I recently discovered how much fun doing your taxes can be as a married couple. In the past I only had to worry about my own taxes. Ensuring that everything was in order before I sat down to do them. I naively assumed that this year would go just as smoothly and the only difference would be that I would be including one more W-2 and checking the Married Filing Jointly box. Four hours and a headache later I found out just how wrong I was.
I told myself that I was waiting to sit down to do our taxes to “make sure I had everything I needed first”. In reality, I was just procrastinating because I didn’t want to do it. Like paying bills or mowing the lawn. So I finally convince myself to sit down and start doing the taxes. Everything is going good until I get to the part where Uncle Sam wants to know how much my wife got back from California last year. You know, cuz Uncle Sam is a crook and likes to flip you upside down and shake out your pockets. At this point I realized I didn’t have everything I needed and all that procrastination really was exactly that.
After a half hour of fighting with the CA Franchise Tax Board website, I got the info I needed and moved on. I found out we didn’t donate enough last year and that being married isn’t as big a deal on your taxes as people make you think.
Then it came time to file and I had no choice but to hunt down my wife’s return from last year. I was spoiled because I have been using a program to do my taxes for the last four years and my returns are always imported. In order to file this year I needed my her return amount, her blood type, and the year make and model of the car her parents drove to the hospital on the day she was born… I exaggerate, but still!
We took a drive to her parents house and returned with her documents from last year. Had I anticipated the need during the lead up to doing the taxes I could have avoided a half hour round trip at 8 pm for a couple of numbers. Lesson learned, next time I’ll try to do less procrastinating and more planning.
I am looking forward to next year when we get to change our filing again because we have a little guy to claim. I just hope we see a bigger difference than we saw after getting married.
Do you have any fun or interesting tax stories? Do you do your taxes yourself or hire someone to do them?