Taxes are done!

I started getting my taxes prepared and entered into TurboTax over the past month. Now that it is March I was pretty sure I had all my forms and went ahead and filed this morning. I got free e-filing through State Farm so I should have my return pretty quick. I’ve got almost $3000 coming back my way this year; that higher standard deduction for married filing jointly really helps. Anybody else getting their hard earned money back from Uncle Sam?

2007 TurboTax Deluxe free for State Farm Customers

Updated 1/21/09: See my new post for 2008 taxes

I started looking around for TurboTax on the cheap since good old tax time is coming soon. Turns out I’m not going to have to pay for tax software this year at all and neither do you if you have a State Farm policy. Just log into your State Farm account and there will be a fairly innocuous looking “FREE tax filing” link on the left. This sends you to the TurboTax website where you can select TurboTax Deluxe, create an account and fill out your federal and state returns online.

To top things off you get free e-file for both returns which normally costs $15 a pop. Not a bad deal. Just remember to go through State Farm’s website when you go to file and it won’t try to charge you. If you don’t have a very complicated return like me then this could be a good alternative to paying an accountant.

The Downey Housing Bubble

Dr. Housing Bubble featured Downey this week in an edition of Real Homes of Genius that shows just how screwed up things are in housing right now. I couldn’t buy a house even if I wanted to and it’s not like I’m making minimum wage. As long as prices are out of touch with people’s incomes prices will drop and drop. And on another note I don’t think the fact that we just hit a 2 year unemployment rate high is completely unrelated.

“The greatest weakness in December employment came from sectors battered by the housing slump: construction payrolls lost 49,000 jobs, while manufacturing fell by 31,000 and financial services employment declined by 4,000.”

Is it Better to Buy or Rent?

Came across this nice calculator at the NY Times that lets you fill in a number of parameters to help make decisions about renting or buying. While prices are out of whack compared to income you are better off renting and investing the difference (if you have anything left over each month) rather than buying. With prices dropping, inventory rising, and more and more loans resetting into the middle of next year that might change. As prices come down to realistic levels over the next few years it might not be a bad time to think about buying. This calculator can help you make a decision based on your particular situation.

Is It Better to Buy or Rent?