Friday, April 11, 2008

Taxing Time

It's time to roll up the sleeves, sharpen the pencil and put new batteries in the calculator. It's almost tax day. I actually don't use pencils or calculators, because I use a tax program for the computer. I do sometimes, however, roll my shirt-sleeves up to my shoulders to relive my glory days from the Eighties.

But enough Wang Chunging, and back to taxes.

Everyone always dreads tax time. It's a big pain to have to get your big shoe box full of receipts down out of the closet and try to remember which of Sweet Pea's imaginary friends to claim as dependants. We also had a few goldfish die in the course of the year to claim along with funeral expenses.

Luckily, I don't try to figure it all out myself. I use Turbo Tax each year because it is simple enough even for me to use. It asks me questions. I answer them. Then it tells me what my refund is. I always have tax taken out of my paycheck because I never want to be short at tax time. For me, it is worth it to sacrifice a little interest to the government for the security to know that I won't have to pay in April. It also provides a little bonus check to start the year off. I know it was my money to start with, but it's like finding something I had forgotten about.

Using Turbo Tax also is a bit humbling. I ask it if I can deduct movie rental fees for renting documentaries for the kids. It says, that does not qualify. Then I ask, can I deduct medical expenses? "You did not spend enough." , it replies. "Well, can I at least deduct the Foreign sales tax on that set of lederhosen I bought from Germany on Ebay?", I pleaded. It shouts back, "No! You are too much of a loser for buying lederhosen!"

I then typed in, "What can I deduct then, you stupid computer program!"

It typed back, "Thank you for using Turbo Tax. We have submitted your return to the IRS for audit. You will need to come with some creative receipts because we told the IRS a bunch of stuff about you."

Groan. I wonder if HR Block is any nicer.


That Chick Over There said...

It's not. Believe me.

OhCaptain said...

Well, you can go to H&R Block to have some read the computer screen to you (using software very much like turbo tax) or you can do like I did and make reading the screen from Turbo Tax some quality bonding time with my 4 year old and have her read the screen to me.

Its your call.

Just remember, a flat tax would be WAY more complicated.

Russell said...

We started using TurboTax many years ago and it saves us a lot of time!! My wife (now former wife) is a CPA and always prepares the tax returns. Next year will be the first time I have to do them on my own for about 25 years! Oh well. When you don't make a lot of money it should not be too hard!!

Take care.

Above Average Joe said...

If you bought the lederhosen for work, you should be able to deduct them.

But if you actually need lederhosen for work, you may have bigger issues.

Anonymous said...

With all the moving we have done we had our taxes done by a professional for a while. Now, we tried Turbo tax and my husband was paranoid he was wrong so we paid to have it done again. He was right on from using Turbo Tax. I wish he would have had more confidence since he did it totally right. We would have saved more money. At least next year he will feel more confident.

Have fun!!!

Oh, and we went to H & R Block before and they charge a fortune.

The Father of Five said...

Hey Dadstuff, I too make sure that I don't have to pay in by creating a "forced savings account". My first year working for the Police Department, I ended the year with a 1 thousand dollar tax bill. From that year on, I vowed NEVER to do that again, so I changed my withholdings to "Single, with one deduction".

As the years passed, and Father of One turned into Two, and then Three - I started seeing tax reuturns in the 6-7 thousand dollar range. We decided that was just a bit too much (paychecks were noticablly smaller because of that) and I changed my status to "Married, with one deduction".

I now have tax returns that fall in the 4-5 thousand dollar range - but I do this for a very specific purpose. This is how I pay for my children's school tuition. I also used one year to "save it", so now I am a year ahead. The tax return that I get in April of 2008 will pay the school tuition for the 08-09 school year. The tax return that I get in April of 09 will pay for the 09-10 school year, and so on.

I have been told (as I bet you have by the way you wrote this post) that I am letting the government use my money, and that I a losing the interest I could be gaining on it. While that is true, it does not add up to THAT much, and the peace of mind knowing that the kids' tuition for next year will be paid for is worth it for me.

I too just finished my taxes. I also use Turbo Tax software. I did use H&R Block's "Tax Cut" one year, but was much less impressed. I like Turbo Tax because I can save my return as a PDF. Tax Cut will not let you, and to see your tax return (electronically) you have to keep the software, or if you upgrade computers, you have to reinstall it.

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah, I hated that time of the year soooo much...being dycalculic made the pric eof getting HR Block to do it for me, more than worth it. Some new random comments up on mine when you are finished your tax toiling.

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.