Tax Time Blues
It is that dreaded time of year yet again…Tax time. For most, it is simple. They are W2 Employees, taxes are taken out of their paychecks each month, and tax time is just paperwork in which at the end they may get a bit of a refund. This is not the case for me, and unfortunately for my poor husband who now has to take on my tax burdens!
My Tax Situation
I am not a W2 employee. Technically, I am an independent contractor, and although this is great and I get a lot of freedom with my job, taxes become very much of a burden. I am responsible for paying taxes quarterly. This means on April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th, I am responsible for sending a check to the government. Ok, this doesn’t sound like much of a pain, but it is one more thing to remember. It helps make sure I don’t owe thousands upon thousands of dollars at tax time, so I guess it is also a blessing that I do this. Another thing I need to do is keep receipts. The good news is I am allowed to take multiple deductions; the bad news is that I have to account for them all.
Another thing that makes tax time a burden is going to the accountant. My husband gets bummed because he was always able to do his taxes himself, but now with us filing jointly we figured it be best to leave it to the professionals. My parents have used the same accountant for years, and since I work for our family business I have always used their accountant also. Each year I would make my appointment in PA and get my taxes done there.
This year my husband and I decided that since we live in NY it is best for us to have a NY accountant. Now what do you picture when you think of the work “accountant”? Someone in a suit? A very dry person? That’s what I picture anyway. But this year, we got a recommendation from a friend and went to our new accountant.
There we found a very boisterous man in a track suit! Yes you read that right…a track suit. In the past, when I got my taxes done I would verbally go over each deduction with my accountant and in the end I would get an estimated return. This time, we were there for over an hour with a man who has no idea who I am and what I do and did not really go over my deductions. In the end I walked out with my mouth open and said to my husband “what just happened”?? We decided that we would call him and reiterate our wishes. So my husband called the next day and left a message…no call back. He called again the next day…left a message…no call back. The next day (you can see the pattern) he called again with no call back.
Finally I felt it was time for me to get involved. I am in the service business, and there is no way I could get away not calling back a customer after they called with a question. So I called and told the secretary how I felt. Surprise! My husband got a call back that day. He told them what we needed and asked his questions. (mind you this was a week after our meeting) We were told that the taxes should be done the following day, but we should call to REMIND him the day after that. REMIND HIM?? I think that’s going to be my answer to my customers when they want something…”hey why don’t you remind me to place the order.” SERIOUSLY?? But we needed our taxes completed, so we just went about our business. When I called to follow up I was told that we are getting ZERO back!
Let me give you a little back story. I have NEVER, EVER gotten a refund. When I graduated college and entered the working world I was so excited to get my first refund. I planned and thought about what good use I could put that money towards. I came up with the idea that I would buy a bed. (at the time I was sleeping on a futon) I was so excited. What happened that year? I OWED money! The trend continued year after year, and year after year I would cry. I don’t understand numbers very well, and I don’t understand taxes. Especially when everyone else I knew was getting money back.
So after all that, this year I was anticipating a refund. We filed jointly, we paid a lot of interest on our home…we deserved something! In my head I was already spending it! (we want to pay down debt) I told the receptionist (our accountant didn’t take our call) that she was mistaken and needed to speak to my husband. When she did we got to the bottom of it. They were planning on spreading out our return into next year’s quarterly’s. NO WAY! I wasn’t giving the government my money for the year. But the frustrating part is that the accountant didn’t even ask what we wanted? He was just going to assume and E file! Luckily we double checked everything and we are now getting a nice return. My FIRST RETURN! How exciting!
A Happy Tax Ending
So here is the moral of this very LONG story. Find an accountant you trust. I never really realized how important that is until this experience. But that’s why they say “live and learn”! So what tax time blues do you have? Do you have them at all? or are you one of those people who just look at taxes as paperwork?