Death and Taxes


Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 10.43.35 PMI’ve been forced to learn quite a few things since my father died in October.  The easiest part has been dealing with the social security flip to my mother’s accounts.  This was basically handled automatically, when the funeral home applied for his death certificate.  That was the easy part.  The next part, dealing with probate is straight into the unknown.  The parents’ have a good trust attorney, so I’m not worried.  That’s the easy part.  It’s dealing with taxes that is the nightmare.

After crunching numbers today, and talking to our realtor, then the CPA, the news is grim.  I truly have a new appreciation of the taxpayer ire aimed at John Lackland during Richard’s hiatus from England while crusading.  Heck, I’d like to shoot a few rhetorical arrows into the air and watch them land in a few rhetorical rears of elected officials everywhere, no matter what the party.  No matter how the numbers are crunched, no matter what how we tinker with the asking price of the canyon property, I’m going to end up shelling out 50% of the check for local, state, federal, and capital gain taxes.  Sorry, but that’s not right.

Oh, you might say, it is a fair share, but is it when the super rich and mega corporations are going to be paying negative taxes on their billions. But, get a nice chunk of a few hundred thousand and you’re soaked.  The more you look at it, no matter which political side, it is as if the middle class is to be destroyed, and only a few mega mouth billionaires will end up not groveling in the gutter.  I spent the afternoon looking up 2015 tax rates.  It looks like, by soaking we the little people, something like $618 billion or so will be raised.  Oh, it’s even better when we know that the ultra rich are sitting on a couple trillion in banks or off-shore, and not paying taxes on it.  Yet, I must cough up close to half of the sale of my parents’ property because of a lovely little tax bracket.

No, it isn’t fair.  It isn’t a fair share, either.  The money I must use to pay taxes on my mother’s real estate should be going to help care for her these next years.  Forget that. I can get deductions for medical improvements to her house – and they are much needed.  Ten thousand here and there and it starts adding up, to the point where I was wondering if I was going to be able to make those repairs.  I can also make the energy improvements that need to be made, and get good deductions for those.

I may or may not be killed by capital gains.  I think I’m okay here in New Mexico, but am not sure about the South Carolina property.

Sure, we all need to pay taxes, but why do the ultra wealthy and big corporations get away with not paying, while those of us who are in the middle, are bled dry?

Sorry, but my love of British history gets the best of me, even if I am descended from King John (ouch) on three of four sides.