Let It Be Over. Please.

Today, at about 3:00 PM, The Lovely One and I filed our taxes, federal and state. 

This is the absolute earliest I believe we have ever filed. In the old days, teaching, I had speech contests keeping me constantly busy, large group and individual, district and state and All-State, until the beginning of April. And the spring play started about mid-February… So I never filed taxes until we got right onto the Ides of April.* One year, very early in our marriage, I faintly recall appealing for late filing (easily granted, as we always made sure, living on the edge of poverty with no spare cash to fork over whatsoever, that we received a refund**). Regardless, we never filed our taxes in February.

As of 2006, filings got both easier and harder. Janet entered into a small business enterprise on her own, selling BeautiControl products*** part-time (and according to My Beloved herself, “half-assed”). But that made our taxes more complex, and so that year I first bought a tax software program, the same one I still use, and put myself in the capable grip of Intuit Software and TurboTax… And we enjoyed the taxation benefits of Janetʼs little business taking loss after loss (and no financial juggling there — her description of her business aggressiveness combined with BeautiControlʼs decidedly pyramid structure for profitability pretty much ensured she wasnʼt getting ahead providing friends and family with make-up and whatnots).

We still use TurboTax. And as I continue to feel familiar with its interface, I feel pretty warm toward it (I think only beloved Scrivener — used as I type right now — tops my affections for software). Granted the Q&A approach the developers devised as integral to the interface in TurboTax leaves a user like me several layers of reality removed from the actual tax forms (I couldnʼt believe the nearly literal ream of paper that printed out in the first year to be mailed off to the IRS and state tax authorities). And I have grown skittish of those red (meaning money owed) and green digits (indicating refund available) that appear in the upper left corner of the TurboTax window, changing marginally or dramatically with each new piece of information entered. I still look over the final papers (actual tax forms), closely but not always intelligently, in amazement, always surprised at what digits on what novel forms my answers have churned out.

The business forms have been expanded with self-employment forms (and, surprise! extra taxation for payroll taxes not automatically withheld/paid as one expects from an ordinary employer) as I have tried to develop my own business.**** (Unfortunately with little overhead and me witless about claiming my computer use or possibly the “office” where our computers sit as a home office, everythingʼs just taxable income.) The complexities keep multiplying. And the refunds keep dwindling, smaller and smaller year by year. (But this year we again avoided paying either state or federal government any additional cash.)

More surprising, for three years now, we have taken the standard deduction! At least according to the software, that choice is our better bet (and now that we own our house outright, it even makes sense). Still, it takes some weeks of consideration and search to conglomerate all our records (and for Janet to work through, compile and total her figures for her “business”) and for me to get TurboTax up to speed (and its latest updates installed each time I fire up the software) and information filled in (this year we were waiting until, well, now for Intuit to pass on IRS Form 3800). Even retiring, I didnʼt immediately get on the ball with our annual tax calculations. In ʼ10 and last year, I didnʼt really get to it until about now.

So this year I resolved to be better, and I had most of our information input a week before Andrew Community School got around to mailing the W-2 for my subbing in 2011 (and I had those numbers pretty accurately temped in from the last paycheck). And now weʼre done (I hope, I pray, I plead, I desire… oh, donʼt audit us, Infernal Revenue Service, please donʼt — I donʼt think I actually understand any of it, nope, none of it, not at all).

* (being an old codger I really miss — not really, appreciating the extra month with that schedule I just summarized — being able to “Beware the Ides of March” for the IRS)

** Yeah, yeah, sure, I know: if weʼd kept that extra withholding, weʼd have been able to invest it or save it or somehow earn money on it… Like hell. Although the feds never grant any interest earned on what amounts to overpayment, I would rather sleep easy believing I do not need to scrape together a few hundred (or thousand — neither of which amounts would I have available) to gratify Uncle Sam at the last minute. Since Bush withholding adjustments and moreso since retirement, finances have gotten trickier, and we keep running very close to no refund.

*** Can Rick Perry, Herman Cain and everyone else out there say, “Pyramid scheme?”

**** Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A. 

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©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

3 thoughts on “Let It Be Over. Please.

  1. Tax day should be your favorite time of the year! Just think of all the government bureaucracies your funding with your (excuse me …. the governments money). Give willingly to the Obamas !!!!!

    • Gosh, Theodore, thanks so much for behaving like a dim troll here on Wakʼs Blog. I donʼt think anyone enjoys paying taxes, however necessary taxation may be for public services to exist and function even close to adequately — regardless of your humorless prejudices and injudicious, inaccurate stereotyping of my views. As I noted to you on Facebook at one time, having made my living as a public school teacher from taxation (and now again with USDA), I am proud of what tax monies can do, Foxed Tighty Righties to the untruthful contrary.

      As citizens in this democratic republic, our taxes remain our monies, gathered and used at the behest of representatives we choose to do exactly that for us. I would recommend considering libertarian Robert A Heinleinʼs observation, made in Stranger in a Strange Land, on alienizing “da govʼment” as you seem to have done: “Do you know who is responsible?” “Why of course, it’s the government!” “Jill, ‘the government’ is several million people.” And those “people” include you, Ted, and me… in case you have somehow ducked the overly obvious point, again.

      Furthermore, my taxes go to the State of Iowa and the Internal Revenue Service of the federal government of the United States, not directly to either our current President or his wife (or either of his children, since you would have to include them in such a catch-all as you have — so clearly just spewing wildly the vicious bile you have imbibed at the sour teat of Dextremist blogs and radio rightwing-nut fantaticism — regurgitated). I suggest you give willingly to the governments you have elected (to correct your final overly punctuated spasm of foolish nonsense).

      And, oh, yes… you meant “youʼre” and “governmentʼs” as well.

      Now youʼve been schooled and pwned, as usual, sir.

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