I’ve been doing my own taxes this year. In the past, I’ve either hired someone to do them, or I’ve bought computer software (TurboTax or H&R Block/TaxCut). But because my husband is a “member of the clergy,” we own a business, and we have a lot of dependents, it just costs a lot of money to hire someone, and I couldn’t find software that included all the forms we need.
I decided that I could surely read the IRS tax instruction book and figure this out for myself, right? How hard can it be? It’s just a giant mathematical word problem, right?
So I declared a day last week “Tax Day,” and told the kids they could have off school.
Yeah, right. First lesson I learned — It takes more than one day to do my taxes! 😀
Second lesson I learned — All these years of hiring it done were years of not really understanding how our finances work. I didn’t have a very accurate picture of our expenses and budget. The IRS might require the world’s largest word problem, but that word problem is actually very logical. By the time I had figured everything, I noticed many areas in which we could be better stewards with our money. (Honestly, I wanted to pull all my hair out a few times!)
Third lesson I learned — I could have had a lot of my taxes “done” by making systems to use throughout the year. I am going to start new systems for our receipts, keeping track of mileage, filing our utility statements, and keeping track of income. Systems can be a pain to start up, because they require new habits. In the case of our taxes, though, I just didn’t even know that I needed some systems! Now that I know, maybe next year’s taxes will be easier.
Fourth lesson I learned — It doesn’t have to cost a penny to do my taxes. Well, I used a lot of ink printing things from my computer, but a cartridge of ink is a lot cheaper than buying software or hiring a tax consultant. I was even able to e-file for free at http://freefilefillableforms.org. Can’t beat free!
Other than taxes, we’ve been working seriously hard on curriculum that we want to offer to you for next fall. It’s a lot of work, so that means I’m having a hard time getting e-zines done. Please bear with me! It might be a little quiet this month around here, but I promise that we’ll be back and enjoying coffee with all of you again very soon. (I can’t wait until you see all this curriculum — history, language arts, math, “together school” and more — so excited!)
Well, that’s a quick update. Taxes are done now, so Lord willing, I’ll send out my regular “Coffee Break” ezine this Friday morning as usual. Don’t forget to stop by my Facebook page and say hi! I’m probably online, although I suppose I’m technically “working.”