I Do My Best Work Under Pressure

This weekend was notable not just because it was Easter, but also because it was the weekend I finally did my taxes. I know, just squeaking in under the wire there, right? You may be surprised to know, you see, that despite my general Type-A neuroticism in most other areas of my life, I am uncommonly good at leaving important things until the last minute, particularly important things I desperately don't want to do. Taxes, of course, are both.

Except, ridiculously, when I finally knuckled down and did them on Saturday evening---wild party at my house!---the whole affair took me less than an hour. It probably clocked in around forty-five minutes, in fact, which is really pretty insignificant, especially when you figure that the chunk of time I'd spent not doing those taxes---worrying about doing them, putting off doing them, dreading doing them---was, oh, about eighteen thousand times that. Think of all that energy I'd expended avoiding doing my taxes when I could have just.....done them, you know? Think of all the things I could have completed with that extra energy, had I not been using it to put off those (actually surprisingly bearable) forty-five minutes. I could have solved world peace! Written a screenplay! Found a cure for feline diabetes! (Oh, wait. Did that one already.)

The best thing about having finally done my taxes was the email I received from H&R Block the next morning. It said "Congratulations! It's over!", like I had just undergone a very invasive root canal surgery or something. I mean, isn't "Congratulations! It's over!" something you say to someone who has just completed a six-hour Chaucer exam? I personally have completed a six-hour Chaucer exam, you see, and it was way, way, way worse than those forty-five minutes sitting at my laptop, typing little numbers into boxes, and yet no-one sent me a peppy email after that. Or perhaps "Congratulations! It's over!" refers not to the act of doing the taxes, but rather the incessant worrying and procrastination that precedes it. And if that's the case, then H&R Block is spot on.

Thankfully, I only owed the federal government three figures this year, which has not been the case in years past, and that alone was cause for celebration. The curious thing, though, was that I owed the state government five bucks. Seriously, I owed California five bucks! Five measly bucks! What was that for, California, so you could get a latte and a muffin? You couldn't just shrug your shoulders and say we were square, that I could get you next time?

Taxes finally completed, Sean and I celebrated Easter in the way that I suspect most childless couples living in big cities without their families celebrate Easter, which is to say we went for long walks in the sunshine and ate three-dollar bahn mi and demonstrated way more excitement than an almost-30-year-old and an definitely-over-30-year-old should reasonably demonstrate when a package of Easter candy---including Lindt chocolate bunnies!---arrived in the mail on Saturday morning from Sean's mom. (Thanks, Peg!)

In fact, I like to believe that the candy was not just Easter candy, but also Congratulations On Getting Your Taxes Done (Finally!) candy, in which case I would like it to be known that the promise of sweets works as a very good incentive if you want me to get things done. You hear that, Federal Government? All you have to do is send a package of jelly beans in the mail next year and I'll get to those taxes a whole lot quicker.  I won't even grumble about giving California its five bucks back. Hell, maybe Arnold can buy himself a Lindt chocolate bunny.

1
Camels & Chocolate
Apr 12, 2009

Ha, I on the other hand have yet to start my taxes. Then again, I'm from a family of CPAs who won't do mine until all of their paying clients' taxes are done, so they usually get me an extension until October anyway.

2
Chelsea
Apr 13, 2009

I never understand why they really can't have a minimum for amounts you owe back, as that's always such a pain to have to deal with when it doesn't feel worth it. One year, I owed the state of Florida thirty-six cents. It cot me just about the same amount to mail it to them!

3
katie
Apr 13, 2009

I owed one dollar to my state! The person above me is right - doesn't it cost them more to process it than what they'll get? I know it's better than owing one hundred dollars or something, but it feels so silly to write that check out :)

4
Diane
Apr 13, 2009

Having an accountant for a FIL and a responsible, receipt guy for a husband, ours were done 2 weeks ago and every year I find myself holding my breath hoping that I will not have to pay anything to Revenue Canada (as they take way to much of my money as it is).

The sense of relief that I feel once the damn thing is finished is unbelievable. We call it the annual torture session!

5
Kitty
Apr 13, 2009

Taxes? Um... Yeah. Gotta go. There's a little something I should probably look into.

6
beyond
Apr 13, 2009

and you know what? this is the last year you will be filing taxes as a single gal. next year you and sean will do taxes together. yay for next year's taxes!

7
SoniaBonia
Apr 13, 2009

I myself finished my taxes last night. What's even funnier than your $5 is that I get a refund from the state. $1! Do you realize how stupid I would look if I actually got that in check form and had to go deposit it? "Yes, I would like to make a deposit into my checking account. Its for one measly dollar!" Pretty ridiculous...

8
soul-fusion
Apr 13, 2009

this is so me. except I am still in procrastination mode and every morning I wake up and think "tonight I do my taxes." And I know it never takes very long. It is just the idea of doing it that I hate.

9
chirky
Apr 13, 2009

Um, still working on my taxes.

10
Speedy Canizales
Apr 13, 2009

I'm a nerd about taxes - I always do a quick calculation at the beginning of the year, and if I am owed money then I file my return right away. If I owe money, then I wait until April 15th to pay. That's how taxes are done at my house - quickly if we're getting money back or late in the game if we're paying Uncle Sam.

11
Ryan
Apr 13, 2009

I did my exactly the way speedy canizales did - which is saying i haven't officially finished my taxes yet.
I will tonight, that's my goal. I also (well, we) owe only 3 digits instead of the usual 4 (yea!). However after the 3rd year in a row of owing more than 100 (last year is was a lot more than 100) I adjusted my withholding. If you're married filing jointly the tax code expects only one person to earn income apparently. And now, the stimulus plan is reducing our tax "burden" by $400/person. Great, next year I'll get a refund. Except I'd rather my money be stored in the bank of my choosing, not the bank of the IRS.

12
jen
Apr 13, 2009

ha, Holly, I had the EXACTLY same rockin' plans this Saturday night - I think I clocked in at 30 minutes! woo. and I received the very same congratulatory H&R Block email this morning in my inbox, too, and I appreciated the gesture very much.

unfortunately, I did not get any Easter candy this wknd, so I think you win...

13
Helen
Apr 14, 2009

I feel your tax pain. As someone with two part time jobs plus being registered self-employed for freelance stuff, my tax situation is a little complicated, to put it mildly. I'm currently struggling with form CF10 to sort out NI contributions... oh the joy.

By the way, as a childless couple without our families in a city, we spent our Easter exactly the same way - long walks in the sunshine, a picnic by the Suspension Bridge and lots of easter eggs, including a Lindor one which has to be the best! easter egg! ever!

14
Emma
Apr 14, 2009

Can I just ask you something completely off topic? I was reading some of your earlier posts and encountered the random naked girl in your house post. Uhm, was she hot? I'd sort of hate it if my boyfriend was accidentally and graphically reminded that there's other hot bodies out there.

Also, yeahhh..Lindt chocolate bunnies. There's one staring at me right now. I dropped its belled ribbon in my coffee last night..while we had people over. It's fine, nobody saw.

15
Marcheline
Apr 14, 2009

Am going to meet my tax guy this afternoon (the 14th) to pick up my stuff to send out. If that ain't procrastination, I don't know what is.

I tried doing them myself on the computer, but I always end up owing money. When I pay someone else to do them, they always know ways to get me money back instead.

16
Erika
Apr 14, 2009

I always do my taxes as soon as humanly possible, but my husband and I always get a decent refund so we look forward to that more than we dread the paperwork involved. And we use TurboTax so it's really simple and relatively painless. And thankfully we live in Tennessee so no state income tax for us. : )

17
Kavita
Apr 14, 2009

"It probably clocked in around forty-five minutes, in fact, which is really pretty insignificant, especially when you figure that the chunk of time I'd spent not doing those taxes---worrying about doing them, putting off doing them, dreading doing them---" ..........
.......Hah! This could be me!!!

Camels & Chocolate: Hahaha...sounds like the CPA's have got it right, as I figure the whole point in being a smart CPA is to know the extended deadlines, and file everything at the last minute. All over and above board! :-)

18
Kristabella
Apr 15, 2009

I did mine back in February. Only because I knew I was getting money back and since I'm buying a condo, I figured I would need all the extra cash I could get.

I once got a refund of $5 from California and I'm like "really? It probably costs more in man hours to send me a check for $5." So I think I donated it to charities.