Friday, April 17, 2009


There was a time when I used to prepare and file my own taxes. I had a standard job and owned a house. My only deduction at that time was the interest on the house. Simple.

Well, till North Carolina. That was the year my company moved me three times and so in addition to federal there were the three states. Missouri was easy because it was a flat percentage of my federal tax paid.

Colorado I had done for enough years I knew the ins and outs. But North Carolina! I even looked up the literacy rates in that state to make sure they were able to read the form. Not! The first time I did it I owed them more money than I had made in that state. So I asked a friend of mine at work to look it over. He came up with a return figure greater than I had paid in. (Note we both worked in the cost engineering office of a major construction firm in control of a $2.1 billion project.)

I gathered it all up and ran to H & R Block. (It should be noted that year my federal form was the short one because I did not even own a house and I had already prepared Missouri and Colorado forms.) That little adventure cost me the better part of $100 but I did not owe anything to North Carolina. I have never done my own taxes since.

But every year when I write the check to my tax preparer I realize the tax code really has to be easier. Surely the time to receive and review and cost of forms creates a diminishing return for the IRS. I make a paltry amount of money and I had to file some ten pages between state and federal because I have a small home based business which no way puts me over supplemental earnings allowed for people on Social Security Disability.

It would be a perfect world it I could go to an Internet site and enter a couple figures and push a "Post" button and have taxes done for the year. Course that would probably put a lot of CPA's out of work.