By: Revanche

Tango with the Tax Man

October 9, 2011

After some grumbles, I set myself to the task of filing PiC’s taxes yesterday.

I was annoyed at first because, well, it’s October.  I’m a February Filer.  Different philosophies.  He had to wait for a Schedule to come in that didn’t arrive until September, so he had a reason but it still gets under my skin to be doing last year’s taxes at the point when I’m already thinking about next year’s.

Setting up the account was nearly impossible – I couldn’t get the page to accept a password.  Fifteen minutes of error messages.

Finally, I got into TurboTax’s guts and we were off to the races.

Income

I had a whole pile of forms and shuffling through them, nothing was terribly complicated.

I did hate on Wells Fargo for a minute for sneakily combining a 1099-Div and a 1099-INT onto the same page, though – I like order and since I was inputting the forms by type, that interrupted my flow.  And they had this whole “see Details” thing going on for a few boxes.  You’d obediently flip to the Details section and it’d show you … nothing.  THANKS.

(In my New Order, I’m banishing Wells Fargo.  Especially since they were such a waste of time.)

Deductions

This was fun. {evil laughter} The know-it-all came out. I had a couple items in the pile from PiC, and then made out my laundry list of things I knew he should have deductions for that he’d missed.  

His proof of charitable deductions were missing, for one thing.  Property tax, mortgage interest totals, car registration.

And then upon review, I was mortally certain, without actually having seen his property tax bills during the year, the total he gave me was still too low and sent him back again for another look.  Right-o, there was a supplemental tax bill he’d been dunned for, more than $1000, and had forgotten about.  That put nearly $500 back in his refund.

Analysis and Completion

Clearly, he wasn’t taking the standard federal deduction.

I think his CPA was shortsighted for telling him to send in a chunk of additional tax money this year for state taxes, assuming he was going to owe just as much in 2010 as he owed in 2009.  Did the CPA not consider that he was going to be paying a full year’s home interest and property taxes?   That seriously affects your AGI!   Think this through, my good fellow.  When your state refund is twice and more what you paid in quarterly taxes … *smh*   There was no real good reason to do that, is what I’m saying.  He wasn’t in danger of an underpayment penalty at the end of 2009, and he wasn’t going to owe at the end of 2010 as much as he did the prior year.

Filing 

I’d snagged him a fantastic prepaid code for both state and federal, saving him $140 on both filings.  Did him one better than my own, I even had to pay for my state filing!

One Day, One File 

It didn’t take the whole day, but we finished his taxes on the Saturday I started them.  I had him review it with me at the end to make sure he understood everything that I did and all the notes I had.   I’d initially complained that doing his taxes weren’t any fun but halfway through I was a liar because I was having fun again.

I could actually enjoy doing this for other people, now that I’ve gotten past my initial weirdness of not having the fully organized, spreadsheeted, noted, checklisted pile of forms to work from.  Maybe I’m not quite ready for the shoebox of receipts thing but, you know, I could deal with the less organized anyway.

6 Responses to “Tango with the Tax Man”

  1. This post made me giggle. I mean, it’s not my idea of fun! Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Good for you for saving dough and being flexible with PiC’s “system.”

  2. Jessica says:

    Have you ever thought of working with a volunteer tax program? The one I worked with this year was called VITA and run through the IRS. I did probably close to 100 returns (I was unemployed during the season, and am not an accountant or tax professional but the iRS provides training, certification, and the program) this year and loved it. For people in the working poor and disabled categories. I love doing taxes, just not my own. 😉 Oh, and nice job!

  3. Grace. says:

    I do hope PiC was properly appreciative–a check? a promise to clean the house? his undying gratitude plus organized files next year? I never mind doing my own taxes if there’s going to be found money at the end of it.

  4. Shelley says:

    I sort of get this – I dread taxes and I have to do them for both countries – US & UK. I never had done my own tax until I came here in fact; I waited until I had moving expenses and two financial systems and was a year behind before I started this malarky. I hate the complexity and I’m not a whizz at this stuff and I rarely have everything in order as it should be. But, at some point when I have started creating that order and the numbers make sense and I feel as though I’m winning (with the forms – I always have to pay tax as my income is all interest and rent income with no tax paid on it), I think it’s not so bad. Nowhere near this point just now…all in one day, I’m well impressed! Wouldn’t that be lovely? If I started at 5am, maybe….

  5. Wait… did I understand correctly? You have to pay to file your taxes?

  6. My father volunteers to help people with taxes, there’s a program set up at the public library. I also have a friend who volunteers and does taxes for women at a battered women’s shelter. She says it’s one of the most rewarding things because most of these women were not going to file and most have big refunds coming to them which can help them immediately.

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