musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Monday, February 22, 2010

ACK! Taxing Taxes!

Sigh. . . . I *finally* was able to get all of my stuff together to take our taxes to the accountant today.  Was definitely a challenge this year. . . . forms didn't come like they were supposed to, several had to be corrected, and other information had to be dug up.  Bah.
I'm the number cruncher of the house.  I make sure everything gets paid, accounts get balanced, receipts get filed, and taxes get done.  That's how it's been for many-many years.  I'm good with numbers - don't like them, I obsessess over them, and they haunt me.  But I'm good with them.  Stretching that dollar, having control over where it goes and what it covers is a mind-bender for me.  I like making things fit, accounting is just that - making the dollar fit the need and lining up all those numbers in columns.  Problem is, rather like an artist, I just keep tweaking a bit here, adding a bit more there, wishing I could alter it over here. . . I want my ledgers to be picture perfect!

I keep a large 12-section accordion file with labeled and ready for all of our categories. The theory is to file as things come in each year.  Doesn't quite work that way.  But, everything gets filed in the end, the file gets to the accountant, then it goes in the tax file archive in the basement -one file for each year . . My poor 2009 file rather blew out a couple seams.  The office assistant was a little reluctant to take it from me - ha!  It most certainly looked sad.  Can't say that I blame her.

Now, maybe this whole tax thing wouldn't be so 'taxing'  if I didn't have a strong compulsion to use as many post-its as possible and over-prepare every little thing.  In fact, we are charged a 'bargain' rate by our accountaint as most of the work is already done by the time my dilapidated file crosses his desk.  I know what numbers go into what categories and I add them up, write them down, put them in the proper slot of my file - all he has to do is plug those numbers in to his magic computer and it's all over.

I used to do our taxes.  And they most certainly were complicated for quite a few years:  self-employed 'on contract', owned a business, had a full-time job, medical bills. . .  It was when we moved,a few years ago, met an accountant that was actually happy to have me 'hang out' with him while he worked, and charged us a lower rate, that I handed that duty over.  It isn't that I'm not able to figure out the Sudoko-Jigsaw puzzle of our country's current tax code, I had just decided that I had better things to do with my time than that!  I'm sure my intensity over getting every little thing right and fullly understanding every nuance of the tax law, and doing my best to pay our share and nothing more, was quite stressful on the rest of the family.

And before you're too quick to judge me, you should know that, if filing by mail, not only did we have to pay extra postage, we usually had to use a manila envelope to get everything to fit.  I smile knowingly at those that chastise me for not filing on line.  Tried it - the website overloaded and the computer blue-screened.  So did I.  You really wouldn't be interested in knowing what it took to reboot my system so I could move on.

The real challenge comes with the March 1 deadline.  That's right, I said March 1.  We have a kid in college who applies for financial aid (who doesn't?!?!).  This means, in our most logical state of Kansas, that our taxes need to be done, or at least estimated, by March 1.  We need to have the right figures to put on the FAFSA  form so our beloved child will get on the 'priority' list of financial aid.  Seriously. 

So to try to get everything together, from everywhere and everybody, and still give the accountant at least two weeks to run the numbers is a major headache.  A mega-migraine.  I think we've lost the battle this year.  Oh well.  We did our best - there's just nothing more to say.  Except pass the Aleve.

The good news is, that by filing so early, we can be prepared for our tax bill and start selling children and souls to get the money to pay it.  The shock has completely worn off by the time the infamous April 15 rolls around - or that's the theory, anyway.  And, in the rare lottery-jackpot-instance, that we're due a refund - we get it that much sooner!

I'm still thinking about the shocked look of my accountant's assistant when trying to manage my folder AND hearing me ask if it was possible to have them done by Friday.   Poor thing.  I'll send Hubster in on Friday to check.  I'm a little afraid to show my face around there for awhile. 

Is it a tax write-off if you send flowers to your accountant's assistant?  How about a bottle of brandy to your accountant?  Pizza delivery to the entire office?

Have an untaxed kind of day ~


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