“Death, taxes, and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” ~ Margaret Mitchell
With the deadline for filing 2017 income tax returns fast approaching, I wanted to share my (I hope) last experience filing jointly with my narc.
For those outside the United States and unfamiliar with the U.S. tax system, the deadline to file income tax is April 15; the W-2 is a form an employer must send to an employee and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and that reports the employee’s wages and taxes withheld for the previous year; the W-4 is a form actually completed by the employee and it is used by his or her employer to withhold the proper amount of federal income tax from his or her paycheck; a 1098 is a form that details the amount of interest and mortgage-related expenses paid on a mortgage during the tax year, expenses that can be used as deductions on an income tax form called Schedule A, which reduces taxable income and the overall amount owed to the IRS.
Also, married couples have the choice to file their income tax return jointly or individually. Most couples file jointly as it makes sense financially; however, there are some rare exceptions where it might be more convenient to file individually.
Every January, my husband goes into this giddy frenzy about taxes. Yes, giddy. You read that right. He might be the only American who enjoys taxes and jury duty.
He gets all giddy because of the money he is going to get back. My take on that, if you are getting any money back, then you are lending the Government money and you are doing so free of interest. If you have to pay them, you miscalculated your deductions on your W-4. If you break even or you are within a couple of hundred dollars of having to pay them or them paying you, then I take my hat off for you because that’s the best you can do, I think. I believe you should aim to break even. Not always possible, but it should be our goal when it comes to income tax.
Year after year, we invariable get money back. And I’m talking about several thousands. That was money that could have stayed in our pockets during the year. That is money that could have been invested , put into our daughter’s savings account, or be used for something we needed. Instead, we loaned it to the U.S. Government and did so free of interest. Try to get a loan from a bank that is completely free of interest. Good luck with that. But we did. We did with the U.S. Government, one of the richest entities in the world. Them and Oprah. Or the Amazon guy. Whoever and whomever.
Anyway, I’m getting sidetrack and I’m not a certified public accountant (CPA,) nor am I planning to ever become one. I’m not that good with numbers. But I can balance my checkbook well enough to know when getting those many thousands of dollars back in our income tax return is stupid.
But I shouldn’t be surprised. Talk to any survivor of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and they will tell you that their narcs were horrible with money.
My husband has always been a Scrooge. I have written about it before, not once, but twice, if not more. But he would also spend money on things he wanted, no matter how much we needed something else. I’m not going to repeat myself. The point I’m trying to make is that he spends when he wants, he hides money when it’s convenient to him, and he would deny money when we needed it.
But when it came to taxes and January, oh, dear! He would drive me bonkers every January with no exception.
He would set up the appointment with the CPA for before January 31. If you have ever been employed in the U.S.A., then you know that your employer is not required to mail you your W-2 until January 31. My employer would always mail our W-2’s on January 30 or 31. Never before. So how we were supposed to meet with the CPA before January 31 when we still needed my W-2 in order to file?
And he would get upset if I didn’t have my W-2 on time. How was I supposed to get it on time? Go all the way to the state where my company’s headquarters are, knock on their doors, and force them to give it to me? Maybe, I don’t know.
He would always ask about my donations. He wouldn’t make a single donation to save his own life. But he would make a point to remind me about getting all the donations I might have made lined up so we could deduct those.
Since he had paid off his place, which was our marital home, he would either forget that I needed to wait for my 1098 form to be mailed in, or he would start to ask about it since I am still paying the mortgage for the house I own from before we got married and to which I moved back once the court allowed me to move out during our divorce.
But with our impending divorce and us still not divorced by the end of 2017, we needed to decide what to do about our income tax. Not that I was looking forward to it, as you can imagine.
January came and I got a note from him on Our Family Wizard about our taxes. You can imagine my delight, can’t you? He wanted to file jointly.
My attorney had advised me to file individually. I have two friends who have or are still working for the IRS. They both gave me good advise, not necessarily for one or the other way. My preference would have been to file individually. However, this divorce has put me in a bad financial spot. Filing jointly made more sense as it would have been more expensive filing individually. What I’m trying to say is that we were more likely to owe the IRS money by filing individually than doing so jointly.
His note was quite extensive. I never like his extensive notes. They mean something bad is lurking.
He went on and on about the advantages of filing jointly for the last time and then he said that he had already set up an appointment with our CPA and he was asking me to confirm if I agreed; otherwise, he was going to go on his own on that day and file his income tax return individually.
By the way, I was never able to figure out how he could have all the paperwork in place and in his hands so early in the year. I always had to wait for one or another piece of paper well into February. Once again, this is not under my control. It has always been in the hands of my employers and my lenders.
After talking to my friends and attorney, I eventually decided to file jointly as I couldn’t afford to file individually. And while I could use some money if we were to get any back, I secretly wished not to get anything in return and have to pay the IRS something back.
Yes, you probably think I had gone bonkers to think that way. But I was so fed up with the whole January Taxes Dance with my narc husband that I couldn’t stomach one more year of his giddy dances and laughter because he was getting money back.
Either way, I sent him a reply saying that I would file jointly with him, but I couldn’t make it on that day and that he would have to wait for February, reminding him that my employer had never once mailed my W-2 any earlier than January 31.
The whole exchange that followed was such a controlling one. I’ll spare you the details. So pushy and controlling. The funny thing is that, every time I would receive yet another note concerning our income tax return, I kept remembering many of the times when he had called me controlling, especially the times in court.
I could hardly interject anything when it came to our taxes for 2017. He wanted to see the CPA when he wanted to see him. He was upset because I couldn’t come up with all the paperwork. He kept on telling me what to do with our daughter on the day he had scheduled the appointment for. And on and on and on.
But the crown goes to the #1 proposal he had, as follows,
“I’ll have the IRS deposit our tax refund in my account. I’ll then write you a check for half of what we will get back, minus your half for the CPA’s fees.” ~ Narc Husband
Control freak, anyone?
This was once again another attempt to control me, like he is doing with our daughter’s medical expenses, which we are supposed to be covering 50-50 and I have to constantly be reminding him to pay me back or pay his part so the collectors stop sending me final notices. He wanted me to beg. But I was not going to. Not this time.
I just didn’t even bother to reply. First, there was no guarantee we were going to get any money back. Second, I was already a step ahead.
We always e-file and the IRS can take up to 3 (three) bank accounts where to send the refund, if any. Therefore, I was going to knock his controlling plan out right there in front of the CPA.
When the CPA told us we were getting a refund, he (the CPA) asked if we could confirm the bank account. And that’s where I took my checkbook out and asked him to put my account on the file together with his and set it up to 50-50.
You should have seen my husband’s face!!! He was first surprised, then a bit angry. And it didn’t end there. When the CPA told us how much we owed him, I quickly wrote him a check for my half of his fees. I think this was the only thing that my husband was somewhat happy and fine about. Me, on the other hand, I was happy that this would probably be, I cross my fingers, the last marital thing I will ever have to do with him, particularly because it was still making me feel his control over me.
While my road to financial recovery will be a hard one, I know that I can make strides once I will have finally broken the last chains linking me to him. I cannot take control of my finances until I am legally divorced. I’m stuck at this time. I cannot refinance my house. I cannot refinance my car loan. I cannot sell my car. I cannot sell my house. I cannot do anything without him having to sign a waiver. It’s a lot easier, however not financially advantageous, to just wait until the divorce is final.
To close this post, if you e-file your tax return, know that there’s an option to provide more than one account for the IRS to directly deposit your refund, if one is available. In this way, you have the option to prevent your narc from controlling when and if you get any of it. I wanted to share that tip along.