Sartorial Stitchery Becomes raevenfea: Simply Stitchery

Some things age more gracefully than others. This was first posted 8 years ago, so caveat lector. Links may be broken, things may be wrong (this is the internet, after all), and you may be better off finding more recent and relevant content. Blogs are rarely graceful on a good day, let alone after a few years.

Just a heads up out there: Sartorial Stitchery has moved to its own domain.

For those of you who don’t follow my stitchery adventures, nothing has changed in your world.

For those of you who subscribe to the Omnibus RSS feed and do like reading about my sewing stuff, unfortunately you’re going to have to add another feed to your reader for the time being: raevenfea.com/feed/.

I hope to somehow integrate the two back together in the future, but no ETA on that any time soon.

Sartorial Stitchery was not only misnamed, but had outgrown this shared space, so it was time to give it its own home (I already owned the domain, with nothing on it).

The design is still rough, and a few more articles need to be moved over, but it’ll be growing over the next few months!

TurboTax Free vs. Freedom, 2010 edition

Some things age more gracefully than others. This was first posted 8 years ago, so caveat lector. Links may be broken, things may be wrong (this is the internet, after all), and you may be better off finding more recent and relevant content. Blogs are rarely graceful on a good day, let alone after a few years.

Last year, I posted “Don’t Let TurboTax Free Edition Fool You—You Probably Want FREEDOM Edition,” and it is one of the most often viewed posts on this site. Here’s the update for 2010. In short, before you try the Federal Free Edition, make sure you don’t qualify for Freedom Edition, which will allow you to file more than 1040-EZ and also allow you to file your state for free (in participating states).

Freedom Edition: Do you qualify?

  • Your AGI is under $31,000 (same as last year)
  • You are/were active duty military in 2010 with an AGI under $58,000 (up from last year)
  • You qualify for the Earned Income Credit (EIC) Find out if you qualify at IRS.gov

If any of these are true for you, try the TurboTax Freedom edition.

If you do qualify, you can also file for free in these states: AL, AR, AZ, GA, IA, ID, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NY, NC, ND, OK, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV.

What are you waiting for? Head over to the IRS Free File portal today!

The IRS Free File program

TurboTax Federal Free is not associated with the IRS’ Free File program, which allows anyone with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $58,000 or less e-file for free, including some state returns. TurboTax Freedom is.

TurboTax Freedom has stricter limits than the Free File program, so you may want to explore your options and choose another online preparer if your AGI is over $31,000.

The Free File page can help you choose the preparer that is right for you. Make sure to check if your chosen preparer will allow you to file your state income taxes as well.

More good news: because the normal deadline falls on Emancipation Day, meaning gov’t offices are closed to receiving mail and processing returns, you have until April 18 this year to file your taxes.

What’s the real difference?

For the most part, both programs step you through the process of filing, helping you make sure that you claim all the credits and deductions that you qualify for. Freedom Edition, since it isn’t restricted to Form 1040-EZ, has many more options and will allow you to itemize deductions, claim small business income, and capital gains or losses. Federal Free edition is very limited in what it will allow you to claim beyond the standard exemptions. You can’t itemize deductions at all.

What made me notice the difference is the cost of filing for state income taxes: Freedom Edition allows you to file states for free, so long as they also participate in the Free File program. Federal Free edition charges you $27.95 for each state.

Freedom edition does not have as nice of an interface, though, so if you want to be wowed by pretty graphics (at the expense of not filing for free), it’s not the program for you.

I am not a licensed tax preparer or financial professional of any kind. If you have questions about your taxes, you should consult a qualified tax professional. This is simply my observation based on my own research for filing my own taxes. This is also in no way sponsored by the IRS or Free File program. I just want everyone to be as educated as possible.

You just got a 2% pay increase! Use it wisely.

Some things age more gracefully than others. This was first posted 8 years ago, so caveat lector. Links may be broken, things may be wrong (this is the internet, after all), and you may be better off finding more recent and relevant content. Blogs are rarely graceful on a good day, let alone after a few years.

…well, kind of, sort of. On Dec. 17, Congress agreed to extend many of the Bush-era tax cuts, which is generally pretty awesome in the more-money-in-my-pocket way but not so much in the holy-staggering-national-debt-increase-Batman! way. In addition to the extensions is what I’ll call Making Work Pay 2.0 (officially the Tax Relief Act)—a employee payroll tax decrease.

The payroll tax, more commonly known as the Social Security tax, is normally 6.2% of your gross income. Everyone who earns money by legal, non-tax-avoiding ways pays this, no ifs-ands-or-buts, although if you make more than $106,800, your maximum tax is $6,621. For 2011, the tax for employees is reduced to 4.2% (a max savings of $2,136). If you’re self-employed, you’ll still have to pay the full employer-side 6.2% for a total of 10.4% instead of 12.4%. And if you’re an employer, you still have to pay 6.2% for each of your employees.

So, that begs the question: what are you going to do with it?

I’ve already made my decision—it’s going straight into my retirement account. I figure I might as well save for my own retirement while I’m getting a reprieve from paying for someone else’s. The proper paperwork has been signed, sealed and delivered. I waffled about this or paying off debt faster, but I’ll have my over-5%-interest consumer debt all taken care of by the end of January, and I expect that my retirement returns will be higher than that in the long run. It just makes financial sense. After all, thanks to compounding interest, your early 20s is a great time to start saving for retirement.

What’s your plan, Stan?

One note of import: since it’s all very last minute, your employer has until Jan. 31 to fix their payroll system so that the money goes in your check instead of to the government. This means you may not see an increase until February. Then, your employer has until Mar. 31 to give you whatever they owe you from not having the system set up correctly in January.