Friday, March 23, 2012

Tax Timeout

We're due for the annual agony of doing our taxes online. At least our situation is easier than that of a friend of mine, who prefers not to have a computer. She has to organize and make lists of a whole box of small business—related expenses and expenditures by hand, for her accountant. With a pen. This takes her a solid month; they have several businesses. I hope she uses a calculator.

Last night around 8 o'clock, we gritted our teeth and got out the tax folder. I added up all of our charitable donations (not bad!). Husband spread out all the papers we'd accumulated over the table in semi-logical piles. Then he fired up the laptop, downloaded TurboTax, and eventually remembered the password from last year.

One of the first things TurboTax wanted was info from his W-2 forms. He should have two. We could only find one. Major problem: even though TurboTax can download the information from his employer, it still wants us to enter some identifying info found on the W-2.

We hunted and hunted, went through all of his other files, did that a second and third time, and then looked in even more unlikely places. (He had recently cleaned up his desk dramatically, which probably saved us an hour of sifting through piles.)

I decided not to bother Saint Anthony over this one, it's only a piece of paper. We went online and requested a duplicate W-2.

Reprieve! And before 9 pm.

I don't know when the W-2 will arrive, but I bet it won't be very soon. In the meantime, the cats are working on the taxes for us because we have not bothered to clean off the table. (Doing taxes is a fine excuse for eating out, at least the way we do them.) Wendy is very insecure, being feral, and worries that we'll become homeless because we are so irresponsible. She'd like us to do our taxes in January.

Wendy assists us with our taxes last night.

Both cats continue to work this morning.

Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to add up all of my husband's receipts for book purchases, beginning with the foreign receipts, which had to be converted from Euros to dollars. There were loads of receipts, so I was curious.

Why, oh why did I do this? I was appalled at the total. I was staggered. Voices were slightly raised; disbelief expressed. I mean, these aren't even the books he bought with his annual book allowance from the university.

After all that, I think he's finally learned not to keep his book receipts in the tax file — we never declare them as business expenses anyway. His books are mainly decor, if you ask me, since they are reference works that fill shelves; they're rarely read cover to cover and often they are never even opened once they are out of the Amazon.com (or Amazon.fr or Amazon.de) box.

But it was useful knowledge after all: I decided that if he can spend that much on "decor," I'm going to spring for some decent shoes!

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