Taxes Filed

Today I gathered up all my documents and sat down and did my taxes.

Tax Software, H&R Block, taxes, April 15For the past years I have been using software from H&R Block, and it has really simplified the process.

Tax Software, H&R Block, Tax PrepI usually get a couple copies of the software in the mail. However, I could have just gone to the store and bought it or gone online and downloaded it.

The copies I get in the mail are mainly just advertising as they are CDs and many people don’t even have CDs in their computers anymore. The first thing that the software does is download the most current version anyway.

Frank Andrea Miller - Easier Taxes - Editorial Cartoon - Cartoonist - Frank Miller - Des Moines RegisterSee Simpler Taxes? for more about the cartoon above.

Then it is pretty simple. I just follow the prompts and update the numbers from my standard entries from the year before.

When I don’t have any major life events, it is pretty much the same from the year before. How much did I earn, how much interest, how did my mutual funds do, what interest and taxes did I pay and you much did I give to charity.

I usually get a good refund, but was not expecting one this year. I paid a lot less mortgage interest and knew that with the tax changes decreasing withholding this year it would reduce the refund. It was nice to have a little bit more take home pay during the year but I knew I probably wouldn’t get the same refund.

In the end I had to pay a little bit to both Federal and State. The State payment is then a credit on the Federal next year, and if I hadn’t received a refund from the State last year I would have received a refund from Federal this year. It was that close.

Now if they would only use my tax dollars a bit more carefully.





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Thinking of Hamburg, Iowa

Tonight I am thinking of Hamburg, Iowa. I am also thinking of friends in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri as well as they are all dealing with flooding.

Hamburg, Iowa Main Street - Flagpole in intersectionI have been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook in the last day about the rising levels of the Missouri River. It is at flood stage in many places and even at record levels at places like Brownville.

Flag Pole in Intersection - Hamburg, IowaI remember well the floods of 1993 and how high the water was. I also remember seeing a lot of the flooding. With water even higher I can just imagine how bad it will be.

Desoto Lake, Missouri River Change, Border AnomalyOf course the Missouri River has a very long history of flooding and over the years it has created new channels during floods. It is highly unlikely that river course changes will occur today as the river channel has been straightened in many places over the years. However, with floods of historic proportion things happen.

McKissick Island, Nebraska in Missouri, Missouri River, Course Change, Oxbow LakeThis map shows Hamburg in the upper center. You can see how close it is to the Missouri River and also the outline of how the river used to make a large bend.

You can read more about this in Missouri River Border Anomalies.

I remember seeing this area during the 1993 flood, and most of the area between I-29 and the river was flooded.

NASA Earth Observatory, Hamburg, Iowa, Flood, 2011In 2011 several levees broke near Hamburg and the flood waters came very close to the town. The image above is from the NASA Earth Observatory.

Tonight they are again sandbagging in Hamburg as the flood waters rise. Hopefully they will be able to keep the town from flooding.

Interstate 29 has been closed from Council Bluffs, Iowa all the way south to Rockport, Missouri.

So many memories are flooding back tonight as I think of the floods.

One more to share. At the time of the 1993 floods I was working for a packaging company in Kansas City. While away on a trip our office was flooded. Fortunately the water was not too deep but it was a mess. The flooding, and how the company handled some of the damaged products, was one of the contributors for me to start looking for a new job. I am still at that new job after 25 years.

Keep my friends who are along the Missouri River in your thoughts as they go through another round of flooding.


Update: Saturday Night 3/16

The area of Hamburg along and south of Hwy 333 has been evacuated due to a levee break southwest of town.

Hamburg, Iowa, Flood, Levee Break, Flooding

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