Lenten Reflection #29
I follow Clark Howard, the money-saving sage here in the Atlanta area, and I like to pretend I’m one of his deal finding warriors. So weeks ago (really, not today) I stopped by H&R Block to do a price comparison on tax fees.
I asked about the pricing and was told the average tax fee for a homeowner, with basic forms, plus a few extra would be about $348.00. Squelching my gasp, I told the accountant I’d just use Turbo Tax again.
“Okay,” he sighed, “but it takes the average person 22 hours to complete their taxes.”
His statement hung in the air and reminded me of the soothing voice on one of those late night medication commercials where the TV patients who take the bizarre-sounding pills are compelled to run in fields of daisies for hours, smiling incessantly.
Then the voice lowers and reminds the viewer the medication may lead you to drive in your sleep while your throat swells from an allergic reaction. And…you might…die.
“That’s the side effect of doing my own taxes” I mused, it may take 22-hours and there will be no daisies. Anywhere.
“Thanks” I responded, I’ll use my time wisely.”
So the “Old Faithful” of tax prep programs Turbo Tax lead me through another year of fulfilling my obligation as a good citizen. Each year, I think about the boxes I don’t get to check and stuff I don’t have (and certainly don’t need).
So in the spirit of tax season, I’ve crafted a non-sensical TO-DO LIST for us IF our life decisions and purchases were based on the benefits of tax credits and deductions:
- START SMOKING – then quit and join a smoking cessation program…great medical expense write off. Ha!
- Install an alternative fuel vehicle station in your home – you’ll be the greenest neighbor around! Plus, you may get a tax credit. It MIGHT make sense to purchase an energy efficient car too.
- GO BACK TO SCHOOL – Don’t wait for your kids to go to college, go for the education tax credit now!
- OTHER MEDICAL EXPENSES – Maybe this is your year to donate an organ (I’ll pray it’s not).
- BUY A BOAT – Who cares if you don’t live by the water, take the write off.
- MOVE – If you do it right, you may be able to deduct certain moving expenses.
Outlandish, I know, but when I do our taxes each year, I think about how funny it is to dissect the fine print of the tax laws and imagine how many boxes other people check. In all seriousness, with the standard deduction higher this year, you could completely skip itemizing and just stick to basics.
Seven days until tax day. It didn’t take 22 hours to complete ours, so I’m sure I missed something. Anyway, it’s time to go boat shopping.
Spiritual Workout – What charity will you donate to this year? Money or time?
Workout – Try a spin class. Most gyms will give you a free guest pass so you can see what you think before committing.