Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tax Returns Day One


It was a gray, rainy, wet, cold Saturday afternoon. The sun was not going to shine. The rain would lessen from a steady downpour to a drizzle, but the dampness discouraged any outdoor entertainment.

It was a perfect couch potato day. Prepare a pot of coffee, cup of tea or mug of hot chocolate. Don sweats and warm, comfy socks. Relax with a book or computer. Maybe take a nap.

It would have been lovely. But it was not to be.

This was the afternoon hub and I designated Tax Return Day. We would do a preliminary return, make sure we had all necessary paperwork, run the numbers and dread the result.

We would then put aside the forms until closer to the April 15th filing deadline. There would be a final review before e-filing. The past few years we owed Uncle Sam a few bucks. We like to hold onto our cash as long as possible.

Our 2012 TurboTax (Deluxe edition) was purchased a couple of weeks ago at Staples. The CD sat upstairs, far from my laptop, alone and lonely, waiting and anxious to do its job.

Tax Return Time finally arrived.

I turned my computer on and it purred softly, waiting patiently.

I grabbed the CD box and immediately handed it to hub. It was encased in a transparent plastic shell sealed tightly around a thin, rectangular box. I found the seal impossible to open. Hub used his manly skills to free the CD.

I carefully removed the disk from its case and placed it in my Mac. Mac whirred, coughed – then ejected the disk.

I tried a second time. Again the disk was rejected and ejected.

We had a problem. Was it the disk or computer?

The next step was tech support - a scary, chancy, often frustrating experience.

I located the TurboTax web site and eventually found my way to the chat room. We were number 95 in the queue.

We watched the screen and waited. And waited.

Number 89.

It was going to be a long wait. Not one to waste time, I decided to begin preparing dinner while standing (just a quaint pre-computer figure of speech) in the queue line. I peeled and sliced three large potatoes and placed them in a pot to boil.

Number 75.

I peeled and placed garlic in my garlic roaster, and set it in the oven to bake.

Number 68.

Sliced and sautéed an onion.

Number 59.

Brussel sprouts were washed and sliced, mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread on a flat baking sheet.

Number 54.

Prepared the flounder. Placed three portions of fish (my sister-in-law was coming to dinner) in a baking dish, poured white wine over the fish and sprinkled with paprika and pepper.

Number 47.

The potatoes were done. Drained and smashed them, mixed in the sautéed onion, an egg, low fat sour cream, roasted garlic and pepper. Poured the concoction into a baking dish.

Number 29. Now we were rolling…

Rinsed utensils, bowls and dishes and placed in dishwasher.

Number 22.

Put away spices and other ingredients.

Number 18.

Stared at the computer for a few minutes. Skimmed through the newspaper.

Number 10.

Hub was losing patience and getting testy. Experienced our first mini-fight of the 2012 tax season.

Number 7.

Hub broke out the Scotch and relished his first tax season drink.

Number 5.

Almost there…

Number 2.

It was OUR TURN!

NunbarKumba sends a message appearing in bright red print on my computer screen. Hurrah! (I am not sure of the spelling of Nunbar’s name. I am not even sure that is his name. It could be an Indian term for Customer Service Representative).

The computer conversation commenced.

Messages raced back and forth. Questions were asked and answered. Chat man was in India, where it was the middle of the night. Three a.m. to be exact. Hub and I were thousands of miles away on the East coast of the U.S., irritated by the delay and lamenting our tax woes before even starting to fill out the formidable IRS forms.

The outcome was, fortunately, a happy one. NunbarKumba did whatever was necessary behind the scenes that allowed a download of the latest version of TurboTax 2012 at no cost.

There were a couple of false starts. My computer briefly lost internet connection when attempting to see the TurboTax download web page. Then the first program downloaded (all the way from India!) was the Microsoft version of the program. The correct software was finally successfully transferred.

We were ready to begin the tough job of filling out our federal and state tax forms.

By now it was close to dinnertime. Neither hub nor I had the enthusiasm, energy, or motivation to begin the hard work ahead of us. It had been a trying afternoon.

We agreed to start our tax returns tomorrow.

Will the TurboTax program open and work without incident?

Will our marriage survive another year of tax return madness?

Will we owe $$ again this year?

Do we have all documents needed to complete our taxes?

What nourishment will we consume to sustain us through the ordeal?

Do we have enough Scotch?

Stay tuned for the next installment.

5 comments:

  1. I've been downloading TurboTax for years. I've experienced the Mac ejection behavior also, so the download is better for us.

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  2. Wow! That does sound intimidating. I am going my usual route of using the free AARP tax preparation system at the Senior Center. It usually takes them about fifteen minutes to do our taxes, but then we don't have to worry about it any more. :-)

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  3. Buy more scotch, and you'll get through it!!

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  4. I hate doing my taxes; I hate paying my taxes even more. But I hate Turbo Tax the most.

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  5. Wonderful post. Dinner sounds great! Tried Turbo Tax once, got all the way to "file" -- and it wouldn't. Couldn't persuade it to proceed. Met a very nice lady CPA at H&R Block. Been filing happily ever after.

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