Of death and taxes

Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.

I finally filed my taxes. I say finally because I normally have mine completed and filed the first week of February – based on the fact that tax documents generally arrive the last week of January. Yep. Version 2.0 was a geek to the core; I used to love doing my taxes. And this year I tried, but just couldn’t do it through the tears. I think it had something to do with the box that I needed to tick that read: Qualifying Widow.

I made an appointment with an accountant then spent the weekend getting my files together. Something that was more difficult than normal because I seem to have lost some of my over-the-top organisational skills with the upgrade to Version 3.0. I cried on the way to her office. And I cried as I sat there while we went through the files and I answered her questions. I can’t believe I cried over my taxes!

When we did our taxes last year, we spoke excitedly about how this year we’d be claiming dependent children. We were so excited about the day we got to claim the coveted “adoption credit” and deduct child care costs from our gross income. Instead, I got to tell my accountant that: Yes, I did receive the social security “death benefit” when Paul died. (Wow! The benefit of my husband dying? $255. I think they need to re-name that little payment, which counts toward my taxable income, of you wondered.)

At the end of it all, my tax refund was a bit larger than I thought it would be. I’d already decided that I would use the money to pay for Paul’s headstone (which I’ve not yet ordered, but am getting closer to doing so). I know Paul would cringe at that fact, but I need to pay for it with something, and as death and taxes are both the only certain things in life, I found a bit of ironic joy in knowing that’s what I would use the money for.

However, despite the fact that I’ve chosen the most expensive headstone choice, because my refund is larger than expected there is still money to play with after it’s been ordered. While my frugal ways would see me wanting to use the rest for a new refrigerator, hot water heater, or furnace (all of which are needed now) I am instead going to use the rest of the money for something fun. I have a few ideas and will just need to think about it for a bit. But I know that Paul would want me to be completely irresponsible with the money, so that’s what I’ll do…  

Next year, I have to file my taxes as single. For some reason, I think that will be harder that filing as a widow. I expect more tears to flow, but have already decided to use the same accountant so at least she’ll not be too surprised… I hope…

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