Friday, April 13, 2018

1931 A Taxing Time of Year

It’ll soon be over.  Tax deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. Usually it’s the 15th of April. If that happens on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s on the following Monday. This year it’s on Tuesday because this Monday is a holiday in Washington DC, Emancipation Day.

There’s an irony in there somewhere.

But that’s for another time.

The fact is you have a little more time to get the return done.  And if you have problems, the good men and women of the Internal Revenue Service are here to help.  Devote a full day to attempted connection.

Ask your question. Write down the answer.  Re-place the call. Ask your question again.  Re-place the call. Ask your question a third time. If two of the answers match, go with that one. If none of the answers match, flip a coin. (Okay, okay, you don’t have a three sided coin.  So draw straws.)

And please remember that while it’s nearly impossible to connect by phone with the IRS, the IRS does not connect with you, at least by phone. If they have something to say, they’ll say it in a snail mail.  So any calls you get from someone who says he or she is from the tax office and that you owe a bunch of money, tell them to come and arrest you.  They won’t. Or tell them that you gave that money to a Nigerian Prince who asked for it in an email.

Here are some things we’ve learned as a long time tax payer.  

--Remember that BS they gave you when you signed up for your IRA? You know. Where they told you they won’t take taxes out on payday but when you start withdrawing, you pay a lower tax because you’re in a lower bracket.  Guess what.  You probably aren’t in a lower bracket and you’re going to pay through the nose.

--The Shoe Box System of filing paper doesn’t work. You have to separate out the income statements and the deductions. If you don’t and you’re going to file on or near deadline, you’ll go nuts with those shoe boxes full of receipts and miscellaneous junk you’ve thrown in because you don’t know what else to do with it.

--When you finish sorting paper, look on the floor for stuff you dropped.  You’re going to drop something. It’s a law of nature.

--Sort out the stuff you don’t need but don’t throw it out or shred it. Put it in one of those plastic grocery bags if you’ve kept at least one that doesn’t have a hole in it. (Recyclable plastic bags are so fragile, you can cut them with a sharp look.)  Stash the bag somewhere and hold on to it for a while because chances are you’re going to need something you thought you could discard.

--If you have room, keep the trash for a few years.  Put a label on the bag.  Use a piece of paper and a piece of Scotch Tape.  Post it notes have a way of wandering off.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them.
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© WJR 2018

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