It looks like April 15th is coming up this Monday. Yes, it’s tax time again… already. Of course it seems really soon for me because working off an extension last year, I was procrastinating until into October.
My normal plan, which is anticipated and semi-approved by my accountant each year, is to e-file or mail in my tax forms with the IRS and the State of Utah on either April 14 or 15. It would probably be less stressful and more polite to the accountant to do it on — oh say, April 10 or 11, but it just doesn’t seem to work out that way.
I used to do my own taxes. I’d scurry around at the last minute and fill out my set of forms that came in the mail each year. My life was simpler then and so were my taxes.
When I was in college, I remember a time or two that the first part of going out on a date was staying in and finishing my taxes. I worked feverishly getting the relatively easy forms completed while the girl watched the clock wondering if we were going to get to the movies on time.
After some years of struggling through the forms for progressively more and more complicated tax years, my wife convinced me to discontinue the agony of doing taxes by myself. It was a little hard for me to admit that I should let a professional do what I had struggled and bungled my way through for years. But, I found the perfect guy for the job.
Our new tax guy was a CPA imported to Sanpete from California. He talked taxes, chapter and verse, like he had written the IRS tax code. He pointed his finger in the air and gave the whys and wherefores in answer to every question. He was going to save us money like we couldn’t believe.
He wore a business suit with white shirt and tie every day. I suppose he wanted to portray the aura of professionalism. The bit that seemed just a little unprofessional was that it appeared that he slept in those same clothes. He was a little eccentric. Okay, he might have been a little more than a little eccentric.
He did our taxes for a couple of years and all was well. Then things blew up. Right before the dreaded April date, in my absence, he dropped off the box loaded with our papers, reports and records. He left the simple message that he was going away and wouldn’t be able to do the taxes.
I heard it reported a little later that this “professional” had “flown the coop” (literally) by leaving his wife and family for an Internet girlfriend on the other side of the world – New Zealand, I think.
I was in shock. I mean, why couldn’t the guy have acquired a girlfriend here in Sanpete and got my taxes done!?? I’m supposing that getting a girlfriend online was easier than live and in person.
The next chapter of my taxpaying career was chaotic. So I’m making it short because it wasn’t sweet. I went into a tax funk. Filings were missed and late for two or three years. Every time an advertisement came on the TV or radio for tax preparation, I’d shudder.
The turning point was when my wife had a dream that we had been hauled off to prison. I take dreams pretty seriously – especially ones that involve prison, snakes and falling off cliffs.
It was then that we found a new accountant. He was a steady, non-flashy, knows his numbers kind of guy. Better yet, he was devoted to spouse and family. He did our taxes for a lot of years. Then his devotion to church got the best of him and he and his wife went on a mission. That turned the page to a new chapter with a new guy who seems to be all right.
It’s been a lot of years now since the chaos. Now we’re just boring taxpayers — except for the part where we have to hustle to get our records to the accountant in time for him to complete the forms by the deadline.
Nobody likes to pay taxes. But, most of us know that because we pay taxes we enjoy driving on paved streets and highways. We have a military that works to protect us from the bad guys in the world.
And, even if we don’t agree with everything that happens on the taxpayer’s dime, we do like living in a country that is generally prosperous and provides some good things for its citizens.
So, I guess you and I will continue paying our share of income taxes as Americans have done since 1913. We’ll hope that we’re not among the less than one percent of taxpayers who are audited. Not that we’ve cheated, but what a hassle it would be to have to open things up again after getting the blasted things done.
Now we can relax until next year. We can just mosey along through the year paying other taxes we don’t think about too much: sales tax, gas tax, property tax, personal property tax, social security and Medicare taxes, etc. etc. etc. Life in our country is “taxing”, but it’s a good life compared to many places in the world. So let’s enjoy it.