General Interest

Tax Prep – Throw Caution To The Wind?

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Tax preparationThey’re baaaaack!� All those forms.� You know what I mean.� It’s January, so all the forms necessary to file our taxes are filling our mailboxes.� They serve as a grim reminder of the nasty task that lies ahead.� What I mean by “nasty task” is the prep work that needs to be done to file the taxes.

So, last night I decided to put in order all of our medical receipts and records for 2010 to hand over to our tax preparer.� Quite frankly, the stack of paper accumulated over the year is overwhelming.� (We had a banner year, health-wise.)

The job ahead would involve putting all this paperwork in some sort of order, and then inputting info into an excel spreadsheet.� I was looking at 2-3 hours of sorting and another 2-3 hours of computer work� And then I started to wonder…. is all this record-keeping really necessary. ��After all, according to Andy Rooney, “Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done.”� Gives you pause for thought, doesn’t it!

And then I started to fantasize what my defense would be in an IRS audit.� “Well, sir,” I’d say, “a 1-inch stack of receipts equals $1,000 in write-offs, so my 4-inch stack must equal $4,000!”� Will this fly?� Can I get away with it?� Dare I try?�

A recent report found a 41% error rate on tax returns prepared by the IRS’s Free Assistance Program.� So I guess a reasonable defense on my behalf could be that not many of us really know what we’re doing – even those who are “Pros” in the field!�

Anyway, I’ve chickened-out.� I spent over 2 hours last night putting the paperwork in order.� �And I’m sorry, Andy.� You’re right, of course.� Nevertheless, though, I will sometime soon use my computer to input info that I fervently pray I will never, ever, ever need to look at again….at least, not in an audit!

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