Tuesday, March 4, 2014
IT’s TAX TIME AGAIN
IT’s TAX TIME AGAIN
Mrs. C and I just dropped our tax information to our accountant. My mom would be ashamed of me for not just doing my own taxes. I considered it my only vice and luxury. It is a vice and a luxury because there is no good reason I do not just do my own taxes.
My mom always did all the family’s taxes. Mrs. C used to do all her family’s taxes. I used to always do my taxes.
It amazes me how many people who only have simple short forms to file are so afraid of taxes that they pay for someone else to perform about three calculations, consult a tax table and lick a stamp. I think our schools should have a several week course to teach kids how easy it can be to file their own taxes.
I hated doing taxes, especially because I used to have to do four. There was the Federal, New Jersey as a resident, New York as a non-resident whose income was earned in New York, and New York City as a non-resident. Each jurisdiction had different rules and different explanations. Being a natural procrastinator I always did my taxes on April 15th, often racing to the post office just before midnight to get that April 15th postmark.
I did my own taxes for over 25 years, until I made one bad mistake.
One year ex-wife number two took a buy-out from her company in exchange for not being a pain in the ass after she was laid off. She was paid bi-weekly for one year, but never had to go to her job. I treated this income as New Jersey income because she never worked in New York. The checks, however, were paid out of a New York address.
New York taxed at a 9% rate; I filed the income as New Jersey and paid at a 6% rate.
New York disagreed.
They disagreed three years after the fact and did not want to listen to my argument as my position had already been ruled on against many others who had used my same flawed logic.
I had to pay up.
New York was nice enough to wave the interest and penalty.
New Jersey ruled three years was too late to file an amended return. This mistake cost me 6% of the income as I ended up paying to both jurisdictions.
The money loss was bad enough; the worst was the wrath of ex-wife number two. I was called every name in the book. I was emasculated, berated, beleaguered and damn near beheaded. I vowed to never file on my own again even though it was well within my ability to do so.
I could file on my own today. Mrs. C would never berate me for making an error, and she is tax savvy so we could certainly work on them together. However, my income today is far more complicated than in the old days. There is Social Security income and Social Security rules, there are capital gains rules, dividend rules, some Mutual Funds have a mixture of dividend and capital gains income that I can never figure out, and Mrs. C has earned income. So the hell with it, I give it all over to my accountant and pay him a pretty penny.
I sleep well on April 15th.
It is my only luxury.