Sunday, March 18, 2012
I'm Loving Our Taxes This Year!!!
Yeah, I know, that sounds funny! Some would say for me to say that means I'm not in my right mind, but let me explain and I think you'll agree with me.
For many years now my husband and I have lived in a sweet parsonage that is provided to us with utilities (water, electric, gas) free of charge. It's a package deal with my husband's salary from the church. We love the house, but this has been the first time in our years of ministry that we have lived in a parsonage. We had no idea all that living in one entailed, especially to our taxes.
According to Uncle Sam and the IRS living in this sweet little house of ours is considered a perk, a bonus, and that means we have to pay taxes on that bonus. Actually it is considered income, like we physically were given cash. The cost of those taxes on this bonus is based on a few things like the fair market rental value of the property and the cost of the utilities for the property. I thought living near Lake Michigan was such a wonderful thing until Uncle Sam explained it differently to me. Since we live so close to the lake (aprox 1/2 mile) and some major tourist attractions the fair market rental value of the house is much higher than if we lived even 1 mile farther inland.
All that to say that when all the numbers are added up it almost doubles the amount of my husband's salary paid by the church. Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining. I understand how it all works and why it does, it's just rough. The reason it is rough is because depending on what new tax law has been passed or changed what we owe the government can be pretty significant. Yes, I did say owe, and a lot! It can range anywhere from $2,000 to over $4,000!! When you live on a very tight budget it can be rough.
Every year the Lord has provided that money for us in one way or another and we have always been able to pay what we owe, sometimes through the payment plan, but always paid! That's important to us to honor that debt.
Well this year we were a little nervous about the taxes. We knew God was going to take care of it for us, but just couldn't see how in any way. And this is where the Lord taught me some pretty neat things. If you have been reading along with my blog you know back in December I had a slight stroke. With that stroke came lots of medical bills, and since we are some of the many who do not have health insurance we knew paying those bills off was going to take time. We would just tighten our belts a little bit and get the job done. But then it hit us, there would also be taxes on top of those bills. OUCH!!
So we did what almost everyone does, or should do, we prayed! We prayed hard! No matter how hard we looked over the money and the budget we just could not see where the money was going to come from. Paying any of those bills off was going to be hard and long!! And we let our humanness get in the way and worried some. Ugh! But we continued praying, even if in a little less belief, that it would be done. "Oh ye of little faith" could have been our slogan for a few weeks.
That's when God chose to remind us of just how BIG He really is! We received a letter from the hospital that just about shocked us. My entire hospital bill was paid for. All of it!! I'm not allowed to say how, but let me tell you it was nothing short of a miracle.
But it gets even better. My husband found out about a man who does taxes near us that we had never used before. We talked about it and decided we should have some fresh eyes go over our numbers this year. He had all the info for less than two weeks and called us to let us know he had our forms ready. I hate to admit that Rick went in with a little fear and trepidation! How many thousands this year to the federal government? How many hundreds to the state?
He came home that night and chit chatted about a few things making me wonder if he was just hiding the bad news from me. Then he let me know the final numbers. We were going to owe the state $92. I was shocked after the number in previous years came close to being $1,000! He said later my mouth actually did fall open when he told me.
Then he pulled out the form with the federal return. He looked and hemmed and hawed over finding the numbers. And he said, "Well the total for the federal taxes is $798." I almost squealed and then he stopped me. He said the $798 was what the federal government was refunding us! Yes, I said refund!! All that could come out of my mouth was Praise God!
It's been nine years since we had any kind of a refund. God really did do something BIG this year for us and yes, I am loving our taxes!! I am also so thankful to a Lord who does not forget us and does provide in ways that we never, ever suspect!
So how do you feel about your taxes? Better yet, how do you feel about a God who never lets us down?