Friday, April 15, 2005

The Taxman Cometh

With the wonders of an internet connection comes the advent of filing taxes electronically. (Actually, I can't ever remember doing it any other way...) For all of us procrastinators and financial klutzes, even if you do them the day that they are due, it's still all good. I've never waited till the very last minute though, on taxes. Until now. I think I have a grey hair or two.

Now the actual process takes me about say 10-20 minutes with some nifty program like TaxCut, TaxMachete or TaxWolverine. Also available in the more comprehensive TaxJungle Plus (Includes a real machete when threatening your computer's life to give you a refund). I don't have complicated investments, several jobs, farm property, or an international traveling circus, although I do house acrobatic monkeys. Ah my lovable little tax deductions. Gathering all the proper papers that filter in at the beginning of the year seems to be the stumbling block. My house tends to eat anything that is important. Often I have to give it the Heimlich to regurgitate them. But along with that comes a dust storm that engulfs all in it's path. Hence my inability to breath this week.

So I've been poking at it with a stick for the last few days, putting in a form here and social security number there, and wondering the same things as last year, like if my brief obsession for saving all the cool bottles that various natural drinks come in counts as a deduction for a "hobby expense".

With recent events in the past few months, all of the sudden, guess what. It's mid-April. No problem, finished it up this mornin', ready to file it online. Luckily there is a screen included that says "Review your Return". Things are looking good, doot da doo, yup here's my W2 for 200...3. Great wads of donkey spit, what did I do. I suppose the big black bold "2003" should have given me a clue. I have no earthly idea where the heck my 2004 W2 is lurking. No problem. It's probably here in the office. But I've just cleaned my desk. Which means it has to be at home. That's a problem.

Warp factor 10. My radio must have been picking up some vibrations as NPR was playing some kind of schizo-scherzo piano piece. In the meantime I've called my wife. "Hi honey, so tonight I thought we'd play John the Baptist and you can be Salome. Would you like extra pepperoni on that platter with my head?" Cue the apocalyptic orchestral score. I make it home and the edge of the wasteland stands strewn before me. Now is not the time to panic. Focus, man! My mind is transfigured into a quixotic machine. "Right, then, have at you demonic piles of paper!" Sneeze, hack, wheeze, loogie, loogie, dunk my head in the sink, sneeze some more, rinse, repeat. A moment of clarity. Three seconds later into the brink and here we go again.

After tearing things up and down I realize this far more counterproductive than it should be. I've had the thing for the past two and a half months so I really haven't a clue where to begin. I even dumped out the entire recycle bin with three months worth of junk mail and assorted paper products to see if in a fit of blind fury it was lost in that sea. But alas no. So after a half a day of reverse thrashing, I was starting to lose my enthusiasm and have that sinking feeling that the end is coming. When lo and behold, somewhere in between a stack of old books and some random monkey wall mural, a crisp white paper shined forth bearing the correct date that I was traversing the time/space continuum for. Mission accomplished, insert William Wallace victory roar, only with more supportive undergarments.

All is well, filed and even a refund at that. And house is substantially cleaner than it has been in quite some time. On the way back to work, a triumphant victory march played at full blast.

Have you done your taxes or is your Friday night date with a taxman? Hopefully he's cute.


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