I've been slacking on my blog and have completely run out of pre-written blog posts to fill the void that is created with my three post a week habit. That would have meant that the last post about my daughter's illness would have remained on top for longer than I cared for it too. So I am just writing a quick splurb about doing my taxes to fill the void until I can come up with something better.
I used to do my taxes by pencil, calculator and lots of head scratching over a period of a couple weeks of evenings years ago. It worked but I dreaded it. Then I made the decision to go to a tax preparation firm to do it for me it about forty minutes. It was painless and stayed that way for many years. As their prices started going up, I strayed one year to buy some tax preparation software but it didn't do much for explaining things and I felt it was only an automated version of my pencil days except that the head scratching still remained. So I returned to the tax preparation company and continued on. That is until one year their fee for doing my taxes was almost 30% of my refund. Normally I try to owe the government and that was never a problem but when I slip and get a refund, I certainly didn't want someone else to collect it. That was the last straw and I went out and purchased tax preparation software the following year. Besides, my tax preparation person simply entered my information into her computer whenever it prompter her to do so.
That was probably five or six years ago and I have been using the tax preparation software every year since. After the first year which requires a lot of first time entry, it probably only taxes me a couple hours to completely due my taxes with little to no head scratching involved. The programs have gotten very sophisticated about how they function and interface with us people who have to file for taxes for a government with a tax code taller than a several story building when printed out. Best of all, taxes are so painless now that I have extra time to do some digging into new parts of the tax code that I am not familiar with to better understand it.
As expected, this year I didn't do a very good job of withholding taxes so that the federal and state governments both owe me back some money, money they have held onto for the last year and several months and gotten interest off of it. Not much these days thanks to our basement interest rates but still money that I would rather have in my account. Due to my wife's job, she actually works for up to six different companies that write her checks, I lost my job and there were signing bonuses figured into things. I find myself saying for about the fourth or fifth year in a row, maybe the next tax year our income will be straight forward.
So now that my taxes are done for the year and I have officially funded my governments for yet another year of wasteful spending, I guess I now have the right to bitch about it in upcoming posts. Since my tax bracket went up almost a full percentage point in 2012, I guess I get to bitch a little bit more than last year. Be forewarned!