Not sure how many of you heard this NPR feature on Weekend Edition Saturday this morning, which also featured this quote by Julie Miller, a spokeswoman for Intuit, which makes the TurboTax line of tax software:
""If you were doing your taxes manually, it's like churning your own butter. It's just hard."Hmm, sounds familiar. More below the flip.....
As you might have inferred, 3CM still does his taxes manually, which has always been the case. The main reason for that is that self, being a terminal singleton, has never had to file a return that involves more than one person or one income. So for the most part, my returns haven't been that terribly complicated, or at least complicated from my POV.
This year, however, was different, because of some cap gains income that threw things for a loop. In addition, since I'm not the most organized person, I had to make sure that I had all the suitable tax documents compiled to be sure that I wasn't missing anything. At one point during one round of preparation, because I realized that I was missing a key document on those cap gains. This ended up boosting my overall income and thus lowering my refund.
It also slowly dawned on me as I was starting to do my taxes that something else was missing at the start. Indeed it was, as I normally get federal and state tax form booklets in the mail - but not this year. This one statement in the NPR story may hint as to why I didn't get forms by snail mail:
"The filing season started late this year, since Congress was still debating taxes until nearly midnight on Jan. 1."When the light bulb finally went off, obviously I had to download and save the federal and state tax pdf forms to fill in all the numbers. This gets back to the TurboTax allusion earlier, as to why 3CM doesn't just get with the modern program and use it. One reason is the one noted above, in terms of 3CM being a singleton loser. But the other reason, which may be even more loser, is that I think that I really want to understand why my tax return works out the way it does, which would involve doing real work to fill it out and understanding which numbers go exactly where.
It's arguable that doing it electronically would be more accurate, by removing the human element that is so often prone to error. However, the problem still potentially lies with the data entry by the human in question, namely self. Remember that I didn't have that one piece of information that proved crucial to making sure my return information was accurate. Had I not filled it in, the software would have given me incorrect information as to my final tax numbers, just much faster than I would have done it manually. At least so 3CM the loser thinks.
So even if my refund is turning out smaller than I'd thought, at least there's the semi-satisfaction that I filled out the forms pretty accurately, or at least as accurately as possible. Plus, one other actually non-loser part was that compared to a fair chunk of Americans, I was ahead of schedule in filing my return, even though I started later in the year this time than in the past. But in the end, I was even ahead of PBO on this one, per the NPR report:
"The president signed his tax return last Monday, just one week before the deadline, and he's in good company."As well, according to Intuit's Miller:
".....about 50 million Americans will file their taxes in the last two weeks of the season.My federal refund actually wound up in my bank account this week, so that's all done. Until it all starts up again next year, that is. With that, time for the usual SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week.....
'This year we've seen more and more people wait till the end; so we're in for a very busy weekend. Monday will certainly be a peak day.'"