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Taxes Are Done and I Think I Have My Life Back…

Every year I walk around with a feeling of dread until I have our taxes done. My first task after the new year is to gather all the necessary information for our accountant for our business so he can get started on our business taxes.

Before I can begin on the taxes I have to finish all the 4th quarter payroll reports and pay the quarter taxes for the business and get all the W-2’s out in the mail before the end of January.  “Happy New Year to Me”  for the past 26 years between my former job as city clerk for ten years and now the bookkeeping for our business.

This past week I finished giving the accountant the rest of the information on the phone that he needed to finish up the business taxes. When we finished discussing the business taxes he asked me “By the way have you sent me your personal taxes yet?” This was on Tuesday afternoon. I promised him that I would indeed mail them to him before the end of the day on Wednesday.

I already had everything gathered for the supporting information for our forms but hadn’t filled out our tax organizer that he emails me each year about any changes in our status since the previous year and predictions for possible changes for the next tax year. The organizer is 28 pages long. On Wednesday of this week I spent my lunch hour filling out the organizer and getting everything packaged for mailing to our accountant. I was definitely walking lighter as I left that load at the local post office. Yay! Something else off my to-do list.

The taxes are done and now I realized we have arrived at the end of the first quarter and it’s time to do quarterly reports again. Only nine more months until it is tax time again. Each year I vow I will do things differently and get things done sooner but the reality is that when you work in a small business such as ours you still have all your regular work to do  and have to somehow manage to fit all the tax stuff into an already full schedule.

This afternoon after work my husband and I bought our fishing licenses for the year. It has been three years since we went fishing. When we got home we put on our boots, jackets and gathered our supplies and walked out on the lake for some ice fishing. It has been about twelve years since we last went ice fishing. Our luck has not changed but we were able to enjoy a beautiful afternoon on the lake.

This summer I’m looking forward to more time on the lake and less time at work. Perhaps that will happen since we made the effort to buy the licenses today. I can always read a book while fishing if the fish aren’t biting.

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My Life was Simple in 1976 and So Were My Taxes

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.

 
 

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