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Fear of Taxes

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Most recently, my 2-year-old’s favorite thing to say is, “Ewww.” She says it with a long drawn-out ending and a crinkled expression on her face. This is exactly my feeling this time of year as well. I’m not talking about springtime; I’m talking about tax time.

Lately, I will sit down at my computer desk and do anything but my taxes. Suddenly reading e-mail, browsing Facebook and updating my blog have become urgent. Anyone need research done? I’m on it. My husband briefly mentioned he would like an attic ladder one day. Now I know how much they cost, where to buy one and who offers free shipping. I even know the dimensions of our attic opening (impressive, I know). I’ve also begun changing pictures around in the house and I’m thinking of redecorating my bathroom. Anything to avoid preparing taxes. I absolutely dread them.

Although finances are not my strong point, for some reason this responsibility falls under my domain in our household. My husband pretends to loathe this task more than I do. I like to remind him I never quite understood finances, accounting, or economics of any kind – macro or micro. My concern in college was, “Which one is easier?” I just wanted an “A.” I thought I’d never use the information later in life. What did any of it have to do with journalism? Big mistake.

I vaguely remember hearing a lecture in economics about supply and demand. I relate this to my large family today. I would like more money to supply my family with what we need and I demand the government give it to me. That’s my idea of supply and demand. Our country is trillions of dollars in debt. My solution – why not just print more money? Sounds like an easy fix to me. This would be why I’m not the president of the Federal Reserve.

As with everything, I blame my parents. Lack of financial skills may have skipped their generation, but it hit mine hard. My sister and I are at a total loss. She still doesn’t understand how she could be out of money when she has blank checks left. I’m a little farther ahead of the game there, but not much.

Nonetheless, I seem to continuously complain about taxes even though we do have an accountant (thank God someone’s an expert in this field). He does the hard part. All I have to do is make sure our records are up-to-date and keep track of receipts. I just plug in a few numbers, pray I give him the correct information, and hand it off.

The reason I’m deathly afraid of taxes is because of this big entity called the IRS. Once upon a time, one would think they wouldn’t care about a poor, starving, college student living off a pitiful salary. Not so. My mother used to do my taxes back then and she made a small mistake (emphasis on small). Surprise, I was audited. I can attest, it never feels good to get mail from the IRS when the document mentions the word “audit.” Needless to say, I found out the IRS did care about me and I owed them $200 for a $50 mistake.

So, once again, I’m praying no mistakes are made as I fill out 1099s and 1098s with a shaking hand, or any other form that makes little sense to me. I will continue to send questions via e-mail to my accountant, when I’m not looking for deals on attic ladders, of course.

Courtesy of the Atchison Globe