The John Shinnick Web Site
Last Update: April 3, 2021
John Shinnick 3.0: It's All About Me
Note from the editor (me). I screwed up and didn't copy last month's article here. But I did save the text of it, a rambling rant about doing taxes.
You can get the quote of the month from the quote archives.
April 3, 2021
My Least Favorite Chore
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.
Last Month's Pic
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!
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!