Monday, April 14, 2008

...Taxes


Less than a month after I first started blogging, way back in 2004, I wrote a blog entry titled "Hooray For Taxes!" Then I got all paranoid and deleted the entry, lest it attract the wrong sort of attention from the IRS. The point stands, though, even if the entry didn't. Nobody wants to pay taxes. We'd all rather get a refund, or not pay at all. And we certainly don't want our money to be squandered on whatever it is we think the government is squandering it on, such as the war. Really, though, I don't mind contributing a bit of money to all those government agencies that make at least a half-assed attempt to protect us and the planet we live on, to schools and the arts and scientific research and Congress and that President fellow, even if he is the worst one evah (or as Scalzi claims, if I recall correctly, the second worst). Sure, I'd like to see the money spent more efficiently and more wisely, but when you add it all up, there's a lot there that's worth doing, and worth paying for.

And it doesn't hurt that we're getting a refund again this year.

Now, as you may know, I'm an accountant, albeit not a CPA. Furthermore, I use TurboTax like everyone else. But oh, how I hate doing the taxes! There's always some bit of paper that eludes me: a W-2, or the real estate taxes, or how much I gave St. Michael's, or how much I spent on my teeth, or how much I paid in medical insurance, or some combination thereof. Eventually I found all of these things, but it took a while, sorting through months of accumulated mail. John would have me do the whole thing in January, but here it is April again. He figures it's my job as an accountant, and doesn't seem to believe me when I say I'm not that kind of accountant.

And what about this retirement fund stuff? What about cafeteria plans? Does 401(k) info get totally ignored, as long as we didn't take any money out of it? Is John's current plan a Health Savings Account? How much was withheld for medical insurance from First Magnus? Their ex-employee info site has no working links at all any more. And how much was my check for my day of jury duty last September? ($24, I learned.) Okay, at least that one was easy to resolve, just two quick phone calls to the county.

I thought I had it all done, except for John checking on the medical plan. But I just found a 1099-R relating to my old 401(k) plan through First Magnus, some sort of nontaxable distribution that nevertheless needs to be reported. Except I didn't get a distribution, so what is the form about? I'll have to call about that tomorrow.*

Aargh! Remind me to never, never, never accept a job preparing income taxes.

Karen

*Never mind. I found something that says it's been rolled over into a "Safe Harbor IRA." Whatever that is.

4 comments:

barrettmanor said...

One of us has a degree in Business Administration, including a number of required accounting courses. The other of us has a Liberal Arts degree and had to retake basic math for LA majors.

Guess which one of us does the taxes?

Scary, ain't it? ;-)

Florinda said...

Philosophically, my view on taxes is pretty similar to yours.

I'm a non-CPA accountant also, and since I've spent most of my career in nonprofit, I definitely don't have a lot of tax-related experience. Fortunately, we have a pretty simple tax/financial situation, and TurboTax totally rocks. We knew we'd owe, we owed less than we expected, and we got it all over with by mid-February.

The "safe harbor IRA rollover" just means you didn't take any distribution from your old 401(k), if I recall correctly from my previous experience.

Paul said...

I did my taxes today. I absolutely hate it, too.

Saqib said...

My dad is a CPA. I remember working in his office during summer vacation. I was responsible for photocopying tax forms (in triplicate of course) for various clients. But I still can't get my 1099s and 1040s straight. Ahhh the memories.