Shortly after I arrived for work, yesterday, one of our irregular innanet patrons phoned to alert me that he wouldn't be coming in at all because he had to drive to, oddly enough, my future home town of Borderland. It seems that the Borderland Post Office was going to remain open until midnight for the convenience of late tax-filers, whereas Tri-Metro's PO was planning to give everyone the finger and shut down at the crack of 4:30. The patron noted that he was going to need every last second he could squeeze out of the day, so he was heading out. He then offered to give me the Borderland PO's phone number as well, in case any other patrons needed it. I took it and thanked him for his news update and hung up.
"Big Hairy Guy just called," I said to Mrs. B. (This is not a blog nick-name but is actually how we have referred to him in-house for pretty much the whole time we've known him, for the man is indeed large and hairy, much liken unto a lumberjack.) I then told her of Big Hairy's report that Borderland's PO was open late.
"Oh, good," she said. "He was in earlier and said he was trying to find one that would stay open late. The closest he'd found was Charleston." Then, after a bit of thought, Mrs. B added, "You know, if he'd spend as much time on his taxes as he has on finding a post office, he could have them done and turn them in here."
My moms-in-law did our Federal taxes for us, (Thanks muchly, Ma!), which are pretty brutal this year but it's our own fault. We were paying estimated taxes every quarter for the past year on the assumption that we wouldn't have to pay any come April. WRONG. It seems that even though we paid our estimated taxes, the wife didn't take out enough witholdings in her job and most of my freelance writing and editing work is done sans witholdings of any sort. So we had a chunk to pay and another chunk of estimated tax for the first quarter.
Then there were the state taxes to deal with, which we hadn't even looked at until Monday night. The wife was mentally fatigued from being on call over the weekend and I'm just naturally mentally fatigued, so the whole process took us a couple of hours. In fact, we spent 45 minutes trying to determine what sort of penalty we would have to pay because we had so woefully underestimated the amount of taxes we would owe the state in the first place. To discern this penalty amount, we had to fill out two separate forms, do some quadratic equations, look up a bunch of crap in a table or two, eat some greasy peanut butter cookies and subtract line 7 from line 3. In the end, we owed the state an extra $3.03. THREE $%&#ING DOLLARS AND THREE CENTS!!!
"I would have given them $5 outright not to have to go through all that shit," I said.
And, really, that's how the IRS should do things. They'd probably make far more money off the average Joe who can't afford an accountant to simply have a check box that says, PAY $X FLAT FEE TO NOT TO HAVE TO GO THROUGH ALL THIS SHIT. And they could put nearly any amount in X that they wanted and it would still get paid!!
That HAS to be why taxes are so complicated. The IRS knows that by the time you've finished doing everything you have to do to get all the details right, you'd pretty much pay any amount of money just to be done with it.