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New York City meets Munich

June 27th, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Accounting for Happiness

I never thought an accountant could bring so much joy, but indeed, it is possible. Especially when you have a good accountant helping you out with your taxes.

I’ve had a dispute with the IRS regarding an assessment of taxes, that with interest and penalties, was an amount over $50,000. That number has been hanging over my head for over a year. One reason I moved to Bermuda was to help speed up repayment of back taxes by having a large part of my income tax-exempt. Unfortunately, when we came back, we got a letter from the IRS saying I owe them fifty grand and I better cough it up.

As you are probably guessing, I’m not great with money.

I had the good fortune to be steered towards an excellent tax accountant who took at look at the returns I filed for the past three years (done by another accountant, mind you, not me. I’m bad with money, but I’m not so stupid to try and do my own returns. That’s how I got in such a big mess in the first place.) He figured out that I acctually overpayed by perhaps $10,000-$12,000, because I filed as self-employed, which was not correct.

Finally, after over a year of dispute, the IRS has conceeded to all three years. I no longer owe money to the Fed. I would try to be excited about the pending refund, except it’ll probably take forever to get it, and it’s probably going to go right back to the IRS when I pay my capital gains taxes on the stock options I exercised and held from my last job, which slowly but surely evaporated into worthless junk. I made a grand total of $0 on the stock, but will owe several thousand dollars of taxes on it. How screwed up is that?

Still, I’m happy to be in a much better financial place. It’s not every day you learn you are $50,000 or so dollars ahead of where you thought you were.

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