0 comment Tuesday, April 1, 2014 |
I got a postcard from my graduate school saying that I am eligible for some kind of tax credit. I look up the qualifications...yep, that's me. Oooohhhh, a maximum of $2500 per student depending on how much it cost you to go to school!! I am positively giddy!!I tried doing the calculation myself but there's all these boogery forms (seriously, at least 3 of them requiring cross-referencing of figures from one to the other with arbitrary arithmetic in between). Become convinced that I will likely drop a decimal place somewhere and then get audited. So I decide to see what one of those free e-file sites will get for me.Drum roll please.....$4. Yes, four. What the boogery forms neglect to tell you is that if you are in graduate school, as opposed to your bachelor's degree, the vast majority of your expenses don't count. Even more so if you're in a grad program that pays you a stipend. Nevermind that you still had to take student loans to make ends meet.Actually, they do tell you this, but only after you've filled out three different forms, double and triple checking your math as you move numbers from one to the next.So, woooooo! I will be $4 richer than I otherwise would be for about 2 hours of trying to sort out all the forms. That's way less than minimum wage. Isn't the IRS liable for that?On a more positive note, the IRS tax returns are still easier to navigate than the NIH funding website. I never thought I'd say that. Hang your head in shame NIH.