Wednesday, April 15, 2009

John the procrastinator

This is a long boring post about what has been keeping me from blogging since last week. Everyone in the U.S. surely knows that they must file their tax returns and be postmarked before midnight (or file for an extension). So, why is the post office always packed on April 15th? If you owe taxes, then it's a no brainer to wait. But I still can't understand why people don't just get this done like on the 14th, when you can at least find a parking spot at the post office. And if you are due a refund and are just now filing, I need to slap you! You should've filed for that refund as soon as you got your W-2 and any other forms needed! And by the way, unless you owe on your tax return, the IRS doesn't care if you file by today or not!


I knew I would receive a small (very small) federal tax refund, so I filed that one quite some time ago! Even though I had to file a long form because of itemized deductions, for the first time I used the free e-file. I was surprised that I was able to utilize e-file, since I had a schedule A. When electronic filing started years ago, it was only available for the most basic tax form, you know--the EZ form. I don't know if I would recommend that everyone do their own taxes, especially the long form and especially the e-filing. If you are already doing your own taxes though and get a refund, then I highly recommend the free e-file offered. You will receive your refund much faster, like within ten days! You should have a step by step instruction booklet no matter what. The most difficult thing about e-filing is making a clerical mistake, so double check all your data entry!

Now let's talk about the filing of state income tax. If you're lucky enough to live in one of the state's that have no state income tax, then good for you! I'm sure they must stick it to you one way or another with other taxes and fees though. My state of Illinois does have an income tax, which is currently 3% of your gross income. Our new governor want to raise that tax and even double it! He says he wants to try something new though and possibly charge a lower income tax rate to lower wage earners and a higher rate to higher wage earners. Nobody wants a tax increase period! The newly appointed governor might as well count down his remaining days in office!

Now to get to the point...I knew I would owe some state income tax, so yes I procrastinated. First I planned on e-filing the state tax returns, since that is how I did my federal return. So last Thursday night I stayed after work to use the computer there, because it is much more secure, has a faster connection, and a laser printer. I get all my forms laid out, and last years for reference, and of course you must have this years federal returns in order to even file the state return. I log onto my state's Department of Revenue site and go to the e-file section only to discover that I cannot e-file with the state using their free e-file service, because I had earned some income in another state (with a higher tax rate) and had to complete a form IL-CR, which meant I had to file manually. It was getting late and I was hungry.

By then I already had such a headache from stressing out over the last minute filing! But since I was there, I did a little computer maintenance--some updates, some back ups, etc., (things I can't do while we are open). I went to another terminal to check emails and stuff at the same time. Before I knew it, the time was 1:05 a.m. After gathering all the forms together into a big manila envelope, I called it a night and drove home sick as a dog with a migraine. I planned to file the taxes at the kitchen table sometime on Easter Sunday--a day off from work.

Well Sunday came and went, because I slept most of the day and still had that headache until I went to bed Sunday night. I started to do the state taxes, but I finally had to stop, because my lighting was so bad. Since I have better lighting and a big desk at work, I took the tax stuff back to work on Monday and finally got it finished after work and mailed it before 8:00 p.m. with my check for taxes due (a surprisingly small amount). To me, that was ideal timing to mail the taxes--just a few days before the deadline. I could've done without the migraine headache it caused though!

Yesterday was my regular day off, so I finally got caught up on some laundry and cleaning once I finally got up! Today was such a slow work day, that I took the day off, slept in just a little late, and have enjoyed my quiet peaceful day with the cats (they sleep all day). Now if it would just stay warm, I could pack away all my winter clothes and unpack my summer clothes...but I'm sure you guessed by now that I will be a procrastinator at that too.

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9 comments:

HalfCrazy said...

I don't understand the first part of your post much LOL. I mean, it involves some heavy taxing and filing.. you know, Math stuff so I hardly understood LOL.

At least after all that stuff you got to rest with your cats!

John said...

That goes to show you just how complicated the government in this country makes our income tax! It could definitely be simplified.

travelingman said...

I have used turbo tax for the last four years now and find it pretty easy to file that way. I did my taxes in about two hours and also have to file longform. You should try it.

When you come back the next year it remembers your taxes from before. Here in North Carolina we have to pay taxes on our previous years refund and it also remembers this for you too.

Dont get me started with double taxation, which is the case when you charge income tax on the previous years return. You gotta love the south, if they weren't redundant they would not know how to live.

John said...

@travelingman, thank you so much for commenting on this. I know I have a few readers from other countries like the Philippines (shout out to you all--much love) and Brazil, Malaysia, etc. and I know this must not make any sense to some of them!

That looked like the longest & most boring post I ever wrote and I hope I didn't sound like some math dork! Without computers, calculators, and adding machines my math sucks! But I have been doing accounting at work for a long time, so it's easy for me to ramble on about these things.

TurboTax...hmmm, that is what Geithner used LOL, but despite that I would try it, I like those features you described. Thanks again!

Ron Centeno said...

Looking at the bright side, inspite of the stress and the headache, you were able to make it before the deadline.

We all need a day off from our busy schedules and excused to be a little lazy once in a while. :-)

HalfCrazy said...

Yeah! I'm sure I haven't seen my Mom (or anyone for that matter) file taxes like you and the rest of the Americans did!

kbnky said...

Taxes Suck! I mailed my out yesterday with a handful of massive checks. Being self-employed sucks on tax day.

John said...

@Ron Centeno, yes and there is always a bright side, isn't there!

@HalfCrazy, I hope you never have to see any of your family file taxes like that LOL Hey if you ever move here, there are plenty of places happy to do your taxes...for a nice fee, of course!

@kbnky, Hey thanks for dropping by! Glad you got your taxes done too on time. People don't realize how difficult it can be at tax time for the self-employed!

Mary Ellen said...

My husband has always done our taxes and I'm happy to leave it up to him. He did wait longer than usual this year and I know we had to pay Fed and State, so it had to be done on time. The worse part is...tax day is the day after my birthday so it sucks the life out of the party, so to speak.

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