The Tax Situation

Hey y'all it's tax time. Are you looking forward to your refund checks? I know a lot of my friends are really excited and have big plans with what to do with their refund checks. Tax time can be almost exciting for some of you.

Let me tell you a little about tax time for Ariana and I. Yes, I have to include my 3 year old in this, you'll see why in a second.

First, I dread tax time because of an incident last year. I went on the closest post here, APG to have my taxes done by the military. It's free and you'd think they'd know what they were doing with military issues. Well... APG is not done by the military, it's done by volunteers and we ran into several snaffus. They couldn't really figure out what to do with Ariana or myself. So they send us up to the in charge guy. From the items in his office it appeared he was a retired Captain in the Army. Ok, maybe he can help. He asks me some questions. Now here's the thing. I don't talk about money. I don't talk about taxes. Most the time I don't understand this sort of stuff. I know, it's pitiful, it's terrible but it's me. So I tell him that I have to call my mom because I have a couple questions I can't answer. He proceeds to YELL at me about needing to know this stuff on my own because I'm old enough and my husband's been gone long enough. Thanks a lot jerk. I'm sorry that I don't understand my money, I'm sorry that I need help with that aspect of my life, I do realize that I should be better at it however how is it your place to yell at me and chastise me for a weakness that I'm actively trying to fix?! My mom ended up coming down and helping me and I walked out of the office crying because I couldn't take it anymore. Awesome.

SO that brings us to this year. This year, I have admittedly waited until the last minute to do my taxes. I knew I should probably bring them on post since they're the ones who did them last year, but I waited so long when I called it just had a message that all the appointments were full. Probably for the best, I don't think I could have handled that dude again. I waited so long out of shear dread for the same situation to occur. Anyway, I go and I get my taxes looked at by a couple people. And here is what we found (yes, this lengthy story is all leading up to this, sorry, I know I should have just cut to the chase but whatever)

Ariana. My THREE YEAR OLD daughter. Has to pay out for taxes.

Let me say this again, in case you're afraid you didn't read it right: MY 3 YEAR OLD OWES TAXES.

A quick WTF can be inserted here. And then let me follow up by saying it is NOT UNCOMMON FOR CHILDREN OF THE FALLEN TO PAY OUT IN TAXES.  Nearly every widow I know with children has to pay taxes in their children's name(s).

So. The government (as the money that gets taxed is Survivor Benefit Plan - SBP - issued by DFAS aka DoD) gives our kids this money for their parent having been killed and then they're like "Oh, hey, give it back." As if these children haven't given enough. As if their fathers haven't give the ultimate sacrifice for this country, and more needs to be paid from us?!

Yes, yes, I know taxes are important and there is a reason we have them. I also don't want to come across like I'm just "entitled" because I'm a military widow. BUT MY THREE YEAR OLD?!

So let's put numbers on this, shall we? She owes $329 federal tax and she owes $289 to the state. That is $618 my THREE YEAR OLD owes in taxes this year. I'm sorry, but, you've got to be shittin' me.
And get this, there is a Maryland state exemption for payments from a pension system to the surviving spouse or other beneficiary of a law enforcement office or firefighter whose death arises out of or in the course of their employment but NO EXEMPTION for beneficiaries of military KIA. 

Let me add in that these amounts are AFTER we've already selected to have a percentage of taxes withheld from her checks so that we would avoid this situation. So now this year, we've upped the amount in hopes we don't have to deal with it. However, there's no option to have money taken out for state tax, only federal. 

One of the things I don't understand is whenever her taxes have been done this year, it applies an Alternative Minimum Tax. I really want someone to explain this to me. One of the "tax professionals" told us it was basically "a tax for when they don't have anything else to tax you on," if this is true, it's just an excuse to add a tax to my baby girl?! Come. On.

So here's where I need y'all. Because I'm not into "money stuff" or "government stuff" and this crosses the line into both... WHAT CAN BE DONE. Like I said, this does not just pertain to just Ariana and I. This is nearly every military widow with children. Our amounts are different, of course, but just about every military widow with children that I have spoke to, has to pay out in taxes for the child. There has got to be some way to stop this. Why is their survivor money taxed in the first place, when it's given to CHILDREN??? Now, the survivor money can be given to adults, however, there is an OFFSET between the SBP (DoD) and the DIC (Dependent Indemnity Compensation - VA) that really screws with the adults so from what I understand not many widows without children receive SBP or if they do it's a very small amount. (This is also a HUGE problem, but I know there are widows working on this in Washington and we are doing some lobbying in Washington to stop that nonsense). So my question remains... what can be done? So that these KIDS who do not work, are not taxed?! So that these KIDS who are being "compensated" for their parents' deaths don't have to turn around and return that compensation. It's almost like a big fat slap in the face. "Hey, we appreciate what your father/mother did for us so we'll compensate you for your loss. But then, we'd really like you to give it back. We, the government, probably really don't care." That's how it frickin' feels and I am NOT OKAY WITH IT ANY LONGER!

Edited to include:
If there is something we (all us widow moms) can be doing to "over ride" the taxes our kids owe, (I.E. any credits or exemptions) please let us know. Of course, I would love it to be fixed at the root in the fact that the kids owe at all, however, if there is something we can be doing when we file to legally get around it we'd love to hear about it!


  1. Totally and completely understand. There has to be a way to stop this madness.

  2. I am really sorry that you're having to deal with this nonsense. I don't think that you should have to feel okay with it.

    I don't know much about tax things either, but I would suggest speaking to a Tax Attorney if you haven't already.

    I hope that you (all of you widow moms) are able to find some answers before next year.


  3. Wow. That's really, REALLY shitty. I'd like to say I'm surprised that our government does this, but I'm really not :( I'm sorry Rachel.

  4. That's nuts that there are exemptions for others like police and fire, but not military. Unreal.

  5. I am still in shock over this. absolutely ridiculous!

  6. I plan to write to my state representative and ask why this is. It sticks in my craw, anyway, that my military sons have to pay tax on the piddly salary they receive for putting their lives on the line. But they say they are willing to participate in supporting the day-to-day running of the government. OK. But this is ridiculous. At the very least, I want to know why this is and if he is going to take a part in trying to change it. Maybe if everyone who read this did just that, there would be a segment of the House (which makes money decisions for the government) that would be more aware. I'm sure I'll do something after that, but this is where I'll start.

  7. I don't know all of the technicalities, but I have a friend with a similar situation. She has the money rolled into an education trust which has different tax benefits (also in a more veteran friendly, state, TX). We use a CPA in Towson who manages to find different ways to maximize our tax benefit, very kind (never yells, degrades, makes us feel dumb for being young) and his email is -

    I would shoot him an email and just hear him out.

    Also, as for that Capt to yell at you-he should be ashamed. Even as a volunteer he is still providing a service on post. I would file an ICE complaint, detailing everything.

    Good Luck!

  8. check your email please.
    P Howard, EA


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