Thursday, April 14, 2005

Taxes: How I Hate Them!

It is not in my nature to leave things til the last minute. I never once in my high school or college careers turned a paper in late or asked for an extension. Nor am I usually careless about details.* In fact, some aspects of my job could be described as professional nitpicking. But when it comes to paying my taxes, all bets are off.

Last year, I made the spectacularly boneheaded mistake of failing to send off my IRA contribution and my contribution to my other retirement plan when I sent off all my other tax stuff. I guess it was something to do with all the different checks I have to write out and forms I have to stuff in envelopes and matching them all up (it requires all my concentration not to put get all the checks and forms muddled up). Pathetic, I know! Anyway, after writing six checks, and matching them with their forms, I just figured I was through and skipped off to toss them all in the mailbox, thrilled to have my taxes out of the way for another year.

Of course, all my tax forms and payments due had been figured with the IRA and other retirement-plan deductions. About two weeks later, I had a V-8 moment and remembered I hadn’t sent in those checks. I had to refigure all my taxes. Then I had to turn over a good portion of the money I had intended to put toward retirement to the state of Oregon and the U.S. government. Never would it be seen again. Seriously, I almost threw myself to the floor and started shrieking when I realized I was going to have to go through all that paperwork again. Plus, I probably gyped myself out a deluxe Lazy-Boy recliner or some other golden-years luxury that I will now not be able to afford.

So this year, as you might imagine, there was no way I was going to allow myself to do anything so brainless. And B wasn’t either. He printed out mailing labels for each and every entity to which I owed taxes or payments--a total of eight. How kind. He also told me not to seal any of the envelopes until he could double-check them all. Most helpful. I guess I might as well admit that he pretty much did my taxes for me, too. I am forever grateful. Most importantly, he asked me this morning if I was sure that the retirement-plan payments didn’t need to be received (not just postmarked) by the 15th. To my credit, I had wondered this myself and was planning on calling to find out. Sure enough, the checks must be received by the 15th to count for 2004. It cost me $23 to overnight them. Grumble. Still, much better than a repeat of last year's ordeal.

By the way, I just cannot emphasize enough how uncharacteristic everything in the above paragraphs is of how I typically conduct my life. Most of all, B is usually not forced to treat me like I’m a feeble-minded child!

*I am careless about details in this blog, actually. I don't pay near the same level of attention to grammar, punctuation, and accuracy as I would if I were gettting paid to write this thing. And most of my sentences are overly long and tortuous. And I begin a lot of sentences with "And." Just so you know--I am aware that all my entries could use a rigorous copyedit.


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