It’s that time of year… tax time.

I used to look forward to doing my taxes, in fact, I did them as soon as I had all my paperwork and receipts, always got money back. For the last several years however, I’ve had to pay. Now I do my taxes at the last minute and pay electronically a few days before the deadline.

Most tax slips are cryptic, with all those numbered boxes full of numbers and sometimes letters. There must be an army of government employees, tax lawyers, accountants and people who make those little boxes working around the clock, year-round, helping to make the process as complicated as possible.

Combatting the confusion is tax software that is supposed to make the process painless and easy even.

The whole process took a couple hours and was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. Early on I was getting a refund of approximately $1000, half an hour later I owed $2000. Took a break, had dinner, then got back to it. Did my son’s taxes, transferred all his University tuition credits back to me (I pay it, seems fair) and I was back to a refund, this time for $1600.

My excitement was short lived…

Got close to the end of the process, doing high-fives, with myself, when the software picked up an error. I was asked to explore it but I didn’t really want to. Turns out I had checked a box I shouldn’t have, something to do with my wife. I read the help file to make sure I understood the stupid little box, realized I had made a mistake and unchecked it. The $1600 disappeared, just like that.

No more errors, I was good to go. I’m still getting a refund… $6. Won’t even pay for the tax software. My wife owes a few hundred and my son gets back $16. All in all, not a bad year.

Assuming I did it right…

If not, one of the many thousands of government employees will find, fix and bill me. Making me wonder why they just don’t do it all in the first place, saving us time and grief.


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