The tax man cometh

When I got married, the deal was that my husband does the garbage, grass cutting and snow removal and I do the taxes. Sounds fair, doesn’t it? It does until tax time comes around when I would love to go outside and shovel rather than manage little slips of paper.

This post isn’t for those people who put things in a bag and cart them off to a CPA. Those are the smart people.

This post is for the folks who think they are smart enough to do it themselves. How hard can it be? It’s not like we are millionaires with tons of investments.

There is that TV commercial that implies we are smart enough if we use their product. Ha!

There is a process. It sort of works for me.

It’s important not to think about it. Sometimes that works. Most times not. When that ball comes down on New Year’s Eve, my first thought is “crap, it’s tax season.”

How do people file the first week in January? When I worked I didn’t have my W-2 yet. Do they keep their money under their mattress? Recently that yields the same return as any other investment without a fear of loss.

Starting around now, I get the dread in the stomach. It’s a lot easier than it used to be. My paltry investment portfolio now electronically transfers data which eliminates most (but not all) of the angst. There is still a lot of data entry.

One year I made a typo error that showed we owed over a million dollars. I had to throw away the outfit I wore.

There is the clean desk syndrome. You cannot start your taxes without a clean desk. You may end up with your shopping list in your tax file or worse, you may go to the grocery store with a tax paper and forget the milk and eggs.

Once the desk is clean you need to seek reasons to procrastinate. If the sun is out, it’s a good time to clean the bird feeders. If it’s bad weather, well, you just can’t do taxes in bad weather. It’s too depressing.

We have some weird things. There is always a foreign tax. It’s under $5. I never know where it comes from. I’d like to hand it over to the IRS so I don’t have to deal with it. I’m pretty sure that’s their strategy.

My bank gives me $25 each year if I keep a certain minimum in my accounts. I get a 1099M (miscellaneous) form for that. The first year it took me hours to get it properly taxed. There was no category for it (and no it doesn’t mean I’m self-employed). They make changes to their programs every year. It requires some double-checking to make sure it’s where it belongs.

I’m still in the anticipation mode now. No matter what Carly Simon said, I hate it.

Anticipation, anticipation

Is makin’ me late

Is keepin’ me waitin’




58 thoughts on “The tax man cometh

  1. Do yourself a favor and use a CPA! Mine sends me a handy dandy worksheet. I throw it in a folder with my other tax crap and hand it to him around March. Done and done. What I want to know is when we will be able to deduct kitty expenses. How come kids count as dependents, but pets don’t?

    PS I would love to like your blog posts, but WP won’t let me. Arrgh.


    • WP has been wonky for awhile. I can’t use the reader at all which is where I get most of the blogs I read. It never lets me respond to you easily. Sometimes I get rejected. I think they are making it easier to use for phones but it’s knocking something off with “real” computers. Then again I have no idea what’s going on.


    • I’m hoping we are even this year. The last two years we paid in so I adjusted quarterly payments so we wouldn’t have a whopper in April. It is a game and just when you think you know the rules, it all changes and always for the worst.


  2. My damned accountant sends us a form to be filled out. What…wait….isn’t that what I’m paying YOU for? Let me see if I get this straight. I fill out the form, your secretary enters the data into some computer program, and you collect the check. Hmmmm….Kate, if only I were as brave as you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think tax prep is stressful for everyone, even those opus who do get some help! The implications of imperfect preparation leave me anxious every time. I’m always afraid we have forgotten something important. I hope you get yours prepared with a minimum of fuss and can move on to much more enjoyable pursuits and projects! Give yourself extra Starbucks treats!


  4. I keep all tax-related stuff in a folder then in March I organize it and take to a tax service to figure out what numbers to put where on the forms. I give them some money and they assure me if there are any problems they will have my back. I go home done with taxes until next year. Works for me and so far no problems. When I was poor I did them myself but now being in the stock market and therefore “rich”, it’s easier this way. Yes, I am delusional…


  5. We have an accountant, but she still requires an awful lot of material to send to her and also fill out in her yearly “organizer.” I mailed it off to her last week, and I’m now beginning to sweat the inevitable e-mail she’ll write to give us the good or bad news. Last year it was awful news, so I’m hoping we’re due for a better one this year. I wish you good luck with yours. I think you’re brave for doing it yourself.


    • I have heard from some people that accountants require work and like stuff sorted. If I do that I may as well enter on the form. It’s always the weird things that get me. As you do it on-line there is a box on the top that shows what you owe or will get back. Of course it changes with every entry and can get nerve wracking until you finish. Good luck to you!


  6. I love doing our taxes. I start out deciding how much I’m willing to pay in taxes and work backwards! :mrgreen:

    As Mary Poppins sang:

    In every job that must be done
    There is an element of fun
    You find the fun and *SNAP* the job’s a game!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have the dread in the stomach too Kate!… Its like a withdrawing worm, even with pulling all the 1099’s together and sending it to the CPA. There always seem to be something last minute to handle… or the realization I forgot something completely.


    • One year I did forget (accidently, honest!) to input a form with interest. The IRS let me know and billed me with a naughty charge. I think the whole thing was under $20. They spent more going after it than they got.


  8. My taxes have been simple since I started using a computer program. Just answer their questions and give them the numbers and the program puts it all in the right places and prints out all the documents you need. This year was a bummer. We made less money this year than last (thanks to the $%&$% stock market), but we are paying more in taxes. Don’t figure! Must be the “new math” they are teaching in schools these days!


    • I use a program too and it’s much simpler but there are still a few oddities. It always asks questions I don’t have answers for. Our mutual fund has some international stocks that give us a foreign tax and that goofy gift from the bank. We can transfer data directly so there is less chance of error. I still don’t like doing them and will spend several hours on it. I will also be grumpy.


  9. You are a braver woman than I am Kate. No way I’m doing those taxes myself. I collect it all in a folder (no paper bag for me) and cart it off to the CPA! It’s not that detailed but my stomach can’t take it. It’s bad enough to have to keep those papers together all year! I do Andrews taxes online through H and R Block. Easy peasy – he’s a poor college student who receives poor pittance for the 15 hours he puts in at the band office on campus every week and then the few gigs he has playing with the NWFSO orchestra. He gets it all back. Which reminds me, I need to get on the ball. He could use that refund about yesterday! Procrastination is my style! ~Elle


  10. Hubs leaves all the money management side to me, though we aren’t working and so everything is straightforward for us and the tax man doesn’t get anything anyway.
    However, in a previous relationship, HE was self employed and just used to take a box of receipts to an accountant to prepare his tax return, for which he was charged £500. Enter me, with pen and manual ledger, and I did it all (up to a point), then took Book and orderly receipts to the accountant, who did the job in a fraction of the time and charged £80 for his time. HE then had a tax bill to pay, but then I’d accounted and budgeted for that too. He may have missed me when we split up.


  11. I hated doing taxes, but only because there was a weird family rental income — it wasn’t much money, because my grandmother bequeathed equal shares in a barn or warehouse to her 8 grandchildren. It definitely wasn’t worth the five forms to document, that’s for sure.

    The property was sold about the time I married Andy. He does the taxes with the computer program now, and it used to be easy. Then his family entangled him in their rental property. I warned him against, but he didn’t listen. Now he hates doing the taxes…


    • I am so glad I don’t have any rentals…at least at this time of year. (Come June I wish we had a beach house but that’s another post.) It’s always the truly strange things that hang you up. The year of my divorce was messy from a tax standpoint. There was selling and moving and that was before on-line returns. I had to hand calculate some items which always makes me nervous. I’m good at knowing what to do but sometimes I make errors in my simple addition. Thankfully on-line programs don’t make me add.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is probably no consolation, but dealing with Revenue Canada has much the same frustrations. How difficult can it be to collect taxes? I would suggest that the difficulty is directly proportional to the complexity of the forms…. or perhaps Revenue Canada is investing in the “we’ll do your taxes for a nominal fee” businesses? It certainly encourages the “underground economy”!


  13. Lol…that’s funny and you’re certainly not alone. I don’t think the IRS will come after you for that 5 or 25 dollar income but you never know..:) better to be safe and sleep well at night, after your filing, of course..:)


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