There are two certainties in life: Death and Taxes

As I thought of the statement above, I was thinking to myself – death would be a welcome thing as people work on their taxes. Every year, I have done my own taxes and frankly, used to enjoy it. Crunching the numbers, finding a deduction here or there, adding up things, and multiplying. Using Tax Cut and other software makes doing your taxes easier but it still does not take away the marriage penalty, the penalty for being middle income and mildly successful in life, and of course, it does not take the pain of just …. Doing your taxes! So for the last two tax years, we have taken quite a hit. In 2006 because I did not claim the right exemption and as it turns out, last year, despite only working 9 out of 12 months, still not claiming the right exemptions. For a person with an AGI of only $XXK, paying a $XK tax bill is quite a nightmare. Despite maxing out both our 401Ks and taking over $XXK in deductions, it seems that being married to someone who roughly makes the same and investing our money wisely is not a good thing – for the IRS and the Federal Government, being a middle income, jointly filing married couple is a penalty in and of itself. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself lucky for owing rather than receiving a $XK refund. I would feel cheated if that were the case.

Needless to say, I have decided to raise my arms up in defeat and have done the inevitable – consulted an accountant – several of them and am looking for someone to do my taxes this year and every year hereafter. Sounds nuts but I cannot take it anymore. It seems like I am searching for an accountant I can talk to and ask for financial planning advice and someone who will project what we owe and then do the heavy lifting. With a full-time job during the day, and at night (the baby) and the weekends (the baby), I think it is time to turn over these mundane tasks to someone who gets paid to keep me out of trouble and who knows the laws. After all, you would not want to represent yourself in a $20 million lawsuit would you? Oh, wait, you’re not as dumb as Heather Mills so you probably would hire a good lawyer. Back to the topic of accountants. Shopping for a good accountant requires some leg work – call some friends first. They are a good resource because if they use someone good and have for years, chances are, they are doing something right. Then, meet with them to make sure the personalities at least somewhat mesh and then, of course, hand over your $ and let them do the rest. I cannot believe I have raised my hands in surrender but it is time…. It was a good long run doing my own taxes and I may still yet crunch the numbers myself and see what a difference (if any) an accountant makes but I would rather spend the 40 hours I can spend doing taxes with my daughter. I spend enough time away from her as it is. Happy April 15th and hope you do not owe $XK or even XXK, conversely, I hope you do not get a refund bigger than $3K or you overpaid in 2007 my friend. Remember in, 2007, interest rates were still pretty high in savings accounts and money markets. Go ahead and give your money to the IRS in 2008 – we may be in a recession before long. In life there are no guarantees – we may all lose our shirts in the market or in securities or even in this housing market, but rest assured- you will be guaranteed to still file your 2008 returns by April 2009, and the world will continue as always. Cheers!

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