When I was a kid, doing your taxes was always presented as this ordeal. You had to weave your way through labyrinthine forms and impenetrable instructions, that you actually had to go to the library or some government office to pick up. People were always shown with boxes stuffed with receipts, pulling their hair out as they had to do their own math, looking up numbers on what they hoped were the correct charts. And then you had to put everything in the mail and get it postdated by the right date in April, usually fighting hundreds of other people who’d waited until the last minute too. The whole process provided ample fodder for stand-up comics and cartoonists for years.
Today, I did mine online in about fifteen minutes. If it wasn’t for the government shutdown, I’d probably have my refund by the end of the month, sparing a moment of silence for those poor comics and cartoonists who’ve had to move on to other inspirations.
But even before you could do your taxes online, I never found it all that difficult. Of course, when you’re filling out the 1040EZ every year, it’s hardly a challenge. It’s like the Play-Skool tax form. What did you make? How much did we take? Did we take too much? The end. It helped that I really didn’t have a diverse financial portfolio that had to be accounted for. I still don’t. And I’m going to move away from the subject of having the same monetary profile in my 40s as I did in my 20s before I depress myself.
I’ll console myself with the knowledge that except for once a few years ago, I’ve never had to pay. Sometimes the refund was hardly worth the effort of filling out the forms, but hey, government cheese is government cheese. This year was particularly kind to me. Which karma seems to have gotten wind of and saw fit to make my car need a new timing belt. The IRS giveth and Honda taketh away. I guess some part of the process had to be painful, or it wouldn’t be taxes.