Please understand, I am not anti-tax. I believe we need taxation to run our country and serve our citizens effectively and efficiently. My issue isn't with the "taxes" part. It is with the "effectively and efficiently" part. But you know what? That's a whole other rant I'm not prepared for tonight.
I have been nagging Bob to get started on the taxes for weeks - knowing full well that he puts it off as long as possible. Bob doesn't like to know bad news. He wants to postpone it or ignore it or get drunk and forget it. I on the other hand, know it is coming and want as much time as possible to live with it so that I can avoid the feeling of having had a bucket of ice cold water thrown over me on April 15th. Anyway, Bob finally got "the box" out.
"The Box", is literally an old ugly box where all receipts, records, statements, etc. for the entire year are thrown. No file system. No envelopes. No bags labeled by moth or by purpose. Just a mess. I hasten to add that I have purchased easy to follow filing systems for Bob but he refuses to use them. He tells me if I want to do the taxes I can use them. So naturally, we use the box.
Once the box is out, we commence the two week process of organization. A zillion piles are arranged all over the dining room table and it is only now that we find out how much we made and what kind of write-offs we have.
Well surprise, surprise! In spite of a year that started with me being unemployed and then a job that paid far less that what I earned at Disney, Bob had a fantastic year. In fact we had the best year we have ever had. We added this several times because it was nearly impossible to believe. But we got the same number over and over again. So why, we wondered, weren't we feeling rich? Oh yeah. We paid off thousands and thousands (and thousands) of our debt. And we paid thousands in medical bills. (Even though we had insurance, our portion of Bob's surprise gall bladder surgery in February and the twins' medical tests for our trip to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore last summer was not small.) So even though we made a lot of money, we are still eeking by - not too miserably, but cautiously. And paying off debt and medical bills is not deductible.
So basically, we are going to have to pay through the nose this April. Funny how being out of debt doesn't give us the feather weight feeling we enjoyed last year in view of the fact that cash in hand is at a premium. So far, 2011 is off to a disappointing start - like, zero income for the first quarter. Which means that we are finally having to get into our well protected "cushion". And that is what it is there for, so it really would be would be fine were it not for the fact that Uncle Sam wants the lion's share of our cushion this year.
I.R.S. is taking on a mew meaning this year. For me, it stands for I'm Really Screwed. Because this little party on April 15th is not, as you know, an invitation you can RSVP your regrets to. As invitations go, it's very rude.