Help, I am very bad at my taxes! [2019 Tax Thread]

mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
edited February 10 in Help / Advice Forum
I think it's finally time to hire someone to do my taxes for me, because I think I'm making huge mistakes - well, I KNOW I am.

I have always owed money because I used to be a freelancer. I just got used to never getting a refund because freelancing you have to figure out your taxes yourself.

3 years ago I got married and everyone said oh, you'll get a break now. Well - I really didn't. We still owed and I again chalked it up to freelancing.

2 years ago we bought a house and everyone said, oh man now you'll get some back because you get a lot of benefits. What ended up happening - weirdly - was we OWED about $6,000 in Maryland state tax (where we bought the house, in Feb), but we got a refund in VA of about $6,000 so it evened out.

It gets complicated because I always do my taxes myself, on TurboTax, and for awhile we lived part year in VA, part year in MD, and worked in DC. So it was always weird, and we always ended up owing but I chalked it up to us being in a weird situation. At the end of 2018 I took a full time job, and asked my other freelance employer to switch me to W-2's. They did.

So I was all excited for this year because everything was in place: We lived full year in MD, I had no 1099's, everything seemed good.

...I owe Federal $700 and the state of MD like $8,000.

I am REEEEEEEALLY hoping I am filling out shit wrong, but at the VERY LEAST I need someone to explain to me what I'm doing that this is happening so I can make it fucking stop. I'm losing my mind. I have my witholdings at 1 and 0 (Fed and State), and my wife THINKS she does but it may be 1 and 1. That's IT. There's nothing else weird about our situation, so what the hell is happening?

Anyone able to point me in the right direction? I was going to just call H&R Block today or a local accountant because I am just so lost.

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Posts

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    edited February 10
    What do your W2s and paystubs say about your state withholding? With an amount like $8k, it sounds like your employers aren't withholding anything at all for your state income tax.

    Simpsonia on
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  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    When you were freelancing, were you paying quarterly taxes and itemizing your business purchases? I contract, but pay my taxes in quarterly chunks. I only owe when I miss a quarterly payment like I did this year. MDs income tax is apparently 15%, and I dont have to contend with that since Texas has no state income taxes (yeehaw), but in MD you can pay quarterly for state as well.

    I'm not an expert but simpsonia's assumption would be mine as well. There's no harm in talking to someone about your taxes, though. I generally do my taxes through turbo tax just for ease of use since I also route my income through their self employed quickbooks. I've not compared their live services to H&R block, but I imagine its similar. Just make sure you've really gathered all your documents so you can maximize your time.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    mxmarks wrote: »
    I think it's finally time to hire someone to do my taxes for me, because I think I'm making huge mistakes - well, I KNOW I am.

    I have always owed money because I used to be a freelancer. I just got used to never getting a refund because freelancing you have to figure out your taxes yourself.

    3 years ago I got married and everyone said oh, you'll get a break now. Well - I really didn't. We still owed and I again chalked it up to freelancing.

    2 years ago we bought a house and everyone said, oh man now you'll get some back because you get a lot of benefits. What ended up happening - weirdly - was we OWED about $6,000 in Maryland state tax (where we bought the house, in Feb), but we got a refund in VA of about $6,000 so it evened out.

    It gets complicated because I always do my taxes myself, on TurboTax, and for awhile we lived part year in VA, part year in MD, and worked in DC. So it was always weird, and we always ended up owing but I chalked it up to us being in a weird situation. At the end of 2018 I took a full time job, and asked my other freelance employer to switch me to W-2's. They did.

    So I was all excited for this year because everything was in place: We lived full year in MD, I had no 1099's, everything seemed good.

    ...I owe Federal $700 and the state of MD like $8,000.

    I am REEEEEEEALLY hoping I am filling out shit wrong, but at the VERY LEAST I need someone to explain to me what I'm doing that this is happening so I can make it fucking stop. I'm losing my mind. I have my witholdings at 1 and 0 (Fed and State), and my wife THINKS she does but it may be 1 and 1. That's IT. There's nothing else weird about our situation, so what the hell is happening?

    Anyone able to point me in the right direction? I was going to just call H&R Block today or a local accountant because I am just so lost.
    Maryland is tough, and employers often don't properly take out your county taxes. It sucks I ran into that problem this year. Have them start taking out an extra 20 a pay period on your state.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited February 10
    Oh right, it's time for this shit isn't it fucking bleh

    Going to use this as the general taxes thread if that's okay so at least it's all in one place

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    DisruptedCapitalistJaysonFourtyrannusElvenshae
  • JragghenJragghen Registered User regular
    With regards to the withholding tables, they can vary greatly depending on state and federal, too.

    My wife has 0 exemptions for both, I have 1 for state and I'm paying an extra $150/paycheck on top of it federal, and it's looking like we'll end up even-ish for the state and owing a bit federal (not quite as lopsided as yours - we were worse last year, if you can believe).

    So yeah, I can give a second anecdote that state/federal can be super out of whack (but in the opposite direction, in my case). We're just adjusting how much we take out of the paycheck every year until we settle at about right.

  • DaimarDaimar A Million Feet Tall of Awesome Registered User regular
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Anyone able to point me in the right direction? I was going to just call H&R Block today or a local accountant because I am just so lost.

    I would suggest looking for a local CPA to help you out, check if family or friends can help you out with a recommendation or just look for one with good Google reviews. I would stay away from one of the "big 4" accounting firms (PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, and E&Y) since they will charge more for the same level of service that a local firm offers since they have a ton more overhead. I have a dislike for H&R Block for a few reasons, but in short they're scumbags on the level of payday loan stores.

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  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist screaming Registered User regular
    edited February 13
    So browsing around on Google has produced very vague results about IRS auditing on Schedule C Car and Truck expenses. The general sentiment is that the IRS loves to Audit Car and Truck expenses so I'm wondering what you all think about these issues:
    1. I've read some websites that say that Google maps is no good and you should never use that as evidence for you mileage, while others have said it's ok.
    2. (Related to #1) Some websites say you cannot claim non-business errands such as grabbing a cup of coffee along the way. So does this mean that I cannot calculate any mileage after I take a detour? Or do I include the mileage from Google Maps that would indicate what route I would have taken if I hadn't taken the detour for coffee? Basically, I've calculated mileage based on my odometer, but I worry that's not enough if the IRS have a problem with me taking detours particularly since it's not the same mileage for every trip to the same location.
    3. Question 46 on Schedule C asks if you have another vehicle for personal use. Does this mean I can never use my personal vehicle for business use? Sometimes my car was unavailable (in the shop, etc.) and I had to use my wife's car. Will they have a problem with that because it wasn't my "business" vehicle?

    DisruptedCapitalist on
  • mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    Just an update as I continue to navigate why I owe so much in state taxes:

    I went and looked at WHERE my state witholdings were going and saw it was to VA. That's where my company's HQ is.

    Going back into Turbo Tax, and adding that I "worked, but never lived" in VA suddenly gave me the ENTIRETY of that back.

    So I still owe $2,000 now, but this gives me hope that I'm simply still just overlooking things and I'll get a professional involved.

    It's insane to me that inputting everything but not checking that one box meant I was going to just owe $8,000 and everyone would have just happily accepted that and moved on.

    The clusterfuck that is taxes in DC/MD/VA continues...

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  • SyphonBlueSyphonBlue Registered User regular
    edited February 13
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Just an update as I continue to navigate why I owe so much in state taxes:

    I went and looked at WHERE my state witholdings were going and saw it was to VA. That's where my company's HQ is.

    Going back into Turbo Tax, and adding that I "worked, but never lived" in VA suddenly gave me the ENTIRETY of that back.

    So I still owe $2,000 now, but this gives me hope that I'm simply still just overlooking things and I'll get a professional involved.

    It's insane to me that inputting everything but not checking that one box meant I was going to just owe $8,000 and everyone would have just happily accepted that and moved on.

    The clusterfuck that is taxes in DC/MD/VA continues...

    Wait how the fuck

    Did your company give you the wrong state's W4? If so, you need to go berate your HR people. I've been living in MD and working in VA/DC for 8 years and have never had this happen before.

    SyphonBlue on
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  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    edited February 13
    Yeah, your company should have no problem giving you the correct state's tax form based on your address.

    Now you get to think about how many years' worth of amended returns you can file to get that money back from VA!

    a5ehren on
    JragghenLaOsTofystedeth
  • BlarghyBlarghy Registered User regular
    So browsing around on Google has produced very vague results about IRS auditing on Schedule C Car and Truck expenses. The general sentiment is that the IRS loves to Audit Car and Truck expenses so I'm wondering what you all think about these issues:
    1. I've read some websites that say that Google maps is no good and you should never use that as evidence for you mileage, while others have said it's ok.
    2. (Related to #1) Some websites say you cannot claim non-business errands such as grabbing a cup of coffee along the way. So does this mean that I cannot calculate any mileage after I take a detour? Or do I include the mileage from Google Maps that would indicate what route I would have taken if I hadn't taken the detour for coffee? Basically, I've calculated mileage based on my odometer, but I worry that's not enough if the IRS have a problem with me taking detours particularly since it's not the same mileage for every trip to the same location.
    3. Question 46 on Schedule C asks if you have another vehicle for personal use. Does this mean I can never use my personal vehicle for business use? Sometimes my car was unavailable (in the shop, etc.) and I had to use my wife's car. Will they have a problem with that because it wasn't my "business" vehicle?

    -Google maps isn't the best source for your mileage. While you could potentially use it to fill in the blanks if you forget to properly track your mileage via a dedicated app or log book on a particular trip or two, if its your only source and you get audited, its up to the auditor to determine if your map usage is trustworthy. If the rest of your documentation is poor, you're looking at an uphill battle. You should do it properly, Google Maps -is- evidence, but not sole evidence. Its best as backup corresponding evidence if your main logs are questioned.

    -Strictly technically speaking, you should account for personal detours as personal mileage separate from your business mileage. As in, if you detoured 1 mile out of your way for personal business on a 20 mile trip that was otherwise for business, you can claim 19 miles. Strictly technically speaking too, you should be reporting that quarter you found laying on the sidewalk as income as well. Whether it is material overall is something you need to decide. It is understood that sometimes trips to the same location might take extra miles based on route and detours. If you drive an extra half block to pick up a coffee, unless you've really pissed off your auditor, no one will care if you don't make it an issue yourself.

    -Mixed use vehicles make things more complicated (for you), but can be claimed too.

    DisruptedCapitalist
  • DisruptedCapitalistDisruptedCapitalist screaming Registered User regular
    Yeah, I first looked to Google because the numbers on my own records seemed off. then I saw how accurate it looked, I was delighted and starting using it more. But then I saw that I had taken a bunch of "detours" that I had forgotten about. So now if the IRS thinks my records look off I've got the maps to help out, but then the "detours" might just make each trip invalid (since I didn't record specifically when I left my route, and when I returned to it...) I guess I'm just going to have to remove the trips that have detours to avoid any auditing problems.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    SyphonBlue wrote: »
    mxmarks wrote: »
    Just an update as I continue to navigate why I owe so much in state taxes:

    I went and looked at WHERE my state witholdings were going and saw it was to VA. That's where my company's HQ is.

    Going back into Turbo Tax, and adding that I "worked, but never lived" in VA suddenly gave me the ENTIRETY of that back.

    So I still owe $2,000 now, but this gives me hope that I'm simply still just overlooking things and I'll get a professional involved.

    It's insane to me that inputting everything but not checking that one box meant I was going to just owe $8,000 and everyone would have just happily accepted that and moved on.

    The clusterfuck that is taxes in DC/MD/VA continues...

    Wait how the fuck

    Did your company give you the wrong state's W4? If so, you need to go berate your HR people. I've been living in MD and working in VA/DC for 8 years and have never had this happen before.
    It's more common with small govt contractors. They just don't know how to do it well. Once they have multiple sites in multiple states they tend to get it right.

    My wife got totally fucked by this before, and she ended up owing like 6k for MD and local taxes and fees because they didn't withhold nearly enough. I almost got fucked by this but I fought the good fight because of my wife's experience and they got it mostly right.

  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    At the end of the last year, I moved to a new state, and I was unemployed for a few months while I waited for my position to start. I did not work during this time and received no income. Do I still need to file taxes for that new state?

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Klein wrote: »
    At the end of the last year, I moved to a new state, and I was unemployed for a few months while I waited for my position to start. I did not work during this time and received no income. Do I still need to file taxes for that new state?
    It depends on the states.

    In most cases, I think you have to apply a non resident state return for the state you worked.

    MulysaSempronius
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    a5ehren wrote: »
    Yeah, your company should have no problem giving you the correct state's tax form based on your address.

    Now you get to think about how many years' worth of amended returns you can file to get that money back from VA!

    Fun fact: I live in DE and work in Philadelphia. Our (fed govt) HR department assumed that DE and PA have a reciprocal agreement; similarly to how PA and NJ have an agreement. They do not.

    I discovered this about 4 years ago, and had to file amended returns to PA and DE for the preceding 3 years, so I could get the numbers right. That was a fun year. (the numbers worked out to be a wash for taxes owed between the two states)

    Since then, I had my taxes updated to pay $25 per paycheck to DE state taxes (after consulting with a CPA in DE) and I've come out not owing since then.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    This is the fastest we've ever gotten our Federal and State refunds. We just did our taxes last Friday.

  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    In addition to her full-time employment, my partner runs a small crafting shop out of instagram and etsy. It's just something she does in her spare time, so she doesn't make much, about 6k last year. I suggested that she collect what her costs were to make the items she sold (supplies and materials, etc) and deduct them on her returns when she reports the income from her sales, but she claims that you need to make X amount (she doesn't remember) in order to deduct things like that. But in all the research I've done, I can't find anything like that. Does such a thing exist, or is it more 'it's not worth reporting at all unless you make a certain amount" type deal?

    Considering that full-time, minimum wage employment before taxes is 15k, I can't imagine that 6k is too little to just ignore on your tax returns, so is there actually a minimum amount before you can deduct expenses?

  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Oh no, you definitely want to deduct all costs whatever you can find to mitigate the income there.

    Most likely she will fill out a Schedule C, which actually has a nice set up for figuring out incomes and expenses to deduct, then carry over the net income or loss from there to the 1040.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    And if that’s going to be something she keeps doing, she needs to pay estimated taxes on that money throughout the year to avoid paying penalties.

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    I could see someone assume it's part of the 'not worth reporting' side of the equation since the standard deduction amount is relatively high now.

    That being said, it's never a bad idea to report your actual expenses and income for something small like that.

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    Ok, problem: my wife had some job issues last year. Up to November she worked for one doctor, and walked out after two paychecks bounced (they paid up as soon as we sued).

    For November and December she worked for a second doctor, who abruptly let her whole staff go in January. She provided no pay stubs, only the checks.

    Now, neither employer provided a w2. We complained through the IRS and got a call that the first doctor will get it to us before April 1, but no contact from the second despite being fined for being late.

    That deadline is looming, but we have no idea what was withheld from the Nov-Dec checks and they don't seem to correlate to her hours worked. Can we file with 2 out of 3 and amend later?

  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    You could, but I would recommend just making an educated guess. Do you know what her hourly rate was, and how much the net paychecks were for? If so, I'd be tempted to take her hourly rate times the number of hours she worked, and use that for the gross pay. And then either use no withholding (the safest), or try and estimate based on the difference between the gross and net paycheck amounts (after subtracting out 7.65% for FICA).

    Or if nothing else, just use the net paycheck amount that she received as her gross pay. That's likely not right, but it's certainly better than nothing.

    Regardless, though, you would want to use Form 4852 when filing your return, instead of reporting it as a W-2 (because you didn't receive a W-2). It goes to the same place on your 1040, but it tells the IRS that these are estimates, not necessarily the exact right numbers.

    Although if it's not a huge amount of wages, yeah, you could probably just file without it, and then amend later if necessary.

    I'm sure this sucks, so sorry for the trouble. But good luck!

    ElvenshaeHevachtynic
  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    In 2019, I lived and worked most of my time in one state. Later in the year, I moved to another state, but I did not work. I earned no income whatsoever in the second state. Do I still need to file a state tax return for the second state?

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    @Hevach I'd recommend talking to a CPA, but what @localh77 said seems sufficient

    @Klein you likely do still need to file a return. I earn all my income in another state but still pay taxes to both states because there's no reciprocal agreement between them.

    Hevach
  • KleinKlein Registered User regular
    @Mugsley, thanks for the information!

  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited March 22
    So... More questions on my situation above. First doctor got us the W2, so that's all good. Other one, though...

    Took Mugsley's advice and took what we had to the CPA Tuesday. They fiddled with the numbers and couldn't come up with any combination of withholding that made the checks work out (the fact that they were all an even dollar amount concerned him).

    So, what we found out digging:

    Doctor does NOT have a 2019 or 2020 business license for the address
    Doctor's LLC is not in good standing since 2016*
    Doctor does NOT currently have a federal tax ID
    Doctor DOES have a state tax ID, but it's tied to the LLC that hasn't filed annual papers since 2013*
    Now both *'s raise questions as this was ostensibly a NEW practice opened last year
    All contact information of the practice's online presence are under the domain of a real estate shell corporation, property has massive liens on it for debts of said corp.

    CPA was able to walk in and ring the bell but nobody answered. One car in the lot regularly but no employees at the front desk and few if any patients. Is convinced something shady is up.

    Offered us a few options:

    Their recommendation: File with dr.#1 and mine, ignore #2, or amend if we get information. If #2 reported the income our liability is only around 120 since bounced paychecks didn't actually get dated until January so three of seven paychecks won't even be under this tax year.
    File with #2 and assume what we got is everything with no withholding - the technically legal action if #2 didn't do their job (meaning they were underpaying and not actually withholding taxes), lose that 120 right now.
    File with #2 and kind of fiddle out the withholding. Could backfire if #2 didn't report the income, will be roughly a wash on the return.

    Still don't know what the fuck to do, so I told the well paid professional I'll get back with him this week while I ask internet randos what the fuck all this is.

    Hevach on
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    To be honest, for that little of a difference, I'd probably just file without it. If anything, the argument would be that your withholding was about enough to cover the tax you would have owed on that income anyway. And it seems unlikely that you'll ever see a W-2, but on the off chance that you did, you could always amend.

    If it were a bigger amount, I'd suggest filing that 4852. But if I were preparing a client's return, I'd probably charge $120+ just for that form, so it doesn't seem like it's worth messing with.

    CaulddavidsdurionsHevach
  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    Maybe check what at least one other CPA would recommend? If anything, just as a sanity check.

    I've had to file amended returns before and while they're a little work, they're not that bad.

    Hevach
  • HevachHevach Registered User regular
    edited March 27
    A stroke of bad luck gave us a pretty solid reason to believe doctor #2 was pocketing the witholdings. While my wife was off work we temporarily qualified for food stamps with 5 people on just my income. After we went back off assistance we got accused of fraud because we didn't report $1.22 of interest from 2018. I fought the appeal and won but I realized something: DHHS's evidence included all income anyone reported on us to either the state or IRS for the last five years.

    Everything else from 2019 was there, doctor #2 WAS NOT.

    Went ahead and filed without it.

    Thanks for those who offered advice, this is a fucked up situation and I hope I never have to sort out something like this again.

    Hevach on
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    Whats the official word on paying your taxes? We've already submitted them but the longer we can hold on to what we owe is probably best.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
  • Pixelated PixiePixelated Pixie Cupcake Sorceress Registered User regular
    MegaMan001 wrote: »
    Whats the official word on paying your taxes? We've already submitted them but the longer we can hold on to what we owe is probably best.

    Federal you have until July 15 to pay without penalty or interest. State varies - some have extended to match the fed, some have not.

    Inquisitor77
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Heyyyyyyy, so my husband is currently unemployed and we aren't sure how to get his HSA form because that's something we would have done through his employer and even then it was a giant burning pain in the ass. I need to fill this thing out but I need the HSA info. Is there another way to get it? The site for inactive insurance plan still works, but doesn't have that info.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    If you don't have easy access to the amount of HSA distributions during 2019, I would probably just go ahead and file without it. What would likely happen is that you'll get an IRS letter at some point asking for clarification. It'll be in the form of a bill, for whatever the extra tax on (for example) $743 worth of non-qualified HSA distributions is. And at that point you can just respond that all $743 was used for qualified medical expenses, and you should be good to go.

    Or if it's a matter of tracking down his HSA contributions, those should show up in box 12 of the W-2.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    We have used literally none of it ever, it's in 12a?

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    Yeah, box 12 is often just informational, most people don't use anything in there. But yeah, the company is supposed to report HSA contributions in box 12, code W, I think. You can basically just ignore it, though, assuming you didn't contribute to the HSA outside of payroll. (It's rare to see both, but in theory, you could put $100/mo into your HSA through payroll, and another $50/mo directly into the HSA. And you'd end up with $1200 in box 12 of the W-2, and then you would get a deduction on your 1040 for the extra $600. But for most people, it's just the $1200, and they ignore it, since they essentially already deducted it, in the form of reduced W-2 wages)

    So for most people, the only thing that matters is the distributions. And only because if you don't report them, the IRS won't have any choice but to assume they were not qualified. But that can always be cleared up later, if you don't have any easy way to get a hold of the distribution amount.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 18
    Just to make sure I understand, the contents 12a should likely be what I'm looking for? I have two W2s with a 12a and now that you mention it, they both have Less cafe HSA blah blah (W box 12) under adjustments.

    I have two W2s here because the company "divested" (lol) in the first half of the year, both have a 12a with "W" code and the second has a 12b with "DD". There will likely be no answers from the company that did the first W2, and the second laid him off in March and getting answers was always tricky at best even when he was employed. A quick search tells me it's the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage? I don't even know where the hell I'm supposed to put that.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 18
    I don't even see where 12b would go, I'm using Tax Act this year and with both W2s imported I don't see the number in 12b on the preview anywhere at all, or where you'd put it on the 1040. I do not want to pay for the upgrade if it won't amount to anything but I have no idea what the effect of it would be.

    edit: it looks like DD doesn't really go on your return anyway, so I just need to make sure W does, and it does look like that made it without further input from me. It looks like that's more or less all I need to do for my return? Thanks localh77 <3

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    Yeah, no worries. Sounds like you figured it out. You're right, 12 DD doesn't go anywhere on the return. It's just sort of letting the employee know how much their health insurance cost, just for reference, I guess.

    And yep, if you put 12 W in the software, I think it should add Form 8889 to return, but make no change to your overall refund/bill. So sounds like you should be good to go.

    ceres
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