Friday, April 4, 2008


It’s that time of year again. I’m about to finish our taxes for this year.

How did I ever do this without TurboTax? I remember the primitive way. Two copies of all the forms. Oops, I still need the xyz-1876 form. Better go to the public library to get one – no two or three. Pencils with fat erasers all around my desk. A red pen to circle important information in the directions. They call those directions? Come on! Just say what you mean!

Change one figure on one form, and then half the lines on half the other forms are all incorrect. But which half? And is this my final copy or my draft?

Family interruptions become such a delight in the midst of these musings. What?! No, I’m not hungry! At least the interruption provides a great opportunity to blame someone. Where did you hide my box of receipts? Did you shuffle my papers while I wasn’t looking? Why are you making all that noise? Stop having fun while I’m working! Words spoken in love – love displayed by my commitment to slave away at this revenue matrix.

And of course there is a rule about working on taxes. You always start at 9 p.m. or later. That way you can stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, working until you discover which essential slip of paper you misfiled. I know it came in the mail. I know I filed it here. How could it be gone? Then, with such sweet thoughts, you can lie in bed for another hour until you drift into fitful tossing and turning.

So now I can sing the praise of TurboTax. It speaks English, not the language of the IRS, whatever that is. It asks me for numbers and words, most of which I can find. It graciously changes all the figures on all the forms instantly whenever I make a change. It tells me how much I owe, with a running total.

But even with the super-slick software, I can still lose my receipts and yell at my family. I can still start at 9 o’clock. I can even lose sleep, worrying. But so far, I think I have missed out on most of that. At least my family is not avoiding me….Hey, I’m hungry!