A taxing time for taxes

HELP! I CAN’T REMEMBER MY PASSWORDS

By Neil Offen
Columnist

There is, of course, only one thing worse than actually having to fill out your income tax forms. That’s finding and organizing all the stuff that will allow you to actually fill out all your income tax forms.

Knowing that April 15, tax deadline day, is rapidly approaching and will likely be here soon after April 14, I have begun assembling all the data I will need to complete Form 1040-NOT EZ, Sub-Form 1776, Re-Form 1812, Schedule C, Schedule 1, Schedule 1-C, Schedule C-1, Attachment R2-D2 and Depreciation Calculation Sheet TVD-11.

Understanding that I eventually would need all these varied documents for doing my taxes, I made sure, during the past year, to save every possibly relevant tax-related item, including several old Chinese take-out menus and all my 50-percent-off dry cleaning coupons.

And I know exactly where all those items are … sort of.

The medical receipts are probably in the medicine cabinet, right behind the expired allergy eye drops. (The expired allergy eye drops are for Form 1040 I-Z.)

The W-2 forms probably have been filed in order, right after the forms for W-1, which some of us still call The Great War. They are in the kitchen, near the salad forks, so I’ll remember where they are every time I have a yen for arugula.

The interest and ordinary dividend statements are ordinarily where I always put them so I’ll be sure I won’t forget them, in the baked pasta recipes folder, between vegetarian lasagna and gnocchi a la kohlrabi. Sometimes they’re near the eggplant dishes. 

The property tax statement and the mortgage interest receipt slips are in the inbox on the left side of the desk next to other important documents I have saved like the Durham Bulls score sheet from 1997 and the weatherproof guarantee for the raincoat I bought in 1989.

The office-in-home expense bills should, you would think, be in the office-in-home, because that would be logical. But I’ve never let logic stand in the way of my carefully crafted organizational system. So they are probably in the bedroom, which, I should point out in my defense, is also considered to be in the home.  

Last year’s tax forms are in the wardrobe closet. Or with the cookbooks. Or maybe they’re in the folder called “Tax Forms, Last Year” in the filing cabinet. I’ll look there after I’m finished.

So that’s my system, honed through years of not being able to find anything I need until I no longer need it.

Once I have gathered everything, all the important relevant documents, I will need to bring all this stuff to the accountant who does my taxes, since he refuses to come to my house and look through the dirty clothes hamper in the closet where I believe I have probably filed my charitable donation receipts.


Carrboro resident Neil Offen has been a humor columnist for four decades and on two continents. He is the author of “Building a Better Boomer,” available wherever books are sold.

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1 Comment on "A taxing time for taxes"

  1. Neil,

    You have convinced me that my tax filing skills are at least as good as yours, if not better. haha. Best of luck! I’m done with mine!

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