Monday, April 6, 2015

Doing Your Taxes: 45 Essential Steps



1. Check email.
2. Check Facebook
3. Check blog
4. Check blog statistics
5. Stare off into space and wonder why the blog is suddenly popular in both the Ukraine and China
6. Search for 1099's
7. Rifle through desk drawer for a paperclip to attach all the 1099's
8. Find a photo in desk drawer of old college friend
9. Execute google search for college friend
10. Compose a witty note to send to college friend
11. Send
12. Total all the medical insurance payments
13. Query Yahoo as to whether proof of medical insurance is necessary
16. See Bruce Jenner story on Yahoo
17. Click to find out how that gender-reassignment surgery is going
18. Clean dog's ears (it's been months)
19. Clean cat's ears (it's been never)
20. Check email to see if college friend replied
21. Wash dishes
22. Vacuum living room
23. Locate all the interest-paid and interest-received statements
24. Search another drawer for two more paperclips. Find picture of old boyfriend
25. Google old boyfriend; he's the father of two
26. Stare off into space; worry about the children
27. Locate dividend statements
28. Query Yahoo on difference between qualified and non-qualified dividends
29. Notice that there's a Wolf Hall review on Yahoo
30. Click to see if Wolf Hall is now streaming on PBS
31. It is. Bookmark
32. Search glove box in car for registration tax
33. Find a lost pair of sunglasses in glove box
34. Feel kind of good about that. And they look great. Score
35. Search another desk drawer for paperclip to attach car reg
36. Find sweet pea seed pack in drawer
37. Google whether it's too late to plant sweet pea seeds
38. Oh, what the hell, plant them anyway
39. Google how to plant sweet peas
40. Search tool shed for trowel. Find old hedge trimmer
41. Recharge hedge trimmer
42. Wonder why life isn't more deductible
43. Stare off into space about this
44. Check email
45. There's a message from my old college friend



42 comments:

  1. LOL! Are you using something like TurboTax? It might give you more time to contact old friends and less need to find paperclips. I use a folder or a shoe box.

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  3. No, I have a CPA. But seems I do a lot of heavy lifting.

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  4. I have been lucky; ever since an unfortunate math error I made early in our marriage, he has done most of the tax work, most years.

    I was relieved to not read, "find first aid kit" after clean cat's ears.

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  5. Ha! Love it. And with a few minor adjustments this could apply to how I approach my writing.

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  6. *Love* I'm searching through the drawer for the first paper clip. I still do paper and pencil taxes, which my daughter thinks is hilarious, but I've never received a correction form. Ahem. Where was I? Oh, the dryer just buzzed....

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  7. Did you ever see the Steven Banks show? It was a one-man show about a guy who was at home and supposed to be working on a paper for work. The things he did to avoid working on the paper were hysterical.

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  8. I've mastered the stare off in space part.

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  9. If I ever have to file taxes on my own, I'll know who to come to for advice.

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  10. That's why TheChief does ours....

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  11. I have been lucky, my husband has done all our tax work! :)

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  12. I've no sympathy for the lot of you! We were selected for an audit this year and since our returns include lots of business related stuff such as travel, meals, dues etc., it is one bloody nightmare. No matter how legitimate, if your taxi driver can't give a receipt or you lose the little slip in the travails of travel, you are plumb shit out of luck.

    Addendum: we are also being harassed by vaguely threatening calls from "Treasury Department" promising dire results if we don't call back. This is a well-documented scam and I suspect that names are being sold from within IRS of those who might be easily threatened, such as those being audited.

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  13. Thank you for this. You've managed to cheer me up on a bad day. Super kudos + +++

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  14. That pleases me no end, Dianne. Now we need to jolly-up Doris.

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  15. Doris: A couple of things: (1) If you're just missing a few receipts that shouldn't be a problem if it's obvious what business you're in and what you had to do in that business. I suspect you're missing a lot more than a few receipts. If that's all it is, and the auditor won't give them to you, you can go to Appeals and Tax Court and they will give you those minor things. (2) I doubt the IRS is providing information to scammers. Those scammers call lots of people. It's just a coincidence that you're being audited. You'll get a lot further if you approach your audit with a positive attitude.

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  16. I know you know, Earl. But here's what I don't understand. The IRS has all our 1099s, W2s, Prop taxes, etc. And if you report them in error, they come back with the +/- bill or check . Why don't they total this stuff up ahead of time, send a bill, and let the taxpayer work from this point when it comes to deductions that are not covered by the info they already have at hand?

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  17. Mr. Earl: I'm with you on your item 2. As for Doris' audit, we went through that in 1983. Because we had had the brilliant idea that we could have a race horse and make money. We didn't. We got audited. They found nothing. It cost $5000 to the CPA for the IRS to declare that we had indeed paid all of our taxes. Doris might need to get the IRS to assign her a "taxpayer advocate," which they did for our company in 1989 after an error on a quarterly tax return ballooned.

    As for Karin's procedure: I put everything in a box throughout the year, then seal it and send it to our CPA on Feb. 15th. Would that my adventures in tax-land were as amusing as Karin's.

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  18. Very, very funny. Plus, good to know about Wolf Hall.

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  19. I thank you all for your kind thoughts and good advice. I will remember Marjie's suggestion of a "taxpayer advocate" should that seem necessary. We don't feel threatened and suppose it stems from a random selection. Our CPA, who of course will be rewarded for his help, thinks it looks pretty good and only needs tuning. Still, assembling all the bits and pieces in hard copy has been a royal pain in the backside.

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  20. Karin: We have what we call a "voluntary" tax system, which doesn't mean that payment is voluntary, but it means that we report our information ourselves. The IRS does have a matching program for interest payments from banks, for example, so if you neglect to report interest on a bank account and probably similar transactions, they often will send you a bill if you don't report something, but it's after you've already filed. I'm not sure that the IRS has everyone's W-2s, but even if they did, it would be monumental undertaking to try to prepare everyone's returns, not knowing all the details of your situation. For sure the IRS doesn't have your property tax bill. The IRS has no idea what your business expenses are.

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  21. Having worked as an attorney for the IRS for over 30 years, I feel bad when I see that people pay CPAs $5000 for an audit. Most audits are pretty simple. It's just a matter of showing them your shoebox. Unfortunately, our tax system has created an industry for tax-return preparers. Most people are afraid of the IRS and overwhelmed by the idea of an audit, which is why they pay CPAs and preparers big bucks. But in most cases what you're getting, other than peace of mind, is not worth what your paying. (My opinion only.)

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  22. Earl, I hear you. I don't think the IRS is the big bad wolf. Or at least, I'm sure the employees aren't. But the complexity is beyond what most of us can handle. For example, for a few years, I was involved, ever so nominally, in a limited partnership, but it required filing a K1 yearly (or something K) that was about eight pages just to show I'd lost $18. Who but a CPA knows how to do that?

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  23. Yeah, it can get crazy if you're involved in things like that. That's why I use Turbo Tax or HP whatever. It does complex things behind your back.

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  24. You know, Earl, polishing up my report before I send it off, I realize I made money on some sort of broker transaction, something that doesn't fit into any category I've used before. So my guess is it's a form I've never heard of before to declare a $20 profit.

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  25. Been off line for a few days. It's like being on a desert island that has a hut but no pretty beach. But I got my taxes done. I don't know how I would have managed if the internet had been available to me.

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  26. It's tax time?

    Found some really old photos in the file drawer ...

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  27. I just read that former IRS employees can still access Fed files ...

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  28. Did you ever get your taxes done? Life just goes on and, on and on and on, and... Oh, where did I put that bunch of twisty-ties????

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  29. I cracked up when I got to "worried about the children." For me, every day is as you describe. The laptop tempts me to keep checking it, and then I've lost another hour. I get to know lots of random stuff and have fun with my FB friends, but that doesn't get anything urgent done, like buying food for dinner. I'm glad I'm not alone with what I thought was my shameful secret. As for the taxes, I feel sorry for all of you. It's so much simpler in the UK. We pay an accountant a fortune for finding that we owe the IRS a fortune.

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  30. Relevant thought, from the Washington Post's 2002 word contest [change one letter, invent a new word]:

    Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

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  31. To grab a couple more letters: Unintaxicated: the lack of euphoria when you owe. But a bit of intaxication, as I won't have to revisit this exercise for another 12 months.

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  32. Oh, you lucky duck. We filed for an extension.

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  33. This is priceless. We're suffering from a bit of intaxication....

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  34. I've never cleaned out Ella's ears, but I'll remember it come tax time. Thanks for the tips, KB.

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  35. Oh, and question 28? It's the tax rate:less tax on qualified dividends. I know too much about this stuff *sigh*

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  36. romance without finance is a new-sance....

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  37. William Sorlien wrote, "I just read that former IRS employees can still access Fed files." Where did you read that? Current IRS employees cannot access files that are not assigned to them without risking firing and criminal penalties. Former IRS employees? I don't think so. BTW, "Sorlien" is an interesting name in the world of tax collection.

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  38. Nothing to say -- just wanted the comments to land on an even number.

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  39. Sorry to make your numbers odd again but wanted to report that my taxes are done, signed, and sealed. They will be in the mail tomorrow, one day early. I'd like to think I'll get them done in a more timely fashion next year, but I won't hold my breath. The comments are great - my reward for all my hard work;)

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