Tax time is always interesting to see the inner workings of our thoughtful Uncle Sam. He's not the brightest bulb in the box. My case is an excellent example of why we need tax reform. Behold, the unmarried SAHD!
Kelly makes most of the income in our house. She supports us both (bless her!) and claims the children on her taxes. But, we're unmarried, so we can't file jointly. Thus, I have to file as a single taxpayer.
I worked seasonally in 2012 at the museum...for maybe 2.5 months on weekends. Which generates enough income that I have to file. But not enough to make me look like a productive member of society.
Bring in the Earned Income Credit. It's meant to encourage people to work...not something I really need. I actually didn't claim it a few years back and they send you a letter asking you to please claim it. Really? If you insist.
So the amount Uncle Sam originally took out of my paycheck was actually quite reasonable. I want roads and bridges and high speed trains and all that. Of course, I'm eligible to get it back. PLUS, because the EIC is refundable the federal government actually wants to pay me more than I actually paid in taxes by giving me a federal tax refund GREATER than the amount I actually paid in via payroll taxes.
This is not a smart system. I mean, I'm a good human being...but I'm not THAT good. I suppose I could really be holy and say, "no thanks." But I'm guessing few people do that. But wait, there's more.
Because of the Affordable Care Act and the tax penalties for not having healthcare which go into effect next year, this tax season you can expect a little warning and advice from your tax prep service. And it turns out that I'm eligible for Medicaid! Probably not your stereotypical Medicaid recipient, I realize.
Granted, that's one of the issues Kelly and I face is wanting me to have some health insurance going forward. I've been holding out hope for very lowcost, reasonable rates in the new health insurance exchanges. Medicaid isn't exactly well-funded, you know. It hardly seems fair that I get medical services when at least in theory I'd be taking away from some old granny who needs a nursing home.
But, then again, it's not fair that in our society I'm taking care of the kids full time but left without insurance myself.
So, there you go. Welcome to the world of the unmarried Stay At Home Dad. In reality, I change diapers, do laundry, do dishes, vacuum, play nose beeping, wrestle with my son, feed them, bathe them, keep them alive, teach them colors and numbers, trim their fingernails.
On paper, I look like a low income slacker who probably should be filing unemployment claims, too. The government thinks I'm in poverty and need assistance. Only problem is the assistance I really need and want--unmarried equality and equal treatment under the law--is the hardest to get.