I generally don’t do my own taxes. I used to do it when I was young and bored with nothing better to do. Besides I was poor. I’d fill out the EZ form in twenty minutes and then kick back and relax and wait for my check to come back. Later on, when I actually had assets, I did my own 1040 long form. After a couple of years the novelty wore off. To me, doing my own taxes is like changing my own oil (which I also don’t do). I did it enough times to know that I could do if I had to. Therefore my manhood was satisfied, but I could also get on with my life and do things I’d rather do.
This year, things were crazy around the house in spring and suddenly it was the first week of April. My “people” (as the commercials say) were kind of busy from all their clients who had actually called them in February. So, it was up to me. I decided to file for an extension. I went out to the post office to pick up the form. It was surprisingly short at four pages. However, you needed to estimate your taxes in order to get the extension.
Back to the post office. I was pretty sure I didn’t owe any money. In fact, most years we get a refund back from the government. I picked up an EZ form and brought it home to fill out at the kitchen table. Half an hour later, I realized I had made a mistake. The EZ form is easy because there are basically no deductions for anything. Without that, I owed the government many thousands of dollars. I needed to itemize: the interest on my mortgage, my mileage for work, our medical expenses. By now it was past midnight on the morning of April 15th. I drove out to the post office again (I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, but they were doing a brisk business) and picked up all the other forms.
I sat down and worked everything out to the best of my ability… which at 4:30 in the morning was not all that good. I ended up working the numbers until I finally owed less than what I had paid in. That was good enough for me. I could fill out the form and get it in the mail, get my “people” scheduled to work on it some more later in the spring. And then I could go to bed…
…right after I filed my Illinois income taxes!