Sunday, March 27, 2011
Death & Taxes
As a surviving spouse, I had to file my last “joint” income taxes return for my late husband and I. As I signed for my deceased husband on the dotted line, I was suddenly struck by the finality of this little act. We have filed a joint income tax return over the 33 years of marriage and this final act of marriage has such an impact, it made me face the reality of an ending of the BIG marriage responsibility. Yes, even in death, someone has to pay your taxes. I wonder whether divorced people feel the same when they sign on the dotted line of their divorce papers?
Until that moment of signing off that tax return, I had not realized I was truly unmarried. Next year I will be filing income taxes as a “Single”. I almost feel as if I have cut off a limb or something vitally important. I’m not sure I like this feeling of separation. Perhaps it might have been easier had one divorced and made a willful choice to separate from their partner, but this was not my choice. I expected him to be here helping me work out our taxes on Turbotax. I gathered up all the paperwork, W-2s, 1099’s and worksheets, as I had done in the past, and brought it to H&R Block.
The decision to hire someone was one of convenience rather than frugality. This is the one mistake I realize after the fact. Since I had everything in order ahead of time, all the tax person had to do was plug in the numbers and press a button for the software to compute the tax. I realize I could have done the same had I not been insecure with this uncertain stage in my life in widowhood. Coping is hard enough and I didn’t want to chance getting any taxes wrong. Going through an audit for the first time, without the support of my wise, intelligent helpmate, was not something I wanted to chance and therefore sought the expert’s advice and counsel. I suspect I will never look at a tax return in the same way again without feeling this loss.
In the end, I realize the Lord was with me every step in our finances, so I would not have a deep financial burden. There is no way I could have planned our spending in such a way as to come out even in our taxes. This is just more evidence how God provided for us in our time of need and even after death.