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April 15th is Scary, Even Until June by markrhunter

View this thread on steempeak.com
· @markrhunter ·
$3.86
April 15th is Scary, Even Until June
There was a certain irony a few years ago, when I finished doing my taxes on April Fools’ Day.

Come to think of it, it’s a wonder the director of the Internal Revenue Service didn’t hold a press conference that day: “You know how we set up this huge, expensive, insanely complicated way of doing your income taxes, that has more twists and turns than an Alfred Hitchcock movie? April Fools!”

That would explain a lot.

This year I got my taxes done early, which prompted the fates (who have a sense of humor) to change the deadline. One of the few good things about the coronavirus outbreak is that if you ran behind on getting your returns done, you were golden for another few months. But I got mine done earlier than usual.

Ha, ha.

Anyone who wonders why I usually finish my taxes close to the deadline never went long form. It was also about money: A few years ago I expected to owe, and up until then didn’t have the cash. My part time job was as a freelance writer, which means my publisher didn’t take taxes out. (But they did pay me, so yay!) It was a recipe for that old joke about simplifying IRS forms: “1. How much did you make last year? 2. Send it in.”

In the end I got a bit of a refund. A refund, by the way, is when you jump up and down excitedly and make big plans to use the money your government was so nice to send you, completely forgetting that it was your money to begin with.

The bigger reason why I waited so long is because until the last few years, I was too cheap to pay somebody else to do my return. That’s selfish, considering over $150 billion dollars are spent just filing taxes in America every year, and how many people does that keep employed? If the feds ever did simplify the tax code, it could collapse an entire industry. Not just one, but two – the market for headache medicine would decrease substantially.


![image.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmaiyvdm5xksgMzMVnYZLGvDmz9n56pr2oJJbysuB172pd/image.png)

And local taxes–don’t forget local taxes.

Because I worked four jobs that year (no wonder I was so tired), and two of my employers didn’t take out taxes, going “EZ” was out of the question. Instead I had to use the long form, code named “SU”, which of course stands for “Stroke-Ulcer”.

Luckily, I have a carefully organized filing cabinet, with folders dividing up everything so that finding the necessary paperwork would be quick and painless. It would have, if I used that filing cabinet. Instead, I spent the year piling bills and receipts on every available surface of the house. First step: ransacking the residence.

Then I organized materials into one pile for the stuff I knew I’d need, and one pile for the stuff my paranoia told me I’d need, but I never really do. Then came work-related spending, such as calculators, pens, notebooks, highlighters, aspirin, highly caffeinated soft drink …

By the way, do not drink alcohol during this operation. One wrong calculation or smart aleck notation, and you’re sitting in an office with a man whose job description includes the words “make miserable”.

Then I fired up the online tax preparation program. See, I wasn’t crazy enough to do this stuff from scratch with no assistance at all. My wife short-formed that year (EZ – ha!) and it still took her two hours.

Overall it took an entire weekend to do my federal and state income tax returns – a bit more if you figure in recovery time. Since I don’t drink, recovery time took longer.


![image.png](https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmSzAZYmrXioxovGdi3AdHrVmga4TnegvnQ6WU5p94tHcf/image.png)

Stop worrying, we already paid the tax on your kibble.

“Couldn’t we just find a way to simplify the tax code?” Capital idea, but it flies in the face of history. Every attempt to make figuring income taxes easier has just made it more complicated. Every attempt to close a loophole opened a dozen new ones. It’s almost as if Washington was full of lawyers, bureaucrats, and career politicians who know we can’t be bothered to vote them out ... but surely that’s not the problem?

Complicated as it might seem to us peons, it costs only eleven billion dollars or so to operate the IRS every year. That’s small change, in Washington. So small, in fact, that I sent a letter to my Congressman asking for just one percent of that to help stimulate my economy. He sent me a thank you and an invitation to his next town hall meeting, which I can’t afford the gas to drive to.

So it’s done, and I get enough of a refund of my own money to pay my property tax bill, which again – ironic. My donation surely takes the Federal budget out of the red, and they’ll have that pesky trillion dollar budget deficit taken care of in no time.

Meanwhile, my refund will get me enough fuel to reach the pharmacy, for more aspirin.
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@beatminister ·
I find it astonishing, what changes the virus made possible here. A lot of things can now be done online, which needed a lot of running around before. 
Forms that you need can be downloaded, instead of having to pick them up in some office in the town hall. And instead of going there again, you can send the filled in forms and scans, pdfs or photos of documents simply via email.
Just yesterday I received a letter from the electricity supplier, they come once a year to read the meter. Before, you had to be home to give them access to the meter - now you only have to scan a bar code they send and then enter what the meter is showing.
It can really make you wonder, why it took a epidemic to introduce such things. But perhaps it is, because its not much fun to be a bureaucrat if you can't mess around people.
👍  
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@markrhunter ·
Good things and bad things have resulted, but I don't think anyone anticipated just how very many things would change. It doesn't change reading the meter for us, though: Our  meters are already outside, so all they have to do is walk up and take a reading.

I really need to start reading up on the 1918 flu pandemic, to see if there were that many huge changes that time around.
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