Spent last afternoon and evening with most of my time and energy focused on one thing.
Taxes. I juggled W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, property tax records, mortgage records, IRAs, charity-donation reports, and a 1040. And I won, I think. (With the help of a computer program called TurboTax*. )
More than a year ago, I put a plan in place to reduce the taxes that are deducted from my paycheck. The goal was to reduce the amount overpaid to the government. That amount is basically an interest-free loan to the U.S. Dept. of Treasury, repaid after taxes are filed.
This appeared to work. However, I will be refunded approximately a week of pay. So there was still a small loan. Still, I note that the default level of taxation would result in nearly 3 weeks pay being refunded to me at tax time.
The same effect occurred with taxes for the State of Michigan. The scale is smaller; approximately 1 day's pay will be refunded to me.
Total tax rate was in the realm of 10% (Fed) and 3% (State). I think that the deduction rate on Federal tax was ~20%. As in, the income line after Itemized Deductions as ~80% of income. Three things accounted for this: regular tithing to a church, interest on a home mortgage, and payments made into a traditional IRA.
Afterwards, I went to a friend's house to watch a football game. Which wasn't really interesting until the stadium had an electrical problem which caused an unexpected delay in play. After this was repaired, the teams both played hard. Victory wasn't certain until the last few seconds were showing on the game clock...
*I paid money to use TurboTax, so this comment should not be construed as a commercial advertisement. Though Intuit seems pretty successful at both product quality and advertisement without the help of any bloggers...