Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day of Reconing

Death & Taxes
Originally uploaded by
Henk van het Nederend

Today was the day of reckoning. In spite of the chaos at home, It did follow through with my appointment with H & R Block. They have been doing my taxes for so many years, and I love my tax person, Gay. Yes, her name is Gay. Wouldn't it be so nice if we could still have lovely names like Gay without them being so loaded with political connotations? Anyway, I love my one time a year check in with Gay. She always wants to know how the kids are doing. Did that school program work out for Dante? Is your daughter still drawing? And how did Remy do at summer camp this year? A few years ago Gay was introduced to Michael. She was so happy to meet him, know how long I had been filing as a single head of household for so many years. She was there to hear that Michael had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she was there when we decided to start filing a joint state income tax account due to our marriage. She was so happy for us, and mostly, she was happy for me.

Today when I arrived with Remy in tow, she was excited, and reintroduced herself to Remy. She asked him how school was, "Oh, a suspension. Well, I guess you will have to just try harder." "The electric guitar? Oh that sounds wonderful. How does you Dad enjoy that?" Gay then went down the line, asking about Arianne, whether or not she was in college. Then to Dante, is he at home or still at the residential program. As she was speaking I got a bit nervous, she was looking over her shoulder, and then looked at Remy and I, saying "And Mike?" At the same time I felt like I was jumping up over the question. Well, Gay, Michael died. Her hands went up to her face, and she took in a very quick breath. "Oh Dan, I'm shocked. I'm so sorry." I then quickly walked her through his final days, and brought her up to date with all of us.

I had to take a deep breath with all this as well. My next question was how do we approach our taxes this year. She said I would have to file my federal tax individually as usual. The feds refuse to acknowledge my marriage. Even for Gay to file our joint state return she has to compute the form with both of income, then remove it from the computer program prior to processing it, as the program is not written for gay couples. Gay apologizes, saying this is ridiculous. She needed to know how much we ended up paying the state last year, which was an enormous amount, but she remembered that the computer would not have us in the system for that reason. No problem, I told Gay, I will look it up at home and call you.

I ended up filing a tax return for me, a separate return for Michael,and a third for the Trust he set up for his nieces and nephew's education. I will end up have to pay for Michael's state taxes, as he mostly received Social Security Disability last year, as well as his long term disability insurance. Neither of which was charged any pre-tax. Fun for me.

In some way today's appointment felt like the final frontier. This will likely be the last time my marriage with Michael will come up. In all future matters I am back to being single. I do have one more outstanding matter, Michael's retirement funds. His retirement system doesn't know what to do about his funds. Years ago he has set up his mother as the benefactor, but when we later received our Domestic Partnership, and our later marriage, Michael had sent in the change of beneficiary forms to inform them of our marriage. Twice. And, twice they failed to change this. Now the attorneys are having to decided if the funds still come to me. The guidelines clearly say that a marriage supersedes any person previously named as a beneficiary, but they want to look over all the documents. What? Excuse me? Here is the marriage license. Where is the problem?

I bet if Michael ends up owing funds back to the federal reserve they will be more than happy to recognize me as the lawfully married spouse, as long as I am the one writing the check.

All of this was quite stressful. Michael had his MBA, but we had later turned to Gay when Michael could no longer take care of his own taxes. But Michael always took the reins at home in all things business. In our final six months together he was constantly going over how he handled our accounts. Pulling up various Excel programs, and walking me through his Microsoft Outlook folders. I would just smile, and say now honey, you know I will never be able to handle all this like you do. It's true. I still have no clue what to do, or how to do it. Someday it will all catch up with me, and force me to figure it all out.

I recon that this will all catch up to me at some point. I recon that when it does I will need to be channeling Michael's know how and patience. I recon I'm not going to like all of this, as much as I already don't like being single again.

'Single Head of Household', what a depressing demise.


  1. all the legalities, the paperwork, and having to check the box, single. it's a slap in the face since you don't feel single. you feel like your arm has been ripped off. i detest this part.

    at this point, i am so poor that should i die, my children will have an easy time of sorting everything out. i am, however, making sure that everything is in order for them paperwork-wise. but i had to learn. my first husband kept me in the dark. not because i couldn't do it, but because he hid money from me and the kids. my Dragon and i did everything together. the debit card wasn't used unless the other knew about the money. i kept the books because i liked to. he handed over every receipt and when i balanced, there were blissfully no surprises as there always had been with the ex.

    i promise you will learn the ins and outs. if it's a bit complicated as it was when i realized what my ex had done, i tried to distance myself from the betrayal by thinking of it as a gordian knot. just keep untying. keep untying. i asked and found things out. i figured it out. and then my Dragon promised he'd never hide anything from me. and he didn't. we did it all always together.

    except now. single head of household. it is a depressing concept. peace to you, Dan. peace and calm thoughts. breathe.

  2. I know how hard this must have been for you to face but I think it was so much better to have Gay, whom seems like a lovely, kind and caring spirit, to be there with you vs. an unknown tax preparer. I certainly hope the retirement matter gets squared away and that you don't stress too much about all the financial complications in the meantime. I think it is an amazing feat to just get into H & R Block in the first place. All of us deserve a great hand of recognition for even remembering or caring to file our taxes that first year of loss!