Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Hate When Cleaning Leads To Taxes

Every once in a while my wife and I find ourselves in desperate need to do some cleaning around the apartment. With our schedules the way they are and other projects taking priority, things just seem to build up over time until we get to the point that we can’t take it anymore. It is a slow build but one that we see happening and keep planning on taking care of which in itself is a process that can take weeks.

There are also projects that keep getting put off. Mostly they involve reorganizing different areas or shifting things around from one location to another. A prime example is the reconfiguration of our kitchen. When we first moved in we set up a kosher kitchen and kept it that way for well over a year. However, in the early part of last year we decided to adjust our observance level and at that point stopped keeping kosher. Since that time we have been meaning to consolidate some of the utensils and free up some counter space. Today that finally happened.

Later in the evening, after my wife had gone to bed for the night, I shifted my focus to the office. Paperwork of any kind is tedious but especially when it is a matter of organization. I first went through the existing files and pulled out all of the items that made me say “why the heck is this getting saved” and threw it into the overflowing shred box tucked under my desk against the wall. I guess I am going to have to make another trip to Staples in the near future.

Once I was able to consolidate and sort the overabundance of papers in the filing cabinet I was finally able to focus on the piles that had taken over my desk. This is when I came to the realization that most of the papers were either paid bills or magazines. While the magazines have been consolidated into a single stack the bills were a little bit more involved. Some went into a miscellaneous bills folder but the vast majority ended up in the dreaded tax folders.

Yes, I said folders. Plural. If there is ever a reason to hate this time of year it is for the simple, yet complex, reason of pulling together all of your documents, receipts, and forms and filing your taxes. While I closely watch, track, and itemize every year I have never gotten a significant amount back. In fact, last year, I owed an amount of money which didn’t make sense whatsoever… during a financially red year the government still wanted more… more of what we didn’t have. We managed, barely, to pay the bill and now we have to go through the same process again.

Just like cleaning and organizing, taxes seem like a zero sum game but we all eventually end up having to deal with it. I can already tell that this is going to be a long first part of the year. Maybe after April I will be able to breathe… but I think that is going to depend on the financial outcome on in the middle of that month. I guess we will just have to wait and see.