On Saturday morning, Steve and I were sitting at the table waiting for the caffeine to take effect and discussing the to-do’s for the day. I was sipping my coffee when Steve saw a look come across my face that looked like someone had substituted salt for the Splenda.
“What thought just crossed your mind?” Steve asked. “Taxes,” I answered. “I knew it!” he said. He knows me well enough that just the thought of preparing the information for our CPA brings on a wave of nausea.
Am I the only one who dreads the process of filing their taxes? As the end of the year approaches, April 15th randomly pops into my mind and my stomach sinks. But when that happens during December, I can quickly dismiss the anxiety. “Oh that’s right, there’s absolutely nothing I can do about the taxes now because we won’t even have all the forms and documents until next month.” That thought adds to my enjoyment of the holidays. My jaw unclenches and immediately I feel better.
But then January comes around and I have to face the inevitable. One would think that by this time in my life I would have to come to grips with it. Why I don’t have the same attitude about doing the taxes as any other routine chore. Shouldn’t the taxes be like cleaning the toilet? Sure, it’s not the most pleasant task, but just get it done and move on.
I think the difference is, that even though we have a wonderful accountant (God bless people who are willing to spend their lives immersed in tax code) who I trust completely to make sure that we’ve followed all the rules, the process conflicts with my control freak nature because I have no certainty that IRS won’t find some inconsistency in our tax return and there it will be in the mail one day, mixed in with the Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, and the bills and credit card offers…a letter from the IRS saying that we owe lots of money…plus interest.
Or maybe our tax return is perfect but we win the lottery – the lottery that no one wants to win and draw the unlucky number to be audited.
But do I really want to live in fear of the IRS? I think I’m approaching taxes as if the IRS is a big bully and I’m a little third grader cowering in the corner of the playground just waiting for this meanie to steal my glasses and stomp on them. I’m way too old to be living that way. I have to take a new approach.
So, that said, if a letter shows up from the IRS, we’ll deal with it. It’s happened before and we lived through it. Audit? We’ve been through that too and it didn’t kill us. And if an audit should happen, I know that we haven’t done anything wrong and we have the numbers to prove it. So in my fantasy dialogue with the IRS, I’m going to tell the IRS what my long dead father used to say when he wanted to put a nail in an argument, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”
Now, we’re did I put those prescription receipts?