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... and HRBlock giveth back

Posted in: Diary

I'm absurdly happy to report that HRBlock screwed up my taxes.

See: The tax man giveth, the tax man taketh away

I went to HRBlock because I knew taxes this year were going to be difficult. I bought a house and I did a cashless exercise of stock options (my company gives me stock options each year because I'm a good employee. I have the option to buy some stocks at $2/share and then turn around and sell that same shares for $14/share. It's nice for quick, semi-risk free cash.. but the gov't takes a big bite of it). Turns out that the gal I worked with at HRBlock didn't know how to handle this either. So she ended up counting it twice as income (overstating my income by quite a lot). I even asked her twice if she was sure that was the way to do it.. she assured me that it was. HA!

Smith and Barney, the stock purchase company, sent a summary of the transaction and a helpful brochure that shows how to account for it on your taxes. I haven't yet figured out the exact difference.. I'm hoping to go back into the HRBlock office today or tomorrow to get this worked out. At the very least, I hope that my State tax bill of $1500 will go away. I think we could do quite a lot with $1500.

When we bought the house, the PO was required to pass the city inspection (It's a San Pablo city rule). It turns out that they hadn't -actually- passed this inspection. About a week ago I got an all-official looking letter from the city stating that we weren't in compliance because we hadn't passed the final inspection. I called the city. It turns out that Mr. O and realtor had never setup the final inspection (probably because they were waiting for the electrical and window work to finish). Their contractor has been dragging his heels on the window and electrical work since December.

I setup the final inspection for 3/22 and called Mr. O's realtor to inform her that this would be happening. I hoped that she'd light a fire under the contractor to get the work done. It worked!

Well the inspection happened, and we didn't pass. I notified Mr. O's realtor and she assured me that she'll take care of these items.

Why we didn't pass city inspection:
- Need permits for final siding. Someone (probably before Mr. O) installed (icky) vinyl siding on the house but never got a permit for this work. The city wants there to be a permit. At some point in the future I want to remove the vinyl and (hopefully) restore the wood siding. I wonder if I'll need a permit for that?
- The inspector couldn't tell if the bathroom window was tempered. To pass the inspection, Mr. O replaced that window.. I suspect he'll just have to provide documentation that the glass is tempered.
- The initial inspection stated that 5 windows need to be replaced. Mr. O only replaced 4 of them (3 in the bedrooms and 1 in the bathroom). They'll need to identify and replace this other window. I'm hoping it's the 4th bedroom window.. but I suspect it's the kitchen window.
- The final cut over to the new electrical box is not done. This isn't surprising since the electrical work was only just barely completed. I expect this to happen in short order.

The wires are to the left of the door and run to the garage. You can also see here the minty-green siding that is gone now that the new bigger windows are installed.

- The wires from house to garage are not up to code. They need to either bring them up to code or move them underground. Right now there are 3 wires that run from the back door to the garage. They're just bare wires dangling in space. When I viewed the house, Mr. O's realtor assured me that they were taking those down and running them underground. Hopefully that's what will happen shortly.

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