GOT this!

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