Death and Taxes

Two things that are said to be certain, and I add, equally unwelcome.  By taxes, I mean filing a tax return and then finding out that an enormous sum of money is owed.

I don’t even do the filing for our little family of two.  The husband does it with the help of a computer program.  It asks the questions and he fills in the blanks with our information as best he can.  Once in a while it does get confusing however, and whether it was human error or a computer glitch we can’t be sure.  A mistake was made and went unnoticed for a couple years and since it was a mistake in our favor, we wanted to correct it this year before filing. Back in April when it was due, we weren’t ready so the husband filed for an extension. The deadline was last Tuesday.

We all put off things we don’t like to do, so I am totally not mad at the husband. I actually thought he had done it because he did talk about it several times.  Monday before THE Tuesday, I came home from an evening meeting, ready to get to bed and he said the words that make my blood run cold every time I hear them.  “I’m going to prepare the tax return tonight. I need you to pull some files.”

We have two filing systems between us.  He keeps everything, in it’s original envelope, no matter how stuffed the file gets.  I throw everything away that I don’t think we need based on very little actual knowledge of what is needed.  Neither one of us can find anything.  Nevertheless, I always get asked where things are.  That’s when I pretend to riffle through the file cabinet for a minute and then run away when he’s not looking.  Really, I had to get to bed so I could go to work the next day.

I thought it would be all done by the time I got home the next day, D-day, but it was still going on.  There were questions, dates to be reckoned, receipts to be found, decisions to be made and folders and piles of relevant paper everywhere.  In the midst of it all, and at the height of the dread, I came to a realization that we could do better than this.  Maybe if I started now 2013 could be a different kind of year. I could have all the records ready, in one place.  Maybe we could be done in one night. How awesome would that be? (Very awesome.)

from the BRR
from the BRR

So I did start.  I went through the box of random receipts, the BRR, where three years worth of contents of purses and pockets were stored.  Did you know that they make those things with disappearing ink?  I have promised myself that I will not save another receipt without writing the category of the purchase, the price and the date on the top. I am on the learning curve and liking it.

The husband did finish the job – at 11:58 pm, because he didn’t want to wait until the last minute.  We owed money and it’s going to be a painful month.  I’m just sayin’… death and taxes.

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