(as in, Praise to the Lord)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that as soon as one's spouse leaves for some sort of extended military exercise, everything will go to hell.
I could give many examples. The time the headlight burned out on the truck as I was dropping him off for deployment #1. Or when, two days after that, the heater in the rental house broke and it was -2 degrees outside.
Or how I got to live through Alaska's snowiest winter on record while he was on deployment #2.
This time, the truck got a flat tire the day he left and I had to take it to have a patch put in ASAP. (Okay, it wasn't completely flat...).
Also, this time around, we got a letter from Jefferson City, Missouri saying we owed over $6,000.
You see, the problem with being a working military spouse is that every state has different tax laws. And sometimes you don't even know about these tax laws because no one tells you. Scott doesn't pay state taxes. But my income is taxable by the state unless I fill out paperwork stating my exemption. Alaska didn't work that way, so I'd never done it before. Missouri, apparently, required me to fill out some paperwork or pay up.
Of course, I had no idea what paperwork I needed to do. We're Alaska residents. In the military, you can claim residency wherever you want. We chose to stay "Alaskan" because, eventually, Scott will make good on that vacation property he wants there and we have the driver's licenses and all. It's just easier because we gave up our Pennsylvania residency anyway. Although, we still own a house there, so I'm not sure how that works...
I'm not exactly fluent in the ways of the financial world. But I do know that the reason why I can claim exemption is because, as a military spouse, I claim domicile in another state and the only reason I was in Missouri was because of Scott.
However, it goes without saying that I would have as much luck filling out unfamiliar, random tax documents as I would reassembling a truck engine.
Scott was leaving the day we got the notice in the mail and I had to take care of it on my own. I should add that he is the one who does our taxes. He has done our taxes from Afghanistan (twice). This is not an area where I feel comfortable.
It was dumb luck (very dumb luck) that I sent in acceptable paperwork and they sent this letter back yesterday.
Everyday, I actually dreaded the stop at the mailbox because I thought there'd be a letter saying we still owe money.
Whew. Praise the Lord, indeed.
I've already taken care of my Colorado exemption, so now I just have to remember to fill out the correct Missouri paperwork again for 2014. Cross your fingers.