Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taxes Done... Almost

We are processing the payment for our state taxes online as I write this — we finished our annual TurboTax odyssey in record time, with less cursing than ever before. In fact, it was kind of a letdown. I had just gotten warmed up and settled into my usual snappish, shrewish form.... and it was all over.

I told Toffee that Al Capone always paid his taxes — as my Italian dad likes to remind me.
Toffee thought it over and decided that Al Capone was a sissy.

I'd remembered to consult last year's blog post on this subject, to refresh my memory on how to calculate Massachusetts's "safe harbor" amount of online sales tax, because the process was very convoluted last year. I'd finally figured out how to trick the software into adding the correct amount, but only after considerable agony. This year, TurboTax added the correct amount before we even had a chance to blink, and my hard-won knowledge wasn't needed.

We toss all our tax papers into a folder through the year, and organize it the night we start the taxes. As I went through it, I found a misfiled vet bill from July for one of Snalbert's last visits. It was heart-breaking; it was from when he was really sick and we still hoped we could stabilize him. He was with us at this time last year (and Snicky, too, just barely). Poor little guy; he was brave and sweet to the end. At his best, Bertie was a huge, hilarious personality — even our splendid Possum and two crazy kittens can't quite fill this apartment the way he did, I must confess. And he was Wendy's best friend... the only way to distract myself from tears was to become annoyed that we can't deduct medical expenses for our animals. Imagine if we could....

The kittens provided comic relief by chasing each other the length of the apartment, racing across the carpet at our feet.

We usually fuel our TurboTax sessions with large slabs of layer cake and tall glasses of milk, but tonight we had Trader Joe's Chocolate Coated Chocolate Chip Dunkers. These cookies are essentially  a slab of chocolate with a thin chocolate-chip cookie on one side. The cookie part is just an excuse; it's all about the chocolate. I recommend these if you still have to do your taxes: You can dunk one as you ponder some incomprehensible question about overseas investment income (check "no") and the slab will prevent it from turning into mush at the bottom of your glass. There are two cookies per serving according to the nutrition label, but I didn't read that until I'd had at least six. But it's tax time; one does whatever it takes to get through it. The cookies come in a giant tub so we might still have some left in case we get audited.

Although the process was quicker this year, there were several questions TurboTax asked us that so thoroughly stumped us that we checked "no" as a kind of white-flag surrender. Not only did we have no idea what it was asking, we also knew that, in a million years, we still wouldn't understand. We wasted less time helplessly dithering over those questions this year; being older and wiser, we have a more accurate idea of how ignorant we are.

I was feeling quite relieved as I wrote this, believing the annual torture was over, looking forward to 11.75 months of not worrying about taxes. (And we're getting a refund!). But I just remembered — I still have to complete the Pennsylvania tax form. By hand. All I need to do is copy down some numbers an accountant sends me, but I still suffer over it and screw it up. If it's any comfort to my local readers, the Pennsylvania form is at least as arcane and annoying as the Massachusetts form, and possibly worse.

It can wait until morning.

1 comment:

  1. No matter how many cats I have (3 at present) or how dearly I love them, there is still one that can bring tears to my eyes just remembering who he was and just what an absolutly precious wonderful companion he was. You know what I mean. It is nice to know others know what I mean. I LOVE my guys. But there will never be another Ross. He was my boy.

    Did you ever think that maybe tax time went a little easier because you had some 'help'? And that 'someone' left you a clue in the folder of tax stuff as to where that help came from?? Just say'n... stranger things have happened.
    Hugs to all your boys and a special one for Miss Wendy.


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