30 Apr 2011
I'm fine now, but such was not the case this past week. Normally, I am not given to procrastination, except when it comes to giving my money away. I am not Mr. Scrooge but I am Mr. Fugal.
I always pay my income tax but I also wait until the last minute to write that check and autograph it for good old Uncle Sam. I was thankful to have several extra days to do it this year. Instead of April 15, the government extended to April 18. I am not sure the reason nor do I care to know what it is, it is enough that I had several extra days to send in my money.
Every year I know I need to send money and I make certain preparations for it. Such as, setting up a lemonade stand, buying lottery tickets and putting my used clothing on eBay. Of course, none of these things work but at least I try.
This year I decided to use one of those popular tax programs. According to all the advertisements, these are very easy to use and will save me millions of dollars in taxes I might otherwise owe.
I purchased the tax program and installed it on my computer. So far, nothing could be easier. I was anxious to find out how much I was going to save on my income tax this year. I do not mind paying my share of taxes; I just want to make sure I am paying my share and not somebody else's. It is, as I have heard, my patriotic duty.
I was all set to tackle this chore and I had all day to do it. I figured it would take me maybe two hours and then I could go out and celebrate. I was thinking of an Apple Fritter at the time.
My folder containing all of my tax information was at my left hand, right in front of me was my computer and the tax program up and running and all things were ready for me to dig in and do it. I love it when a plan comes together.
Entering all of the personal information was easy and I breezed through it quickly. I cannot tell you how many times I have sent my birthday to good old Uncle Sam and to this day, I have yet to receive a birthday card from him. You would think with all the money I sent him through the years he could at least send me a birthday card on my birthday.
Now came the chore of entering in all my financial data. Thankfully, my income is under $250,000 so I do not need to worry about any increase in my taxes. Of course, there is a side of me that wishes quite strenuously that my income would at least be $249,999. I could live on that.
I very studiously entered in all of the financial data, listing all of my deductions. I was trying to find a category where I could deduct my Apple Fritter expenses for the year but was unsuccessful. I made a mental note to send a suggestion to Uncle Sam explaining why Apple Fritters were a necessary part of my income deduction strategy.
I struggled on and finally came to the end of the steps in this program. I sighed a deep sigh of relief that I was near the end of this job. I then clicked the button to see how much income tax Uncle Sam could expect from me this year. When I saw the figure, I almost passed out.
According to this program, I owed more income taxes to Uncle Sam than my actual income for the year. I know the government can seem a little greedy at times but this was rather ridiculous. For the next four hours, I frantically redid and redid my income tax and finally got it down to where I only owed Uncle Sam half of my income for the year.
At this point, I did not know what to do. Unfortunately, I had spent that half of my income along with the other half. With frantic nipping at my heels, I called someone across town I had done business with and knew she did income tax returns. Under saner circumstances, I would never concede to this kind of defeat. It was not my feet I was worried about, it was my wallet.
I called her about three o’clock in the afternoon and asked if she could do my tax return today. She told me she was leaving her office at five o'clock but if I hurried, she could see what she could do. I grabbed my folder, jumped into my car and raced across town. Are speeding tickets a deductible item on my income tax return?
I got there in good time and during the next two hours she filled out my income tax return. According to her calculations, I only owed a fraction of taxes that the income tax return program said I owed.
Quite often we need help from other people. This reminded me of a Bible verse I memorized years ago. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3 KJV).
God is eagerly waiting for us to call upon Him so He can go into action for us. Just call.
Rev. James L. Snyder