This year I not only blew right by April 15, I barely noticed it approaching.
What a wonder. Since I started freelancing full-time, in 1999, I have dreaded the approach of Tax Day. For an account of my annual angst, see “April Is a Taxing Month.” That post is from 2012, but if you’ve seen one of my Aprils, you’ve pretty much seen them all.
Until this year. Why is this year different from all previous years?
Because I hired someone to prepare my taxes for me.
And it took me so long — why?
Let’s see. (1) Because every year I’d procrastinate so long that there’d be no time for anyone else to do them. (2) Because when I’d ask my friends who prepared their taxes, they’d usually concede that they didn’t really like whoever prepared their taxes, but it was better than doing it themselves. (3) Because I’m a control freak. (4) Because I was afraid a tax preparer would tell me I’d been doing it all wrong for 30 years, laugh at me, and tell me I owed the IRS a million dollars in back taxes and penalties. (5) Because I’m cheap.
Late last April, when the agony was fresh in my mind, I asked another friend who did her taxes. She raved about her wonderful tax person and gave me this paragon’s business card. I stuck it on my fridge with all my other important stuff.
This year it wasn’t doing my taxes that I started avoiding at the end of January, when all my 1099s had arrived. What I was avoiding this year was calling the tax preparer. Paragon she might be but (4) and (5) above loomed very large in my mind.
Thanks to all the snow this past winter, it was also easy to convince myself that spring, and hence April 15, was never going to show up. Long about mid-March this conviction was beginning to falter. Finally I called the tax prep person and made an appointment.
Short version: My taxes were done and filed by the end of March, I didn’t owe the IRS a million dollars, the tax prep lady didn’t laugh at me, and it cost less than I thought it would.
From the comic strip Shoe:
IRS Auditor: You seem to have a phenomenal number of deductions.
Perfessor Cosmo Fishhawk: I’m a columnist. I comment on life. Life is deductible.
I’m told this “life deduction” was based on what a New York accountant invented for his freelance writer clients. Never did confirm it, but I like it.
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My tax prep person listed “work clothing” as a business expense. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but at least my total clothing expenditures are way less than I spend on, say, UPS.
Typos R Us:
I meant to type “Shoe”.
Ha, should have caught that. Will fix. That was one of the greatest strips ever.
Sometimes getting some help can be a great idea. Now you can relax and enjoy the spring season.
It’s as if I had a spring attitude transplant! It was so worth it. Another thing: some editors complain a lot about writers who need an editor but won’t hire one. That never surprised me, because finding the right editor can be hard and finding the wrong editor can be a disaster. But so many of my fears were similar: I won’t find a competent person, I can’t afford it, the person will think I’m stupid . . .