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23 January 2004 @ 11:23 am
The Tax-Man Cometh  
Finding my W-2 sitting on my desk at work, I realized something important - I have to do my taxes. This is not just a "slap-my-forehead and shucks" kind of realization - I've never done my taxes before. My family has their taxes done by an accountant in Park Falls, who is certified for Wisconsin and Minnesota - he did my taxes for free every year, because he said it was easy enough to take no more than fifteen minutes of his time. But I can no longer rely on Fred1 to do my own dirty laundry for me - I have to start doing it myself.

Does anybody have any suggestions or advice? Anybody willing to share some wisdom about dealing with taxes in general?

1: He is the "prime mover" for my very own Personal Law of the Clan of Fred, which states that "The majority of male accountants I've ever met are named Fred, and all the Freds I've ever met are accountants."
 
 
 
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 23rd, 2004 09:28 am (UTC)
I can help if you like. My dad made me start doing my own taxes at 16, and if I can make it through capital gains and all that nonsense, I can probably help you through yours.

step one for you is probably to find out what stuff you paid (and documented) last year is deductable. I know medical expenses are, and there're some strange rules about student loans and interest payments.

once you get together all your W-2s and 1099s (interest statements) we can get together if you want.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 23rd, 2004 09:34 am (UTC)
I'm only waiting on the Adecco W-2 - which I will probably have to call their sorry asses about, since they most likely have forgotten about it, or don't care.

I don't have any interest-bearing accounts that I am aware of, so the 1099's are out of the question.
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 23rd, 2004 09:37 am (UTC)
they're all required to have W-2s in the mail January 31 (if I'm remembering correctly).

yeah, checked on that. just asked my boss, he sighed, got his keys, and went out to his car while telling me he has, by law, until the end of the month.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 23rd, 2004 09:53 am (UTC)
I just remember all the things Melrose was "required by law" to do, and I make wanking-off motions with my mind. I don't really think that phrase means jack to me anymore. It now means "easier to sue for" and not "we will be responsible about doing right the first time".
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 23rd, 2004 09:56 am (UTC)
yes, true. but somehow I bet that both adecco and spherion have a bit more accountability than boardwalk investments.

that said, I doubt we'll get that document from boardwalk. but I bet it'll be delivered on time by kleinman. (that's actually a state thing, and is separate from your state income taxes, so you won't need it to do your regular taxes, in case you didn't know)
XCorvisxcorvis on January 23rd, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)
If you don't have all your W-2 forms on Feb 1st, call the IRS and complain. IMMEDIATELY. RIGHT-FUCKING-AWAY.

Spacestar dicked me on this, I almost didn't get them filed in time.
push loud penspush_loud_pens on January 23rd, 2004 10:05 am (UTC)
just invest the 20-30 bucks and get TaxCut Pro or some such other computer program. It makes it as easy as just filling in the blanks with the numbers it tells you too, and if all you have is regular income (from jobs), didn't sell a bunch of stock or buy a house or something, it should only take you about 15 minutes or so. Also, with those programs you can submit your info electronically which greatly speeds up the refund process.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 23rd, 2004 10:12 am (UTC)
If they made programs like this for Linux, I would gladly do so. I appreciate the suggestion.
push loud penspush_loud_pens on January 23rd, 2004 10:27 am (UTC)
You can do it over the web I believe and still e-file, or print out the forms with all your data already automagically calculated

http://www.turbotax.com/index.php

or honestly, just print out the forms from the irs.gov site and fill them out by hand. Taxes aren't as difficult as people make them out to be (come on, is anything required of every person in the US honestly going to be as complicated as, say, differential equations?) It tells you where to find each number, look up some things in tables, do the math an viola. taxes done.
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 23rd, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
Sounds good - although I often wonder whether something required of every person in the US will always be made "easy". But that's a topic for another day.

I remember your op-ed columns from my younger Macalester days. Also, Phil, Cole, Mal, and Sam have recommended that I follow some of your thoughts, so I'm adding you to my friends list.
Abra SWcloudscudding on January 23rd, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
Taxes are easy.
Really. So long as you're not self-employed (which is where some of the ooky calculations come in), it really is as easy as filling in the blanks. Just double-check your math, 'cause it really sucks having the IRS tell you that you're wrong. Or at least I assume so, having never had that problem myself.
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 23rd, 2004 11:39 am (UTC)
Re: Taxes are easy.
I agree completely. turbotax is a waste of money for someone with as simple finances as most of us have right now.
2 Places at oncefayde on January 23rd, 2004 10:25 am (UTC)
TurboTax on-line
They walk you through everything you need by asking questions, you pay somewhere around $30-$40 and you get your refund by direct deposit in 6-10 buissiness days...
Josiah Carlsonchouyu_31 on January 23rd, 2004 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: TurboTax on-line
She speaks truth. I've used turbotax online for the last 5 years and have been happy with it. If you make less than $25k/year, the service is free.
Do You Wanna Be Free or You Wanna Be Right?malcubed on January 23rd, 2004 12:52 pm (UTC)
Is there any particular reason you're no longer having the accountant doing your taxes?
Hoc Est Qui Sumusdiscoflamingo on January 23rd, 2004 01:05 pm (UTC)
I need to grow up and learn how to do them myself. Mostly, I'm sick of my mother insisting on handling things like this, and sometimes handling them very poorly.
Anthonyhistorys_past on January 23rd, 2004 01:21 pm (UTC)
Funny, my accountant's name is Byron.

Fred was our electriction

(yes we need an electriction)
astcetc snafuwonderlandkat on January 23rd, 2004 01:22 pm (UTC)
arrrg!

the pain of using anthony's computer!
Hillarysusanofstohelit on January 23rd, 2004 01:30 pm (UTC)
hehe. instead of an electrician, my parents had a book on how to wire a house. same with the plumber, carpenter and bricklayer.