The Wife and the tax compromise

1040sc_Page_1I’m playing cards (hearts) the day after my birthday, and someone mentioned preparing taxes. I noted that the Wife and I get someone else to do it for us. My friend did not understand. “It’s EASY with TurboTax” or some other software. I repeated that we outsource our tax prep because it was best for us to do so. My reaction was perceived as passionate, maybe even heated, although it did not feel that way to me. It was just what we do to insure domestic tranquility.

For one thing, I don’t think doing the taxes are that simple, as this post I came across notes. By the time you’ve gathered all the papers necessary to plug into some tax software, most of the crappy work that needs to be calculated has already been done.

The first year we filed together was a nightmare for me, and a real irritant for her. Here’s why: I had NEVER filled out an itemized tax form in my life. I had used Form 1040A, or, often Form 1040EZ, which is, as it suggests, easy.

The Wife, conversely, had rental property that involved filling out a Schedule C for income gain or loss on a business.

She also calculated her charitable deductions, including the value of the non-cash donations. Not only could I not be bothered to do that in the past, I had a philosophical aversion to it. I wasn’t giving to charity because it was deductible, I was giving because I was called to do so. There are a couple of friends of mine who run a Catholic charity which is, pointedly, NOT a 501(c) tax-deductible charity under IRS law, and they expect people to donate based on their heart, not as a tax haven. NOW I do it because my spouse thinks it’s fiscally prudent, and despite my antipathy for doing so, we do.

Those first two years of filing taxes, which took FOREVER, we got slapped with penalties for underpaying somehow. After that, we got someone else to do the work. Actually at least one of THOSE years, we paid too little again, but we were only responsible for the amount, NOT the penalty and interest, which came out of the pockets of the accountant.

The Wife and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage today, and one of the reasons is that we found a way not to make ourselves crazy each April.

5 thoughts on “The Wife and the tax compromise”

  1. The Wife and I each have our own small businesses, so our taxes are complicated. We pay an accountant to do our taxes so that we don’t have to closely follow changes in the tax law, and so we don’t inadvertently make a mistake that could be costly or criminal. Paying this guy saves us money, and yes, it keeps the marital discord to a minimum.

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  2. When I first met my wife, she owed back taxes, and I set up a payment schedule to pay off the debt, I also demanded that we go to H & R Block, it was the right decision for both of us! We get money back each year, and the tax preparers guarantee their work. This weekend will make 12 years of happy marriage!

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  3. Just yesterday, I found out something strange that makes me wonder about ever doing my own taxes again. Apparently, the W-2’s I’ve been getting since 2007, when I started working as a substitute teacher, have someone else’s social security number on them. This guy has the same name as me. And I know because I used to get his calls from bill collectors and the university that we both attended–and a couple of times, even his mail! Apparently, we were also BOTH substitute teachers in the same school system and there was some confusion and the district’s records show that he was getting paid and not me, even though they were directly deposited into MY bank account. (No one noticed for the last 7 years because the amount of money isn’t very much.)

    I’m working this all out now and getting it resolved with social security and with the district, but what a headache that turned into. Imagine if it was decades from now and I was trying to retire!

    Congratulations on your anniversary!

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