The Adventures of Stinky Sweet:

Sometimes stinky. Sometimes sweet. But it's our life - and it is always good.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

soapbox (not tide) + my eternal salvation

I am proud to be an American citizen. I love this country and support her democracy. I will never change my citizenship nor my allegience to both my God and my country. I voted for our current president (gasp!). I unendingly support out troops both here and abroad yet unabashedly oppose war. I love living in Tennessee - no payroll tax! - and I even voted for the current governor (I like to pick the winners!) I have a degree in political science and I typically understand laws, crime, taxes, and politics. (I guess I am a woman of contradictions...double gasp!). I have incredible amounts of respect for those who are in authority over us, as I am Biblically instructed to do, and also choose to do because it just seems right.
However, I am so frustrated and confused by our annual tax system that it brings me to tears.
Here is a breakdown and my soapbox:
When I started my job with the Girl Scouts (ahem...non-profit organization and I am at the bottom of the totem pole - you can imagine what my paycheck looks like), I had them max out my witholding. I had a little dream at the time that they might take out enough taxes that I would get a little something back come 2011. Not much...maybe enough for us to take a weekend vacation nearby (this is the couple that never took a pity party - it was our financial choice at the time). I knew that we were buying our first house (woohoo - automatic $8,000 back!) and we also replaced all the windows with super-energy effecient beauties - getting us an additional $1,500 back in tax credits for making these changes to our house. Come on, right there that should be close to $10,000.
We are not students. We have no children. Double screwed. (And yet, somehow it doesn't quite feel that way).
Chad works for the state of Tennessee. That equalled our triple screwed. And as they say - third time is a charm. They withheld $19 from his paychecks for the entire year of 2010. Yes, folks $19 in federal taxes. Now granted, remember me working at the bottom of the non-profit totem pole? He still makes less than me. By about half. Please, try to imagine his paycheck. (Yes, I give you a pity party permission slip right now....ok, you can stop.). So they should have taken a bit more than 19 buckaroos so we owed them a chunk of our return money. He had the same problem last year so he changed his witholding so they would take out more money. Apparently that didn't take...
We had been planning on building a garage behind out house with that money. And it would have taken the whole $10,000 plus some but probably would not have required a loan (woohoo for as little debt as possible!!). As it turns out, I will probably have to have another car before we build a garage - making it a bigger priority - and requiring pretty much all of our return plus some (boo - for auto loans).
Did I mention that we are blessed beyond measure? I feel we have given generously this year. We were blessed in multiple ways, through multiple people and we were able to give back in some very small ways over the last year. I am not asking for something in return - certainly not from the federal government - and I have a theory that God avoids getting involved in tax season whenever it is possible (however, I know it is omnipotent - and I am totally kidding!) But I feel like we gave and paid for things knowing we could write them off later and made wise financial decisions and prayed before making purchases and researched and sacrificed some things we thought we didn't need and....on and on. And yet, we still are not where we thought we would be because of some bizarre tax confusion and crazy governmental problems or a screw up at the Tennessee HR dept. or IRS. Who freakin' knows...Either way. We just flat out are not where we thought we would be.
Bottom line - we didn't give enough away or spend enough or have enough taxes taken out to help our cause with the IRS.
Chad thinks it might be God's way of saying we don't need a car or a garage right now -that we should save the money until our needs are more distinct. That concept is looking better and better right now. It will be difficult, yet perfect to entirely trust God's timing on this as well.

I am so thankful that my eternal salvation is not determined by how much money we get back during tax season and even more, that it is not even determined by how much we gave in the previous year. I know - fully and with my entire little frustrated heart - that we gave generously because we are commanded to give out of the fullness of our blessings and as an act of worship to an Almighty God - who is entirely in control of our finances.
But am I allowed to be ticked off at the government - just for a little while?