Current Happenings 2002

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Year 2002

March 2

Did My Taxes on Time This Year

Well, for the first time in two years, I did my taxes on time yesterday. See Taxes 1999 and Taxes 2000 for the story of what happens if you put off filing your taxes for too long.

This year, I did them early because today is the deadline to apply for the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (see, for graduate school during the next academic school year.  For part of that application, you need to know some numbers from your federal tax return, so I did them early.  I still need to do my California state taxes.

I was curious about how much tax I have been paying the federal government over the past few years, so I made the following chart.

Year Real Income Tax Paid Percent Taxable Income Percent Employer
2001 $24,308.01 $1081 4.45% $13,866.56 7.80% Biola
2000 $27,445.04 $2591 9.44% $17,262.33 15.01% IRSC, Biola
1999 $44,846.32 $6544 14.59% $35,306.05 18.54% ICC, IRSC, Biola
1998 $40,580.63 $4244 10.46% $26,902.45 15.78% ICC, Biola
1997 $37,249.92 $4811 12.92% $28,649.92 16.79% ICC
1996 $33,896.46 $4545 13.41% $27,358.19 16.61% ICC
1995 $32,279.00 $4210 13.04% $25,879.00 16.27% Kohlenberger, ICC
1994 $29,860.00 $3658 12.25% $23,610.00 15.49% Kohlenberger

I graduated from college in May 1993, so 1994 was the first year I worked full-time.  The "Real Income" listed above is the total amount of money I got paid (from Box 1 of my W-2 forms).  That's the "real" income because that's the money I actually earned that year.  The federal government then calculates a "taxable income", and that's what the tax is based upon.  But it's sort of a made-up number, adjusted by deductions.

I claimed a "capital loss" of $1800 in 1997, then $3000 every year after that, and I will claim $2999 in 2002. That directly reduces my taxable income.  This capital loss is due to $15,000 worth of stock market folly in late 1997 and early 1998.  There's also a standardized deduction that you can deduct.  I itemized my deductions in 1998 only.

In 2001, I paid $5200 in tuition to USC, so I received the maximum $1000 tax credit -- the "Lifetime Learning Credit".  That directly reduced my taxes in 2001 by $1000.  Without that, my tax rates would have been 8.56% and 15.00%.

It's also interesting to note that I made less money in 2001 than in 1994. However, I was much happier with work in 2001 than in 1994.  I got 6 weeks off for Christmas, and three months off during the summer.  In 1994, I think I only got a few weeks off all year.  I'll have to write an article about that sometime, and an article about my employment history.

After looking at my copies of what I sent in, I realized that I forgot to put my name and social security numbers on two of the forms! (See below) Oh well, I'll find out what happens, I guess. It's stapled to my 1040, so I think it will be okay.  I hope it doesn't delay my refund.

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Created and maintained by Matthew Weathers. Last updated Apr 20, 2006.