Ah, taxes. The annual freakout that, for me, just got extended.
It started with my business taxes.
My kingdom for a CPA
My CPA got a full-time job and no longer works freelance. She gave me another CPA’s name, but by the time I finally called (I was busy with the back unemployment taxes) the woman was booked solid through the March 15th deadline.
I filed an extension, thinking she could help once tax season was over. Unfortunately, she was apparently fully scheduled for the next few months. Sigh.
This is a problem for Tim’s and my individual return too. Without my business taxes, I can’t file our 1040. So I had to get an extension for that as well.
The personal side
The fun thing is that, to request an extension, you have to estimate your tax liability for the year.
This meant that I still had to run all of the numbers, as though I were actually doing my taxes. And because nothing in life is simple, I discovered we should itemize again this year. So I had to request our prescription histories from pharmacies, print Tim’s online prescription history and go through year-end credit card summaries to find all of our medical charges. All of it in the past week or so while today’s deadline loomed large. (Yes, yes, partially my fault for putting it off, but… Can you blame me for not wanting to do it?)
Anyway, the point is that I got all of the frustration of doing our taxes without any of the relief of having them be over and done with.
And just in case that my stress level weren’t high enough, I discovered that we underpaid. Eek!
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to underestimate our tax liability thanks to the varying amounts of overtime I take on throughout the year. There’s simply no way to know how often I’ll be needed to cover the other gal, and I guess this past year I just didn’t pad the numbers enough.
It wasn’t a huge difference, assuming my numbers are correct. All in all, we should be about $200 short, which is hardly the end of the world. I just needed to determine exactly how much we underpaid (I don’t think the IRS would accept “$200ish” as an answer), then mail in a check with the extension.
But then I started second guessing myself. I was still finding one or two small tweaks as I went through the numbers again and again. And I was awfully stressed, which could be leading me to miss things. And if we underpaid on the extension, then we’d be subject to penalties and interest.
So I did the only thing I could for peace of mind: I (probably vastly) overpaid.
Instead of sending in $200ish, I sent in $693. I figure that should more than cover any computational mistakes I’ve made. And while I’ll miss the money, it’s far better than letting my anxiety run rampant.
Once all of this deadline stress has calmed down, I’ll go back over the numbers. I’ll do it when it’s nice and quiet. I’ll do it in small sections. And I’ll then I’ll input it all into some tax software to make sure that everything is done correctly.
Once all that is done, I can get a refund of (hopefully) about $500.
A (thin) silver lining
The one bit of good news is that none of the $693 had to come out of savings, thanks to low expenses last month. Granted, our bank balance won’t increase by a single penny, but at least we’re not lowering it by $693.
I did have to take $200 out of savings to boost our quarterly taxes — I decided to ramp up our estimated taxes this year just to be safe — but $200 a pretty small amount in the grand scheme of things. Especially compared to $693.
Where to go?
But of course I still can’t do anything about our personal return until I get my business taxes done, so I need to get those taken care of.
Tim’s lobbying for H&R Block. He no longer trusts CPAs now that we know mine failed to notice (four years running) that I wasn’t including FUTA or SUTA taxes in my expenses.
I’m reluctant because apparently it’ll run around $500. The most I’ve ever paid a CPA was $235. But since I don’t have anyone else to recommend a CPA to me, I fear I may be stuck going there.
My alternative idea is to look for tax software that does S-corporation returns. I’ve already had to compile all of the numbers anyway. I’ve been over and over expenses and income and made sure I’ve accounted for everything. I just need an entity (person or computer) to check the math and put everything on the right line of the forms.
The good news is that I have up to six months to get this figured out, though obviously I’m hoping it’ll be closer to a month. If for no other reason, I want those hundreds of dollars back!
Did you wait until the last minute to do your taxes?