Yet another year, yet another tax day*. This year, we ended up doing our taxes ourselves, for the first time since we were married. Before then, I'd always done them myself, because they were pretty straightforward. After that, between buying a house, refinancing a few times, having a family addition, and switching jobs (in name only, but still two W-2s etc) I was glad to have a tax accountant to deal with that stuff. Although, last year the IRS did slap us with an extra payment on our 2003 taxes, for an oversight the accountant really should have caught. Grmbl.
In any case, we acquired TurboTax Premier
this time (supposedly better at deductions and such than the Basic or DeLuxe one). And, like usual, we got yanked away to many of our lives' emergencies. To the point that we only got to look at taxes some time last week. Things looked up, actually, when it seemed like we had almost finished entering everything. Saved, saved a copy (you never know) and decided to finish Monday or Tuesday, after we were back from NJ (visiting in-laws over easter). Of course, when J tried to open up our last saved version, it was missing a large chunk of the changes we had made. So much so that we basically had to re-enter most.
In the end (after many hours of calculations and fixing errors and basically removing all but the bare minumum of deductions and trying to find appropriate categories and forms. Oh, and then of course printing problems and frantic searching for large envelopes) it was all printed, signed, attached, taped shut, and ready to go. To the one and only 24-hr post office
in Boston. So, time for yet another RedBull
, since I was craving sleep (John too, but remember: only 1 person at a time may drink these nasty things!).
Off I went, on the scooter of course, since there is virtually no parking there, especially on Tax Day. Why do I know, you ask? Because this is not the first
time we're doing this!!
Once I was there, life didn't seem all that horrendous anymore. We weren't the only ones. On the corner of Summer and Dorchester, outside of the post office, there was a mailman. Standing there, bag over shoulder, IRS envelope in hand, waving at passing cars. Or rather, crowding cars. He was taking envelopes right out of car windows, where (no doubt desperate) people were handing them to him. Then a little further, the police and postal workers directing traffic and people in the correct directions. And a post-woman standing on the sidewalk between the street and a mailbox, doing something similar to the first mailman: taking envelopes out of car windows, only to put them straight into the mailbox. Almost surreal. And then inside.... oy. Tons of people in various states of dishevelment. Waiting in line, writing on envelopes, tax forms; getting stamps from the stamp-machines, looking for help. It was amazingly efficient though. Someone (postal lady) came up to me when I was just looking around, trying to figure out what to do (in my mind, a little voice was going "Run! Run like hell!"). She suggested the stamp-machines, get a booklet of $0.39
stamps, and put on as many as the scale (right next to it. Someone actually thought this through!) said it needed. Or round up to the nearest multiple of $0.39. Wow. Blindingly simple. Considering that I was braindead by now, this was a great suggestion. She even helped me do math, since at this point in time I had no clue how many times 39 would fit into 87. I slapped 3 stamps on both tax envelopes, watched them actually manually put their official-looking round red stamp on them, and heaved a sigh.
* Yes, on the 18th. Since the 15th was a Saturday, it got bumped to Monday. Due to the Patriots Day holiday, residents of Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia had until Tuesday, April 18. Not because it was a holiday in those states, but because for those states the place to send it to is in Massachusetts**. And therefore closed.
** Well, most
of those states. Apparently some people in NY send to elsewhere (I forget where), but to make yet another exception for those would be too confusing. Don't you love rules and regulations?