Turkish Benefits

I'm doing my taxes on-line, which is somewhat more complicated than usual because I have to file income taxes for the Federal Government, California, New York State, and New York City. New York City, aparently, requires residents to pay income tax for all income earned in a year in which they spent at least part as a resident of the city, regardless of where the income was earned. So, unless I'm mistaken, if you earn money for 364 days in California, then officially move to New York City on December 31, you have to pay taxes on all of your income for the year to California and then also pay taxes again on that same income to New York City. You also, I believe, have to pay New York City's income tax if you live somewhere else but earn money from working in New York City.

Anyhow, I'm paying taxes. First, a serious question: Is there anywhere I'm supposed to report money from student loans? That is, the big whack of cash I got last august that was immediately shunted into Columbia University's coffers. Do I report that? I ask because, under deductions, I reported all of my tuition expenses, but never reported getting money from loans, so it looks like I paid $20,000 in tuition out of nowhere, with almost no income and nothing removed from my bank account.

Second, an observation: In the Other Income heading for California State Taxes, one of the questions is whether I received Ottoman Turkish Empire settlement payments. What are these? I mean, I don't think I got any, but I wasn't aware that the Ottoman Turks were still around and paying out settlements.

Also, from the New York State form:
Investment Credit
Can you claim an investment credit for one of the following types of qualified property placed in service during 2005?
- Manufacturing and production
- Retail enterprise
- Waste treatment or pollution control
- Research and development
- Rehabilitation of an historic barn
- Qualified film production property"

New York State has an explicit investment credit for historic barn rehabilitation? Lumped in with the waste treatment facility credit?

Huh. Looks like I get free money from New York City; they're giving me $26 for a City of New York School Tax Credit, even though I owe them no taxes and they withheld none of my income. Weird. But I'm not turning it down.

Ah. A couple of cautionary notes to those using the TurboTax software to file their tax return: First, you can file your Federal taxes free, but only if you get to the TurboTax website through a link on the IRS site to free on-line tax preparers. Go to Google and search for Free Tax E-File, then go to the IRS's site. From there, follow the link to TurboTax. If you go to TurboTax's site directly, only pay services will be available.

Second, and more important, TurboTax makes it very easy to file your various state and local taxes. These services are profoundly not free, something you won't dicover until the very end. Only Federal filing is free. If you provide them with information for any state tax returns, whether you decide to file them or not, they will charge you a $50 preparation fee. What's more, they will offer you a choice of either paying their fee with a credit card or simply having it deducted automatically from your return. Unless you don't have a credit card, or are afraid of using your card on-line, you should pay with a card. For the convenience of deducting the preparation fee from your return check, rather than charging your credit card, TurboTax charges a $30 Direct Deposit Fee.

You can file state income taxes free on your state tax administration's website. Filing state taxes with TurboTax made no sense for me; I'd be paying $80 in fees for a $60 refund.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on February 11, 2006 7:42 PM.

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