Tax Season 2007

It's that time again... Taxes.

As Benjamin Franklin was once quoted as saying..

" this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

That being said, finishing my taxes was inevitable. For the first time in about twelve years, I did not have by taxes done early. Normally I get them done in February, but this year, I kept "putting them off". That was until I looked at my already "way too busy" calender, realizing that I had yet to finish my taxes, about three days to finish them in, and very little time available to get them done with.

As far as taxes go, being the "Father of Five" - I do have quite a few deductions.

Yup, that's what I call 'em - "My little deductions", or (in the case of one specific child) "Deduction #2" or "Deduction #4". I'll shout across the yard "Hey, Deduction #1, it's time to come home to wash up before dinner", or (as I tuck them into bed) "Good night sweety, don't forget how much your daddy loves his little Deduction #5"

"Deduction" is so much easier to remember than their real names.

(Now, if I could only get their birthdays changed to the same date - then I'd be on "easy street"!)

On a side note, I lost a deduction this year... One of five has reached adulthood (or something that partially resembles adulthood...)

A little about our taxes:
I have a much higher amount taken out of my check via my W-2 than I need to each year. I view my tax withholding as a "forced savings plan". No, it is not the smartest way to make the most of my money, but I have found it works out well for us. My kids go to private school. It is a sacrifice that both my wife and I feel very strongly about, but the "monthly payments" would break us. (This year the payments would be between $700 - $800 a month.) We have set up our finances so that each year our tax return covers the cost of the tuition for the NEXT year. So (for example) I still have a bit of last year's tax return in the bank to cover the rest of THIS school year. When this tax return arrives, it will stay in the bank until I need to start paying for NEXT school year. This way I always have the tuition money, but I also have a bit of a "cushion" in the bank that I can "borrow" against in case of an emergency. (For many years now we have been a "single income" family and I have had to become a wiz at "alternative" money management matters...)

History of Tax Filing:
I opted out from using a PC to do my taxes for many years - I guess I was just a plain old "hold out" for the days of paper, pencil and eraser. But, in 2004 (Tax year 2003) I broke down and became a Turbo Tax user. I was very impressed with the "easy to use" format of doing my taxes, making changes through the software, and the speed in which I got my return when I e-filed. I stayed a Turbo Tax user until last year (2006 - Tax year 2005). I decided to try Tax Cut for a change (mainly because it was noticeably cheaper). Tax Cut did the job, but was missing a couple key features that Turbo Tax allows you to do (namely the ability to save and/or view your return as a PDF file). In order to (electronically) view my Tax Cut return from last year, I had to reinstall my 2005 Tax Cut Software and then open the 2005 file. (It is "proprietary" in nature). This is a HUGE disadvantage. I had PDF files of the two prior years tax returns, but alas, not one for last year.

This year (in the mail) I received a FREE copy of this year's Tax Cut Federal and State. It was "no cost" to use it, making their profit on the e-file charges (which Turbo Tax does too). But I stuck to my guns, and purchased a copy of Turbo Tax. Now having finished my taxes, I can still say (without hesitation) that it was worth the extra cost.

This year's timeline:
I had started using the software in February. I had made my way through about half the program, before putting the whole process on hold. (Heck, what's the big deal - We are getting a refund anyway, and we still have lots of time - What's the hurry?). February became March, and March turned into Easter, and then, my schedule kicked into high gear, and I had not given the taxes another thought until the 13th of April (Friday the 13th!). Now in a desperate, last minute state of near panic I spent about 4 hours finishing up the taxes. I finished them and e-filed them on the 13th. That night before bed, I checked back on the status of my e-file (like the program asks you to do). I found out my return was rejected. Apparently one of the SSN's was wrong. (Error #1) I checked the return and sure enough I had reversed two of the numbers on one of the 'lil deductions SSN. It was late on Friday night, and I had to be to work early on Saturday morning, so I made the correction, re-e-filed, and went to bed.

I was up at 5am and ready to for work by 5:45. I decided to check the email before going to work and was advised (via email) that I had another (#2) error. Now (with 5 minutes before I had to leave for work) I made the correction, and "fled" to work (making it with 2 minutes to spare).

I went straight from work to a Twins Baseball game, and did not get home until around 11pm. I logged in to check my email, and discovered YET ANOTHER (#3) error... I was tired, and grumpy and NOT IN THE MOOD for this. I entered the Turbo Tax program, and found out that the SSN I had corrected that morning did not match the number the IRS had on file for that "deduction". I checked my source for that SSN, and it looked like a a match. Not sure what the problem was I got the original card out of the safe only to discover that my source was incorrect, and the actual SSN was different (by one digit) than my reference. I corrected the problem, and re-e-filed (e-file #4), and headed off to bed.

Again, with the same "up at 5am routine", I logged back in to discover that this time, my return was >>ACCEPTED<< !!!!

Whoo hooo!

It was Sunday April 15th (Tax day - minus this years extension) the closest I have filed my taxes in YEARS. (There was one year (I think the first year we were married) that I drove to the airport at 10:30pm to mail my taxes from the MSP airport's post office. They had postal employees taking tax returns from the road from a row of "drive up" cars (full of idiots like myself) so they could get their taxes in before midnight. I told myself "Never again".

That stuck until this year.

Thank goodness for e-filing!

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