Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Okay, so Tax Time proves I'm not in all ways Frugal...

Taxes show me the true state of my self-discipline. I worked on it back in January because I had to, and continued off and on until I was done enough to work on Katie's FAFSA (application for Federal Student Aid)...and though I had a few little details to figure out, I put it aside because I had more urgent demands on my life at the time. Then urgency yielded in time to the eventual need to be painting in our house. This is an ongoing process which I hope will someday be done, because we want to sell, but that's becoming less realistic a goal for this year than it seemed a few months ago. Still, it's a goal, and I have to paint, fix mistakes, finish little unfinished parts (sort of like my taxes), and then go on to the next room I want to see changed. When we're done with that, we start floors. Ick.
So anyway, I finally sort of half-heartedly started looking in the den for the tax materials, which somehow kind of got scattered in the piles of papers that I characteristically (now this is sick) put in bins until I can deal with them. They didn't stay in one spot; they scattered like some demon had stirred the bins with a stick. I even found them not in one bin, but in two. At least I found them. But I didn't even start looking for them until a couple of days ago, because the deadline wasn't, after all, until today...and I thought there was only a very little bit left to do.
Of course, when I got it all together, I realized there was some to figure out on Katie's to the point that I had to do hers all over again. Does this sound sick that I'm doing hers? Well, I like to think that it's compassion on my part, not spoiling or enabling or whatever, because she's in an overwhelming load of classes and I want her to be able to focus on them. I'm glad, too, because in doing them, I realize how awful it would have been for her.
Have you ever done your own taxes? I hate the uncertainty of just hoping against hope that I understand the instructions accurately. Part of why I do them myself instead of going to some organization is because I'm part Scottish and part Jewish, and hate to pay for something that I can supposedly conceivably wrestle through for myself. The other part is that for me, one of the hardest parts is getting all the information together for the person doing the taxes (in this case, me). If I hired someone, I'd have to make 40 trips to keep going back and forth to get them one more W-2 or other form...and as happens in doing them at home, I'd realize at the last minute that there's yet one more form than I thought that pertained to what I have to compute. (And it usually changes a number near the top of the front, so that I have to figure out the front and the back a few times all over again.)
It's okay. I have had the IRS politely and kindly correct me a number of years ago, but they didn't penalize me. Maybe it's because I overpaid rather than underpaid; maybe it's because I reported to pay taxes on things that I didn't have any proof of having received, and so they figured I was honest. (I am; not only because I'm Christian, but also because I'm afraid of getting caught.)
So thanks to the IRS, if I didn't know it otherwise, thanks to them I know I'm not perfect. They let me know that I'm prideful enough to mistakenly think that I can do the impossible in an impossibly short time. They also let me know that I'm not disciplined enough to do something with deadline to spare. Well, tonight may have been a record, we got it in maybe 3 hours ahead of midnight, but that's probably only thanks to the fact that we...have money coming back. (Sigh.) I'm incorrigible. I will really know that Jesus has impacted me if I ever get it in on the 14th. Ask me next year...and the year after that...with God all things are possible!

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