Tuesday, March 23, 2004

If only we could make this work at the federal level...

Brace yourself. I've found a government that (gasp!) works!

For whatever archaic reasons, Pennsylvania does not collect income taxes for municipalities, i.e., the 3% I pay to the Commonwealth stays at the Commonwealth level. This means that most Pennsylvania residents end up filing at least three separate tax returns: federal, state, and local.

Now, Tamara and I moved from Pittsburgh to McCandless last year, which complicates things a bit. Between us, there are five returns: federal, state, Pittsburgh, and one each for McCandless (which does not have a married-filing-jointly status). Pittsburgh, though, loves to be annoying; to get off their tax list, you have to take a form to your local tax collector, who has to certify that you're a resident in their municipality and that you've paid $X in taxes, blah blah blah.

Furthermore, Tamara's W-2 forms were strangely incorrect with regard to her salary while in Pittsburgh vs. McCandless.

Anyway, I brought all of this to the town hall today to see what they could make of it. First, everyone there was friendly and helpful. That's just weird to begin with. Second, they have their crap together. The lady who certified the form for Pittsburgh was able to look everything up and signed it on the spot -- no waiting!

Finally, they took our McCandless forms and proceeded to check them for me while I was there! They pointed out that I used the wrong figure for one spot and redid the calculations for me! It ended up not making a difference in the end, but they took the time to explain why they wanted the different number (state vs. Social Security wages).


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