Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tax Season or No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I did my taxes early this year.  No procrastination.  Got a decent sized refund too 'cause I discovered that the IRA conversion that I did last year came with the option of deferring the taxes from this year to the next two years.  Sweet.  But then last month I got another tax document in the mail.  A Schedule K-1 from US Oil.  That's a limited partnership that you invest in like a stock, except the partnership pays no tax.  The tax liabilities pass through to the limited partners.  That is to say to me.  That's OK.  I got no problem with that.  The problem is, they don't have to send out the paperwork until sometime in March.  No 31 January deadline like for all the other tax related crap.  So here I am, thinking I've done the right thing by filing early, and the arcane tax code comes along and slips it to me big time for being too conscientious. 

No big deal, right?  I did my taxes with Turbo Tax.  I'll just plug the extra numbers into TT and file an amended return.  How hard can that be?  Fuck me!!!  That's how hard it can be.  Spent the better part of yesterday afternoon preparing the amended return.  Turns out I owe $2.00.  Not $2000.00.  Not $200.00.  $2.00.  As in Two dollars and no/100 cents.  My first thought was, "The hell with it.  They won't care if I just pretend I never got the added paperwork.  It's too much hassle for me, and I know it has to be too much hassle for the IRS just to collect a measly $2.00."  Then I thought about it for a minute.  If this was my doctor or my dry cleaner that I owed an incidental $2.00 to, yeah they'd say forget it, or pay it the next time your in.  Hell, I might even just drop off a dozen donuts the next time I'm driving by as a thank you for the courtesy and we'd all call it even.  But this is the IRS we're talking about.  You know, the "guilty until proven innocent" IRS.  I could be lookin' at hard time with a room mate named Bubba if I get this wrong.  So, I sucked it up, printed out the amended tax form, reprinted all the previous tax forms, and got the package ready to put in the mail.  Did I mention that you can't e-file an amended return?  Yeah, well you can't e-file an amended return.  What I was able to e-file the first time with a few mouse clicks had to be printed, collated, and sent via snail mail.  We're talkin' about fifteen sheets of paper, and that was only because I opted to pick and choose which forms to send and I printed front and back when I could.  Turbo Tax and the printer are apparently involved in some kind of conspiracy to prevent me from doing this easily.  I had to manually print and flip pages in a noble, but ultimately futile attempt to save paper.  Between Turbo Taxe's propensity to never do duplex printing and their weird obsession with printing out two pages of worksheet for every page of tax form, Turbo Tax wanted to print thirty two pages for a freakin' tax filing. 

But at least it is now all done.  The final accounting looks like this.  In order to dot all my I's, cross all my T's,  stay out of jail, and make the IRS happy by sending them their f'ing two dollars in blood money, I had to spend most of a Saturday wrestling with my printer and some headstrong tax software.  I had to stop by Walmart today to spend $2.84 to pick up some 10x13 envelopes to mail this mound of paperwork to Kansas City, and tomorrow, I'll get to stop by the post office (yet another "we're from the government and we're here to help you" government agency) and spend another buck or so for postage to send this tidy little package on it's way.  God only knows how many of my tax dollars will be wasted on the other end for some data entry clerk and an endless string of IRS bureaucrats to sort through the whole mess when it finally gets there.  And all this for two dollars.  Does anybody out there really think I had any other choice?  As Yakov Smirnoff used to say, "what a country."


Anonymous said...

Jesse- Maybe you did have another choice? Sen. Reid said paying taxes is voluntary.