I pay a CPA to do our taxes every year. This is, unambiguously, a luxury purchase. Our financial lives are not that complicated, and I’m certain I’m in my accountant’s top 10 percent on profit margin.
It’s something I could do in a day, particularly when the year I’m doing closely resembles the previous year, as it usually does. The main reason I don’t is that I find it horribly unpleasant. Some substantial component of that unpleasantness is an irrationally grave fear of making a mistake.
I thought to write about this tonight because it’s surprised me how relaxed I’ve felt this weekend. Nothing about the weekend is remarkable, except that I took all of our paperwork to her office yesterday.
What kind of sense does that make? If I’m not doing the taxes, my entire to-do list is to 1) collect everything that comes in the mail that she needs and keep it in one place; 2) collect everything I’ve generated during the course of the previous year that she needs, which is easy because I put it in a dedicated folder for the purpose; and 3) get it all to her office.
Yet apparently, on some subtle level, I’ve made it an albatross.
I don’t feel at all guilty about that “tax preparation” line item in our family budget. It consistently survives my most valiant efforts to slay it as unnecessary hemorrhage.
However, I certainly need to ratchet it down on the stress-o-meter to the overhead item that it is.
On the way back to work from her office, I found myself wondering about the socioeconomic impact of a comprehensive tax overhaul. If we ever go to a flat rate and eliminate itemization (or something similarly simplifying), would enough people fire their accountants to create a significant ripple in the labor market? As distasteful as I find the whole thing (which is about as distasteful as it can be found), even I’d do it myself then. After all, I can do nearly anything for only 30 minutes.
Happy tax returns, everyone.