a year of getting back in touch.

act one: me
act two: you
act three: everything else

Monday, March 26, 2012

Death or...

It's income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta. 
-Dave Berry

Whenever March and April come around, it is an accepted fact that the process of filing taxes will undoubtedly baffle me yet again. This year was no exception. Coming from someone who just spent four years dealing with the worst kind of red tape and tedious paperwork in the world (thanks, France), that is saying something.

Usually I just have to deal with the 1040EZ, which I honestly find complicated enough to leave me a tax-hangover for a few days. Well, this was the first year Remy & I had to tackle filing "married filing jointly" (although technically last year we did, too, but considering we had NO income in 2010 it only took like 13 hours instead of the usual 27). To complicate matters, Remy did a project earlier in the year for MokaSocial for which he was paid "nonemployee compensation" and it took me six hours to try to figure out what the hell that means and how to file because of it.

I finally figured it out and went through my first official full long-version 1040 experience on my own. It was more than confusing, it was more than stressful, and multiple times I thought about making up a tax-return drinking game. It would go something like this:

13 Combine the amounts in the far right column for lines 7 through 18.3.
14 Multiply $1234 by the sum of the amounts on lines 5f and 21a.
15 If you aren't confused, take a drink.
16 If you are confused, take two drinks.
15 Subtract line 14 from line 13. If line 14 is more than line 13, drink the difference.
16 If line 13 is more than 14, go buy three bottles of red wine and drink them all before proceeding to the next line. If required, attach form 8888 and take a shot of whiskey.

Considering I'm not drinking these days, I figured playing with water would just mean me being up all night with a full bladder. Someone should definitely try it out, though. There is a serious game hidden there, and who knows, maybe it will make the process easier.

It boggles my mind how anyone with anything more than a standard bank account fills these things out, let alone what tax lawyers and tax specialists do the first four months of any given year (and the other eight months, too, for that matter). In my mind they are essentially magicians. 

I ended up figuring it all out (I hope). But every year when the envelope gets put in the mailbox and it's a done deal I always feel the same way I feel when leaving the mechanic - like I just got ripped off big time by giving all my money to something I have no comprehension of, which leaves me feeling ignorant, stupid and quite simply put: screwed.

Happy April, fellow Americans! May your tax journey be as awkward and unsettling as mine!

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