February 3rd, 2009

Death and...

One thing that I've always been thankful for is that my mother didn't raise me to be afraid of numbers. While most people around me fretted about their tax returns, she just curled up at the kitchen table with a pencil and a pen and calmly plowed through them. When I got to the point that I had to file tax returns, I did the same thing. Pile up all the data, sit down with the forms, and work through them. Check your numbers, then change the pencil to pen.

She also taught me to do it early. If I was getting a refund, mail them right away. If not, do it on April 14 or so. I'm not quite as good at that as she is, but the principle is sound.

It's easier these days than it was before-- I need neither pen nor pencil, and I don't have to do any of the math myself. I started installing TurboTax around 7 p.m. this evening, and I was essentially done with my return before 8. (OK, the fact that they owe me a big chunk o'change doesn't hurt my motivation.) I still need to dig out one piece of info, but other than that I'm finished.

I used to know a guy who paid a tax accountant to fill in his 1040EZ. No shit. He even made his living programming computers, so he had a decent head for numbers and logic, but for some reason he had an irrational fear of tax forms.

Wow, it just occurred to me that "kids these days" probably think they can't do their taxes without software, just like they can't function without an iPod and can't drive without GPS.