Monday, February 6, 2012

Credit for Your Loss

Most of us are slogging through our taxes this time of year. The absurdity of some of it can make anyone scratch their head. Homeowners can only claim a million dollars of mortgage interest per year on their primary residence; now that is a limitation that few in my circle are impacted by. As huge as our 2011 medical expenses were, such a small percentage of the total is deductible that we can't deduct one red cent. Medical expenses for the chronically ill should be 100% deductible! Roughly 37 percent of my federal disability is paid back to the grantor in taxes. I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be easier for the fed simply send me a reduced amount, since I have to give it back. I wonder what my son as a teenager would have said if I gave him $20 for a night at the movies, but said he had to give back $5.55 at the end of the evening.
The real kick in the gut, absurdest moment of the 2011 tax prep came from the State of Oregon. I felt a little frisson, akin to finding a well-hidden Easter egg, when Turbo Tax asked if anyone in our household had lost the use of two or more limbs this year. They ask lots of obscure questions looking for deductions and rarely is yes the answer. What sort of dividend was I to earn for the inexorable deterioration of my arms and legs? I pushed the Next button and read:

Credit for Your Loss: You are eligible for a credit of up to $50 for the loss of use of your limbs.
You need a disability certification from your county public health officer for the first year you file for the credit.

So, let me see if I understand this correctly. The three men's suits we donated to Goodwill last year merit a higher 'payday' than my three limbs. And, why isn't it a per limb credit? I received a per suit credit, certainly each limb should receive equal consideration and commensurate compensation. It is also interesting to consider that as a donatee I designate the condition of an item, which determines the amount of deduction. In Oregon, to merit my $50 I have to get out of my hospital bed, go to the public health department and be certified Utterly Ridiculous. (Did you know that wheelchair taxis charge $75 on average).
I have no plans for this blog to be political, but if you think the Loss of Limb deduction should be revisited to a higher amount and different documentation, please consider forwarding this on to your OR state senator.


mary Thomas said...


Have Myelin? said...

OMG is right...

And Alex just informed me he will owe IRS approximately $450 additional in income tax (OMG) and he's barely above the poverty level.

Now let me all of our politican's tax returns again?