The Lighter Side of Income Taxes

Why do I pay some one else to prepare my tax return?

I’ll tell you why! I always used to do my own taxes. I would sit down on the evening of my W-2 form arrival. Take out my receipts and other tax information and start on the EZ forms. In an hour or two, I would finish the deal, put it in an envelope and mail it to the IRS. In seven to ten days I would receive my refund, since I was always among the first to file. It was always a piece of cake, until……the advent of the E-File.

I finally was able to purchase my own computer. I was a member of the on-line community. Now there would be no more messy paperwork. All my records would be retained from year to year for easy reference. No more envelopes or stamps would be necessary. I was ready to E-File.

An inexpensive purchase of a computer tax program for approximately $34, and I was ready to do it the easy way, all by myself. The program worked well, but was lengthy. After answering all of the necessary questions, it told me that I didn’t have to itemize my deductions. It took hours to download the state tax program on my slow modem, but it did the tax quickly. The program then asked me if I would like to file electronically, or print out and mail the forms. Since my printer was out of ink, I decided to file on line. The printer problem would come back to haunt me next year. The program then told me that for about $15 each the taxes could be filed electronically. And I could have a direct deposit into my account for an additional bank fee of $20. By now my inexpensive on line filing would cost $84 but at least I would receive it immediately, or so I thought.

I placed my electronic signature on the forms and filed. I was then told that I would receive notification of acceptance on the next day. Twenty four hours later I was back on line to hear that my forms had been accepted and I would receive notification of my refund in two to three weeks. As I recall my paper forms refunded in seven to ten days…..

The program also recommended that I make copies of my tax forms for my records, but of course my printer was out of ink and so I neglected to make copies. About half way through the year, my computer crashed….. All of my previous tax records were lost. And, here it was tax time again. Not to worry, I know how to E-File now.

I purchased the $84 program with which I was familiar and followed the program exactly as on the previous year without a hitch…..until it came time to sign electronically. This year it was necessary to enter last years gross income in order to make sure that I was really me. You might recall, that my printer which by the way is still out of ink, was out of ink last year also. And, due to my computer crash, and making no copies, all of last years information was lost.

The program had the saving out for me. If I was unable to file electronically, I could download a mail in form, sign and mail it in, and receive my refund with only a few additional weeks added on to the regular turn around……If I had a printer…..

Fortunately the program also had a trouble hot line to call if I had any problems. I immediately called the number. A nice man with a Filipino accent answered and gave me a number to call the IRS. When I called that number, an answering machine told me to go on line to the IRS web site for help. There, the website for the IRS told me to call the number that the Filipino gentleman had given me. Then I remembered that the post office had forms.

After driving to the post office, I was advised to get the forms at the library. There a very helpful librarian provided me with the necessary forms to mail to the IRS.

It took approximately a week to finish and send the forms and an extra three weeks to get my refund. I no longer file my own returns. I rely on an efficient tax preparer and pay a little more for a rapid refund.

Did I forget to mention my tax stimulus refund check? Now that I have my taxes done by professionals, the IRS would like to send them my refund. Not wanting to get involved with transferring my money to me, my tax professionals close down their account immediately after they receive my initial refund. They are home free. I on the other hand have to wait for the IRS to realize that they can’t send my stimulus check to the same address where my refund went. Then they intend to mail the check to my home address. I live on another persons land and have no mail drop at my home address. I do have a post office box however. Of course, due to the fact that the IRS wants to make sure that I am not in the United States illegally, they will not send the check to my post office box, disregarding the fact that I have been paying taxes for 40 years at this address. This year they need to send it to my home address. The post office will return the check to them or put it in a dead letter box. Only the brown truck will deliver to my home address, but the IRS only wants to use the U. S. mail…… I am sure if I go to the IRS web site they will give me a form to download, but as I previously stated……My computer is still out of ink. It is May 22. After July 11, I may have to buy ink.