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Lately, my favorite proclamation-day of the week is TGISGMTDBA15—Thank God I Somehow Got My Taxes Done Before April 15.
It was no thanks to those free, do-it-yourself online tax preparation services, which got me in trouble one year for creating confusion in my head and causing me to answer a few questions wrong, according to the mighty Internal Revenue Service.
Far be it from me to argue with the IRS, which got even by sending me a succinct letter the following year that arrived on my birthday and had little to do with best wishes. Talk about the trauma of growing another year older.
By now, everybody has probably figured out I have a much better aptitude for working with letters over numbers anyway. I like to think I write real good, anyhow.
But the IRS doesn’t care about any of that.
It just wants you or someone a little smarter than you to redo your math in such a way that it translates onto a personal check made out to them, including the proper array of numbers that were inadvertently omitted the last time no thanks to those do-it-yourself tax gizmos.
That year, too, passed, thanks to a kind-hearted professional tax preparer in town who was more than happy to fix the problem as long as I was willing to share the largesse of my dwindling tax refund.
Unlike the iffy online services, he didn’t work for free.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson.
But this year, once again, I couldn’t help cruising onto the World Wide Web once again to check out yet another free service that this year yielded a pittance of a refund.
I wanted a second opinion, so I surfed onto another do-it-yourself site that offered even less.
Because I didn’t feel like arguing with them or the IRS another year, I once again summoned the professionals.
They efficiently combed through every W-2, scrap of expenses and shred of deductions I might have to my name. After a few days conducting their calculations, this professional rendered a verdict that made my day.
He had managed to find a significantly larger refund that had me greedily rubbing my hands together and plotting my next trip to California.
Unfortunately, the “extra” refund he secured for me is just a few dollars more than his highly professional, IRS-proof tax preparation fee.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.