Once a Year, Whether I Need It Or Not


Yeah, once a year we go through an ordeal that we thought nothing could outdo for sheer horror and terror. Yes, it's once again time to prepare our Income Taxes.

Little of any positive consequence can be said of COVID-19, but it did lead to a two-month reprieve of filing these documents last year. And this year it's a one-month extension. Sadly, all this extra time gives me is one more month to fret about things and have my living room messed up.

Several years ago I had a guy who had made a retirement business out of doing taxes for folks like me. He was reasonably cheap, seemed very knowledgeable, got things done with time to spare, and gave me lots of face time to allow me to find out what he'd done and why. Sadly, he got out of the business.

A friend of mine recommended a replacement. They were pretty good but not as available to explain things. Two years ago, they too got out of the business but named a successor who, to my way of thinking, left a bit to be desired. After filing, there was one section that neither of us could figure out. I dread an audit.

So last year I used Turbo-Tax. It really wasn't too bad. Installing the software on my computer was the biggest problem, and with the assistance of their on-line help, we got through it. Everything seemed in order and I haven't been arrested for tax fraud. Yet.

I decided on Turbo Tax again this year. It seemed to find a bunch of my stuff from last year, like where I live, my SSN and such essentials, but I've spent the last couple of months pulling together all my stuff, mostly medical expenses and charitable contributions. Also, checking off the tax documents summarizing my pension checks, my annuity and my Social Security, and hey, what's this? I'd received a 1099-R for an $8,300 distribution I couldn't for the life of me remember receiving. It took some detective work, but it was sent in error. Thank heavens.

So now I'm pretty much ready to start cranking the numbers into my computer and seeing what comes out. I should be done this coming week. I still have a couple of receipts to find, but they're small and in the grand scheme of things, no big deal. I may even be done by the normal April 15 deadline!

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John Shinnick 3.0: It's All About Me

There's gotta be an easier way!

I've often said that I don't mind paying taxes nearly as much as calculating them. Sort of like dealing with a mosquito - the bite isn't nearly as bad as the buzzing that precedes it. Years ago, a flat consumption tax was proposed, which had an interesting provision that had the net effect of exempting purchases up to the poverty level. It was called "The Fair Tax Plan" and, thought it had lots of holes in it, once a year I seem to think it's worth another look!

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04/03/21 - Monthly update finished.

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02/20/21 - Small correction to Resume, Added 50 State                              Pledge (Traveler), my retirement viedo                                         (Musician) and a story (Writer). 

02/18/21 - Finished 53 Town Pledge (Travel).

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01/22/21 - Major reorg of Scholar pages.

01/21/21 - 6 towns added.

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09/03/20 - Monthly update finished.

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07/05/20 - Major update. Added two stories. Deleted journal.

05/08/20 - Major update started.

~ Quote of the Month ~

If I'd have known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself. ~ Eubie Blake

How true, now that I'm 70! I first heard it from Mickey Mantle, who utterly had trashed himself, but it was originally from jazz pianist legend Eubie Blake, who performed well into his 90s. May we all do so well and live so long.