Last evening I spent three hours sorting through boxes, stacks and folders of paper. My goal is to pare down the amount of paper I have to deal with in my home, which has become overwhelming. I watched the movie “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford while I sorted through the paper. As each commercial started so did my shredder. The end product was less stacks, boxes, folders of paper and three bags full of shredded paper.
One of the boxes I went through last evening were my tax records since 1976. I kept the past ten years of income tax records and then began shredding each year prior to the last ten. One observation I made was the further I went back the less paper I had for each year’s tax records and the tax manuals themselves were less pages.
It is soon tax time again and which was my inspiration for last evenings project. I want to be organized for the accountant at an earlier date than last year. When I got my first job that required filing taxes it was my responsibility to do my taxes. My dad told me where to get the forms and how to work my way through them to file my taxes.
I continued to do my taxes until the year that we became part owners in the family business. At that point in time taxes just became too difficult to do. I had to call the accountant too many times to make sure I was doing our taxes right. I caved in after 22 years of doing my own taxes.
In 1976 my tax filing consisted of a one page federal form, one page state form and one W-2. This past year our taxes included 2 W-2’s, supporting documents for itemized deductions, 1099’s. The stack of forms and supporting documents measured 3/4 inches in height for last year’s taxes.
Each year as I look through the tax forms and manuals for our personal and business I have to laugh at the estimated time that the IRS estimates for doing the forms. One assumption they make is that you will actually understand the forms to complete them in the estimated time. We moved a long way away from a person’s ability to do his or her own taxes due to the complicated tax code.
It’s a shame because it was always an area of my life that where I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment as I mailed the tax filing forms each year.
January 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Ohhhh, don’t remind me!
January 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm
I know…I know!
January 9, 2011 at 3:49 pm
Really. Tax time is so much fun. At least this year we have until midnight on the 18th.
January 9, 2011 at 7:04 pm
I’ll be done long before that this year or at least that is the plan.
January 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm
I no longer do my taxes. This is one area of my life that has defied being made more simple.
January 9, 2011 at 7:05 pm
That is for sure. Like I said I used to take pride in the fact that I did my taxes.
January 9, 2011 at 5:48 pm
I did all my own taxes since I was 18 years old (shaking my head every year, and wondering how less intelligent people managed)…until last year, after Jim and I were officially “common-law”. Then, we decided it would be simpler for both of us to just bring our papers to a professional to do…I would recommend it to anybody, as long as the firm you choose is reputable! It’s one less task off my very full plate!
January 9, 2011 at 7:07 pm
I couldn’t agree more. I love just putting everything in an envelope and handing it off to the accountant. Last year though he wanted to do everything electronically through a website. I’m not a fan of the operation.
January 9, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Once, I got a raise. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to put me into the next highest tax bracket, so the raise actually cost me money. That was nice.
January 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm
The same thing happened to me one year when I was teaching. The raise I got combined with the changes they made to our healthcare plan ended up with less net pay and more taxes year end. Lovely….
Carol Ann Hoel
January 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm
The tax code is too difficult, but they scare me when they talk about changing it. I always did our taxes myself until one year there was something I couldn’t handle. The accountant forgot to include an income statement! I, obviously, didn’t check it out very well when he sent it to me for signature. A few years later, we were audited and had to pay the difference. I need a shredder so I can get rid of some paper, too. Blessings to you, Jeanne…
January 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm
I wouldn’t know if something was missing from our taxes not knowing what should be in there for sure. I trust our accountant and that he knows what he is doing. So far no audits in ten years. My shredder is by new best friend besides my computer. I think I will give each of my four kids their own for their birthdays this year.
January 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm
What a great feeling ~ drowning out commericals by shredding unnecessary piles of paper from accumulated tax records.
We should penalize the IRS for inaccurate estimatation of the time needed to complete each forms ~ the way the IRS penalizes us when our estimated tax payments are off.
January 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm
I agree. We make our regular estimated tax payments on time but I would seriously have to go to school to learn what is required to complete our business tax records and I’ve already had one year of college accounting.