Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a refund from the IRS, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
~Author unknown, from a Washington Post word contest
HANK: Every year, I mean EVERY YEAR, I promise myself the same thing.
And the promise occurs around April 16. And every year I break the promise.
And every year, I mean EVERY YEAR, I realize that broken promise on (pretty much) the same day. Let's say, around today.
Every year I swear I will not leave my taxes until the last minute. And not just "doing" the taxes, but every year I promise, I resolve, I swear that I will not stuff all my receipts and check stubs and envelopes of convention expenses and invoices and bills from the bookmark guy into a big shopping bag. But, I do.
One year, determined, I actually bought an accordion file, one of those expando things where you can file by category, and then at the end of the year it's already organized. Yeah, that worked for a little while, but then it got too full and the old paper bag seemed like the best solution.
DO NOT tell me about excel spreadsheets, I just won't do it. First, you make a spreadsheet. Stymied from moment one. So, next weekend, I'm going to dump the bag(s) on the bed and organize and list on a yellow pad and then get a calculator and...Grrr. Grrr. Grrr. And then, after I'm finished, I'll resolve never to do that again.
If I had to predict: I'd say: Jan and Hallie and Roberta are all finished and have sent in their forms to Uncle Sam. Rosemary and Rhys give all their stuff to an accountant and don't have to worry about it. How'm I doing?
JAN: No. I'm not finished, but I do have it all in an Excel spreadsheet.
JAN: Well, "all" is an exaggeration. Although I do try to record all my bills as I pay them, I'm not what you call a perfectionist. Or even a good "double checker" because there's always an unexplained absence of say.... two months worth of Internet bills or travel expenses. There's always something important missing for no apparent reason, providing great insight into the holes that are in my brain.
HANK: I know! Why do we never learn?
JAN: But Hank, take heart, I'm behind the 8-ball, too, I haven't started nagging Bill yet to get the taxes done, which is BIG part of my job.
HALLIE: In my house taxes is 'men's work' - yes I assemble my income and expenses (nearly done) but my poor husband does the heavy lifting. It's too easy to file an extension!
RO: Oooooh, I think there's only one royal on this blog. My reputation as a princess is somewhat unwarranted - at least in this respect. Yes, Nancy the accountant extraordinaire makes sense of all my little scraps of paper but during the year I keep separate files for work expenses and I highlight those credit card purchases that are work-related. I've never been able to just use one credit card for all work expenses, though, not sure why. It would be very easy to spend a ton of dough promoting our books but I like to make a budget and stick to it.
HANK: Make a budget? What a concept. And I am inspired, Hallie, to get Jonathan to read this. I must say we each do our calculations separately--then off it all goes to the accountant. So we're not actually subtracting line 4(C)sub3 from Line 4 (c) sub2, or whatever.
So how are you all doing? Sent your forms off to the IRS and now patting yourselves on the back? (Good for you!) Or sorting receipts with the rest of us? Any tax tips? Besides, of course, to do them before April?
And coming up this week: Tomorrow--do you use your family secrets? Wednesday: *fanfare* NANCY MARTIN! (And a book giveaway.) Thursday, bring a cup of tea, because we have short stories for you. And Friday, a truly hilarious thing that took me three times reading it to figure it out. The ultimate lost in translation.