Death by Taxes

I’m going to jail.

Well maybe not jail, but I’m definitely going to get audited.

There is almost no doubt in my mind that 2009 will not only be the first year I did my taxes by myself, but also, the last.

If I think about my life since college, I pinpoint one major benefit of not having to go to class. And that is not having to do homework.

Not that I was any sort of prolific homework doer in college. But when it needed to get done, I done did it. Even if it was an easy homework, the stress and foreboding of this lurking cloud of obligation that must be done every night or every week, really cramped my style.

This is a perk I enjoy as an adult. Aside from the occasional trip to Bed Bath and Beyond or the Dry Cleaners, there really isn’t too much in the way of homework dragging me down these days.

But I moved into my very own apartment last year and since I am living on my own, working full time, and on my way into my late 20s, it is time for me to not just tell people I am a grown up, but to pretend I am one as well.

I have been given my first homework assignment as an adult, to do my taxes. And this, my friends, is why it is almost a guarantee, that I will be audited.

I would like to clear the air by first saying that I am great at counting. I can count from 1 to 10 no problem. Hell, I can even do it 3 languages. Where I struggle the most is with calculating.

That would probably explain why I couldn’t pass calculus in college. Calculus seems to be the root of calculating.

The first time I failed calculus I really didn’t have a chance. I was consistently the first one to finish tests. It wasn’t because I was brilliant; it was because I had run out of questions I could make up an answer for.

That mentality carried over to my adult homework of doing my taxes. In addition to being borderline incompetent I am also extremely lazy. So I downloaded Turbo Tax, the software met all the requirements I had for tax software.

Speedy Adjective in the title – Check
The title mentions “tax” – Check

I started doing my taxes and realized I did not have the attention span for this. The program does all of the math for you, but it asks you look at forms and pull numbers and get the information from your 1098 and 1099 forms.

What the hell happened to the first 1,097 forms? Shouldn’t I have to fill those out?

That’s like going to an empty airport but still having to fly out of Gate 27. What is wrong with all these other gates?

What kind of society do we live in that the government had to make 1097 versions of something before they got it right?

So I commenced using the software and filled in numbers, consulted my forms, and answered Turbo Tax’s questions about things that might be deductible.

Things like, Was I hit by a natural disaster in 2008?

Like did my house blow away? If so I think I shouldn’t have to be doing taxes thank you very much. It even gives you a drop down list to choose from states that were affected by government approved natural disasters.

I still clicked on the drop down menu.

I was curious.

New York wasn’t even listed. As it turns out Turbo Tax wouldn’t even let me pretend I was hit by a natural disaster in 2008. Maybe I wouldn’t be going to jail after all.

I even did my tax homework the way I did the rest of my homework in college

I tried to do it by myself for about 9 minutes while watching Seinfeld, then gave up and called my friend who had already done his tax homework to ask for help.

All the while hoping that my five million questions would get so annoying he would just give up and tell me to copy it before class…I mean work , the next morning.

The only real difference I have been able to delineate so far between college homework and this tax homework is that college homework I never really got any reward for. They’d give me a grade.

Oh a grade. Whoopee.

However tax homework, if I do it right, I get like… hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars. So I might be a bit more motivated.

But on the flipside, I never had the risk of going to jail if I didn’t do my college homework.

So I finally finished my taxes, or Turbo Tax finished them for me. Of course I gave it to my best friend who is an account to look at. He did and faxed it back to me at my office.

Though when he faxed it back to me, by the time I got to the copy machine the only thing there of the 24 page document was the cover sheet. The rest of my taxes were missing.

My taxes which contain my personal information, social security number, my bank accounts, my salary, and more.

This means that not only am I about to be audited and go to jail, but my identity will be stolen while I’m in there.

Awesome.

Screw this. Next year, I’m not paying taxes