Friday, March 14, 2014

Taxes---Ugh! by Roz Denny Fox


Image courtesy of jesadaphorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’m convinced there are numbers people, and word people. I’ve met some who are both. I’m not one of them. It’s not that I can’t add, subtract, multiply and divide—I can. I just don’t like to. Even though I send my taxes off to a nice, brilliant numbers guy to wrestle into acceptable formats the state and federal government want, I still have to separate and hog tie more numbers than I like to deal with.

For a month around tax time I’m always a grumpy bear. I hate seeing what all I’ve spent my hard-earned money on that I could have-should have done without. I hate worse sharing my hard-earned money with either the state or federal governments. I don’t like what they do with what I figure is my portion of what they demand. Oh, I don’t mind helping feed hungry children. I don’t begrudge housing the homeless. I’m a bit less okay with Medicare and Medicaid, because having worked for doctors and in hospitals I know there is way too much bill-padding working up to outright fraud. I’m not at all happy with money that gets blown up via war games, money that would be better spent in medical research or on education. I also wish we could be sure that funding we send to foreign governments goes to support the projects we intended to fund and not into the bank accounts of shadier than shady folks. But my biggest objection is sending off my checks however paltry, when I know there are so many people who have figured out ways to hide their earnings thereby paying next-to-nothing or nothing at all. Knowing that really makes me grumpy at this time every year.

I tell myself to not over-think the minutia. I don’t like being crabby. My sister points out that of the two things for sure in this world, death and taxes, that the latter is preferable. So probably I should pour a large glass of wine, write my checks, mail them off, and go back to working with words—something that makes me happy. Still, I wonder if I stand alone in this, or do others feel crotchety around tax time, too?

  

25 comments:

  1. I'm not sure anyone likes tax time other than, perhaps, accountants since their paycheck goes up that time of year. What makes me grumpy is having to put it all together. I'm good at keeping a file of all my expenses for a given year, but I'm not good at keeping it all logged in a spreadsheet...so at tax time, I have to go through and list everything. Also, we've used the same accountant for decades, but I'm not sure he's good with writer stuff. I'm starting to think I should either do it myself or find someone new. Being forced to look at how much I've spent all year can be depressing!

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    1. Great point Rula. I'm sure accountants love numbers the way we love words. I've had the same accountant for years, too, and I'm beginning to wonder the same thing.

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  2. Grumpy? Not so much. Anxious? Yup. It's the waiting to see what and if I owe. I'm happy to break even. I'm the one who does all the tax prep in the family. By hand. I'm still using yellow legal pads to sort the income and expenses, then use a calculator to add up the sub-totals. I hold my breath at the writing-related expenses. Oy. Finally, I put the whole mess into Excel. The accountant has the "honor" of going through it all. Gathering info is where I draw the line. As to where the money goes? Until you have a government composed of Solomons, everyone will complain about something. My .02.

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    1. Linda, I keep a big expand-o folder that holds 12 months worth of receipts etc. I still have to sort out what I need. I type it all up for my accountant in a way I guess he understands. I'd love to break even, but I always owe Uncle Sam. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong. Maybe I need to be a corporation and move my writing off shore---ha ha!

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  3. Hi Roz! I'm right there with you, being all grumpy at tax time. Chocolate helps.

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    1. Shelley, I may resort to chocolate. I found wine doesn't work so well, because soon the numbers all blur.

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  4. The one in our family who has the hardest time with taxes is my father. January 2nd he starts pacing, he develops his tax frown and he starts rubbing his forehead. He starts digging out receipts, "Is this deductible, well we'll let Linda (the accountant) figure it out." January 3rd--where are the 1099's? Later in the month--do I have all the 1099's, shouldn't there be one more? When he finally gets everything to the accountant, gee he's getting a refund. I think she, and the government, give the refund so they don't have to audit the man......love him dearly, but OCD was coined to describe him, okay so maybe I inherited a little of that too!

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  5. Rose, you are the one person I know who is a word and numbers person. I'm sort of like your father. I start getting hyper in January. Denny used to handle all of this and I've considered resorting to shouting at his crypt for leaving me this chore way too soon. Just kidding.

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  6. I'm just glad that now my mom's 88 that my brother does her taxes for her. I can't imagine doing mine and someone else's

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    1. Mel, you are right on. Hard enough to do your own.

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  7. Hi, everybody. If you already know this, I apologize. But there's a wonderful program called Quicken. If you keep track of your back accounts on line, it's perfect for you. The current program will sync to your checking account and once you set it up and categorize your entries once, it puts everything into the right place . You can go online once a month (or once a quarter)) ask the program to sync to the bank, and there's no more having to type everything in - or list it on yellow pads! I believe the program is 49.99 at Costco. As someone who worked for an accountant for 7 years, and who was the flunkie who had to type in a year's worth of check registers for clients who never looked at their accounts, this is like a gift from heaven. At the end of the year, you simply ask it for reports, check them over to make sure there are no anomalies (for some reason, mine put everything it couldn't identify into property taxes, so it looked as though I owned Bill Gates' house. But it was an easy thing to change that so that the report came out correctly. ) It took me three day to get my taxes ready. You still have to save all those important documents, but you just add your report to them and you're home free!

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    1. Muriel, what if you don't bank online. My kids who do their own taxes, took in my process and said maybe Quicken wouldn't be the answer for me. Do you file your own taxes? Or do you have an accountant you send your reports to?

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    2. I take it to an accountant. But I imagine with all that valid information, you could do it yourself. An accountant's always good, though, to make sure you take advantage of all deductions, and that you're in line with all the new rules. And they're changing all the time.

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  8. I have a miracle of a saving grace during tax time- Greg! He asks me for any tax forms I've gotten in the mail (the extent of my contribution) and tells me some time later in the week or the following week that it's all done. He uses TurboTax software and complicating things for him this year were all the FAFSA and other college tax and income information he had to fill out for our daughter's college applications. He is an absolute saint to do all of that and YES- he definitely is grumpy while doing it! I try to make sure the meals are some of his favorites that week :)

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    1. Good thinking on the favorite meals, Karen.

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  9. I hate tax time because my husband turns into a bear. Oh, the pain, the agony, and why didn't we do a better job of keeping track of medical expenses. And why don't we get more forms from the publishers. And why does everyone else get money back. Me, I just smile and nod and show the accountant my records because I'm the one who keeps everything. My husband just means to. LOL

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    1. But you don't turn into a bear? Gosh, I think at my house it would spill over as I grump around kicking the wall.

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  10. Hi Roz. I do my own taxes because I it always made the tax man grumpy when I kept saying, "Oops, I forgot that deduction, wait!" But one thing that keeps me sane is that when I have to pay taxes I remind myself it means I've made money. Many of the people who don't pay taxes, don't do so because they don't have enough income to owe any. So . . . one must look the positive (ok, hit me) and I'm fairly okay with income tax. Just don't get me started on sales tax. Double taxation!!!!

    See you soon for TFOB.

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    1. Connie, we will have to discuss this double taxation without representation when you get here. It will give us something besides congress to chew over.

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  11. Hi Roz, I'm agreeing with Connie's point that paying taxes means you are making enough money to pay them. Something to be grateful for. But record keeping and remembering everything, big ugh!

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  12. Oh, no, I just now saw this -- one day closer to the Big Deadline!

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  13. Ugh. We are working on our taxes today, so I feel your pain, Roz!

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  14. I've just started on my taxes with TurboTax and it shows all those places where I could take off expenses. Maybe if I had a farm..... Your sister is correct. Of the two, taxes are the least worrisome.

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  15. What's worse than paying taxes? Organizing them so that the accountant can beat sense into it. Well, paying up might be worse, but if you have an accountant, it won't be you that'll be working on it, so that's less problems for you. It's good you've organized these things now though, so your accountant could figure out how to reduce the strain in your wallet come tax payment.
    Gilbert McNally @ BrandonAccountant.com

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  16. Do not make the mistake that I did trying to handle all these complicated matters on your own. Go see a local tax preparer or better yet, look to see if any free services are being offered at the library. I did it on my own and got called into the local IRS office fr an audit. Worst day ever!

    Wanda Hanson @ Tax Tiger

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