I just realized that I have been doing my tax returns for 6 years now. I started back in 2006, and I was so clueless on how to do it. There were so many questions, so many things that produce some number, so many digits that appear in different boxes that I need to add and or subtract. It was very confusing. The directions look easy, but there was no way to check whether I was really doing it right or wrong. Unlike other mathematical operations, where I can grab a calculator and verify what I did, these operations were based on laws that were decided by other people and not by hard pure math. What's worse, they change every year.
So, I was glad when 2009 came, because that was the year when I qualified to be a resident for tax purposes. The thing is, once you're in the United States for five years or more, you are qualified to file tax returns as a resident, for tax purposes. And it is cumulative, so I counted the years I spent in Colorado, Hawaii, and Guam. That means that starting from the tax year of 2008 I can then file as a resident.
And you know what that means?
Yes, I can use a tax preparer that would do my taxes for free!
Of course, even if I was not yet a resident, I could have gone to an accountant and had my tax returns done, but I would have to pay for it. However, the university's business school offers free tax preparation services, but only for resident filers. Thus, it was only until 2009 that I started using their services.
So yeah, this past Saturday, I went to the business school, brought my W-2, a photo ID, my social security card, and the other documents that were needed. After waiting for about 30 minutes, they entertained my documents, and after a few more minutes and questions, voila, I am getting some of my tax money back. Yay!