Death and Taxes

The Tax Man Cometh

Tax season has been in full swing for a couple of weeks now.  Besides being a harbinger of sheer exhaustion, tax season can at times try one’s patience.  I’m in charge of a site that employs volunteer tax preparers.  I get paid to run the site, but the rest of the preparers

Bless them!  Some because they are retired and want to have something to do.  Others because they are students and need the hours for school.  I’ve been doing this now for six years and each year I simultaneously love tax season and loathe it.

Things to love:

1 – Helping people out by providing a necessary service.  It’s cool to help people with something that for the vast majority seems to be worse than grabbing a live rattle snake.

2 – Working with a great crew of volunteers.  On the whole, my volunteers are fabulous.  Fun, interesting and wonderful people who make the time spent working fly by.

3 – Getting to meet new people.  I love this one!  Anyone that knows me, knows I like to gab.  Since the husband cringes when I strike up a conversation with the check out person or random other shopper this gives me a perfect cover story for having conversations with strangers.

Things to loathe:

1 – Unruly or ungrateful tax payers.  Hey!  It’s a FREE service.  If you don’t like it pop on down to a paid preparer and shell out some serious money for the same privilege.

2 – Money, money, money….money.  MONEY!  Sorry, I don’t have a magic wand that gets you thousands more in refund.  You made $300 and you’re getting back $3000.  Really?!  <—hyperbole

3 – Screaming, running, crying kids.  It’s a tax appointment not a babysitters’ convention.  Must you bring your children to this?

4 – What do you mean my spouse needs to be here?  You’re married.  You’re filing a return together.  Don’t you think your spouse deserves to know what your joint tax return says?

5 – You mean I need my social security card, W-2, check for direct deposit, etc, etc, etc, etc?  *thunks head on desk*  I’m not Miss Cleo.  I don’t have access to your personal information via the psychic network.  If I need to know something, please bring some information with you.  I’ll do the best I can to help, but I can only use what you bring me.

That’s all from the trenches for now.  Stay tuned for more!

Death and Taxes

Children and Taxes


I went to a meeting this morning for the Prosperity Campaign.  I work at a volunteer tax site and have for over five years, and we are gearing up for our free tax preparation season.  In the midst of this meeting as we were talking about changes to the Earned Income Credit I was struck by a major depression.  I could rake in almost $6,000 should I suddenly discover that I have 3 children!  I’m missing out on a serious wealth building scheme!

I’m saying this in a bit of jest – and yes, I know, three children would cost me a lot more than what I would get back on a tax refund – but as someone with no children, each year I rebel against the idea that someone could deserve a larger tax break than me simply for the fact that they made a personal / family choice to have children.  Why should this choice affect their taxes?  Or my taxes for that matter?

I really like volunteering for the campaign and doing free taxes for our customers.  Many of them truly have NO idea how to do them properly and are really grateful for the service.

Yet, every year I struggle internally with so many aspects of the crazy, broken IRS code.  For example, did you know that the IRS sent out over $300 billion (BILLION!) in tax refunds last year?  The maths astound me; red flags go up and I think to myself, “There is a major issue with this system”!  Why spend all the time and effort to collect the money only to refund such a chunk?  Must we keep IRS workers in jobs?

NOTE TO SELF: Do some research on the total amount collected by the IRS for taxes before completely flipping over the numbers.

That is all for now.