Sunday, February 5, 2012

TAXES AND OTHER DRUTHERS



I love the holidays. Over Christmas we see our son who lives across the country more than at any other time during the year.  In those days between Christmas and New Year's Day, we also visit with family and entertain friends who we don't see often enough. But as soon as the holidays are a warm memory, the idea of tax preparation rears its head.  That memory isn't warm--it's tedious!  January is that month of the year when the previous year has to be studied, analyzed, and broken down into manageable bits. Each number has to make sense and match another in a checkbook, on a payment stub or on a charge statement.

I could dread tax preparation.  Let's skip over the obvious. We have to pay in money we don't want to pay.  (Though I do think of everything our taxes go to pay and try to keep an elevated opinion of those on better days.) During this January excavation into receipts, there are so many other things I'd rather be doing--writing, blogging, tweeting! However, over the years I've come to accept the fact that tax preparation is a chore like raking leaves, cutting the grass, preparing a meal, doing car maintenance.  I've found if I approach it with a positive attitude, I can learn from it. I can see patterns and trends in my expenses and spending.  If  I look hard enough and think the scope of the whole procedure through, I definitely see changes I need to make.  Most of all, I can let everything I've learned lead to me choose a course that will take me forward instead of backward.

If I haven't made financial new year's resolutions before gathering all the paperwork, I will after it's compiled.

So tell me.  How do you approach doing taxes? Do you consider the experience positive or negative?

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10 comments:

Rabia said...

I'm lucky: my husband does our taxes. However, if I do start making money off my writing, taxes will become a lot more complicated and I'll have to step in and do my share (or else hire an accountant!).

Carrie Daws said...

I do our taxes each year and it's usually a mixed blessing. Like you, I get a fresh perspective on what we're doing well -- and what needs improvement. I don't necessarily love doing them, but I don't hate it -- but then again, I'm a 'bean counter' at heart. :)

Liv said...

This year is going to be painful. We always go to an accountant, because my husband is self-employed, but my old desktop crashed, taking our Microsoft Money with it, which is where I kept track of where our money went. I keep putting off the day when I have to figure out how to reconcile everything, just to get it ready for the tax guy. Yuck!

KRS said...

I remember when I sold Home Interiors and Gifts and kept a ledger! I'm not so sure it wasn't easier. :)

KRS said...

I keep detailed records and all my receipts and probably everything in triplicate. But then we have a tax preparer do the return.

Cora said...

I used to procrastinate and absolutely hate doing taxes until I got a tax accountant to do the preparation. Sure I pay for the service, but the removed stress is so worth it. I keep a folder where I drop all tax receipt items in all year long, then wait for year end forms in January before I make my appointment with a smile--I usually get money back.

KRS said...

Cora--Do you give him your receipts or do you add them up in categories? Just wondering.

julie kenner said...

Oh, sigh, ugh...every year I aspire to database all my expenses as I go along...and then every February I have to spend time entering a pile of receipts into a database! That's the hard part for me....I have a wonderful CPA who takes all the info and turns it into a tax form. Positive experience? Um, no. But it's not terribly painful. Just a time suck!

KRS said...

Julie--I use "Money" and everything must be entered. It can be tedious so I try to keep good notes.

julie kenner said...

never used that. I did PocketMoney on my iPhone for a while, but got out of the habit. Now I try to remember to send all my receipts to Evernote with the "Taxes_20??" tag and then I enter them into Bento. Slow and tedious, but it works.