What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Friday, December 30, 2005

On tax tortures

I guess that I must like scaring myself. Every year at this time, I sit down and try to estimate how much I will have to pay in income taxes for the past year. The thing is that I don’t even do my own taxes. I haven’t done my own taxes for many years. One April, many years ago, I found myself faced with the prospect of trying to figure out how to file income tax forms in seven different states. I was way out of my league. So, I hired a “tax guy”. He did such a competent job that he has prepared our taxes every year for several decades now.

Still, every year I sit down about now and try to figure them out for myself. Rather than doing this exercise earlier in the year when, perhaps, I could make real changes, I do it during the last week of the year. It is too late to make any changes in my withholding forms; the only thing that I accomplish is that I scare the crap out of myself.

The idea behind this torture is to try and figure out the tax forms so that the numbers that I estimate are roughly the same as the numbers that the “tax guy” eventually calculates. Then, I can save myself some money. I should be able to prepare my own taxes for the following year. I have never even come close. Usually, the difference between our calculations is truly astounding.

I don’t get it. I am not a dumb person (although some may wish to argue this point.) I did well in math classes. I can follow printed instructions. I should be able to do this myself, but I am never even close. Some years, my calculations are way high. Some years, they are way low. I use the wrong forms. I consult the wrong tables. I put my numerator where my denominator is supposed to be. I have never hit it on the mark. So, I continue to not prepare my own taxes.

This year my preliminary numbers were heart-stoppingly, mind-numbingly terrifying. I do so hope that I am still really bad at doing this stuff. Please, don’t let this be the year when I finally get it right!


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