February 26th, 2017



I did my income taxes yesterday. It's a bit frustrating doing all of the record-keeping and question-answering to itemize my deductions (including the rather substantial amount of money I spend on the various non-profit conrunning groups) only to discover that it's more effective to use the standard deduction instead, but there's no way to know without doing the work. Also, because I still report part of my income as a California non-resident worker (for those days I'm working there), and because of differences between California and federal income tax law having to do with the treatment of healthcare savings accounts, I continue to end up owing California income tax. The withholding tables aren't pulling enough from my paycheck. I need to ask my company's payroll department if they can get the system to withhold about $5/week more than they're currently pulling for California, so I don't keep having to pay the state of California about $250 every spring. Fortunately, my federal refund covers what I owe California, so I can just wait for the federal refund to arrive before writing the check to the Franchise Tax Board next month.

I keep close track of my spending using Quicken. I was surprised to discover that I had net gambling income of more than $300 for the year. Most of that comes from a single keno ticket I hit a few months ago, and thus it appears that all of my other recreational gambling for the year was approximately break even. None of the wins (even the keno ticket) were large enough to trigger a form W2-G gambling earnings report, but I reported the income and paid the tax anyway. That, at least, wasn't subject to California income tax as it obviously wasn't earned in California!