Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh

"Let me tell you how it will be; There's one for you, nineteen for me. " Taxman by George Harrison

We're coming down to the wire. This is the last week before Federal (and in most cases State) taxes are due. I know plenty of people who have not only already filed their taxes, but have already received (and in most cases spent) their refunds. I've never been quite so organized. But I am happy to report that I did mail off both my tax returns a few days ago. I'm getting a small refund from the Feds and an even smaller one from the State. In fact, my refund from the State will cost more to process than the amount of money involved but, by gosh, it's MY MONEY and I want it back.

Paying taxes is a hot topic and always has been. I mean, our forefathers rebelled against the mother country over "taxation without representation." Can't get much more American than that! I remember when my son was around ten or eleven, I had to explain to him why we pay taxes. The conversation went something like this:

He: Why do we have to pay taxes anyway?
Me: See all those nice roads and freeways? Taxes pay for those. That nice park you like to go to with your friends to play? Taxes pay for it to be clean, the grass cut, and the equipment to be in good repair.

He: (thoughtfully) Really? Okay, I guess we should pay taxes.

If only it really were that straightforward. The California state tax return has a whole list of charitable organizations that you can donate all or part of your refund to. If only they had a list of places you could designate where your tax dollars went! I don't think any local roads, parks, schools, fire and police protection would be strapped for funds if there were. Unfortunately, taxes tend to be more like George Harrison's song:

if you drive a car, - I’ll tax the street;
if you try to sit, - I’ll tax your seat;
if you get too cold, - I’ll tax the heat;
if you take a walk, - I'll tax your feet.

And I don't even want to think about the consequences of NOT paying your taxes.

Many years ago, my ex decided to get 'creative' with a few of our deductions and we wound up being audited. The memory still throws me into a cold sweat. Trust me when I say that every horror story you've heard about audits are TRUE! That's why whenever I am asked what I'm afraid of, I always answer the IRS! After all, the notorious gangster Al Capone was brought up on many, many charges, but the only one the authorities ever made stick was tax evasion.

If the IRS brought down Capone, then you better believe I am afraid of them!

Have you paid your taxes yet? Did you get a refund? If you have to pay, do you wait until the last minute, like I do?


Helen said...

Aunty Cindy

I too do not like Tax time LOL here in Australia the finacial year ends on 30th June and all tax returns have to be in by October and yes I usually get a return which is pretty good and over the years we have relied on that to pay car registration and bills etc I very rarely get to spend it on me LOL.
A couple of years ago I tried to do my own online and got a really good return so the next year I did the same and got another good return but then I got a letter of the tax dept telling me I had made an error on the first one I did and owed them money back I did get a little upset with them because I had done the same thing 2 years in a row so I had a fair bit of money to pay back :( but I have learn't my lesson and never do them on my own now I pay someone to do it for me LOL

Have Fun

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Oh man, Helen!

You sound a lot like me. I'm so scared to do my own that I have my friend's son (who is an accountant) do mine.

I never get enough to buy anything good either. And there always seems to be some bill that crops up and takes the refund and then some. :-( But that PAYING BACK sounds AWFUL!