I Hate Taxes -or- The Monster Who Ate Half My Writing Time

Friday. Finally Friday! Woohoo!

Let me get this part out of the way first. I actually was able to write some stuff that I’m reasonably happy with this week, despite the tax challenges I rant about below. I introduced even more new characters (and they are important to the story,too), and I had a lot more action. This one is turning out to have a lot of action so far. I like.

I also am coming across some unplanned developments on the relationship front for some of my characters. That’s even more interesting to me. I like where this is going.

Of course some of the characters once again acted without consulting me, which made me work hard to fit their actions into the story, but I think I have it now.

And I also came up with plans for another new story that I think I may write after I finish up this and the next. The only hint about that one I’m giving is that it has a girl who lives in her car, possibly even a Smart Fortwo. Yeah, cramped. Still, they are so cute!

Okay, now the tax stuff.

I came to three conclusions this week:

  1. Turbotax is not my friend.
  2. Our tax system is designed to punish us.
  3. Turbotax is NOT my friend!

So let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

  1. Turbotax may be wonderful 95% of the time, but it isn’t always there for you when you need it most.

    The federal part of Turbotax is simple, easy, wonderfully designed.

    The state taxes, however, can be slightly not-so.

    I finished our state part and it found something when it ran its final scan. Huh. Okay, I’ll go back and recheck my state numbers. Everything was fine, but I got the error again. I repeated this process, making sure of my number, yet still an error. Several iterations of this led to the same conclusion.

    I’ll just correct the number right there, it lets you do that. I’ll just do that and get on with life. Uh-uh, said Turbotax, we’re just going to capriciously switch it back to the incorrect number and find the exact same error.

    Over and over.

    Fifteen quinzillion hours later (It’s a billion times a bazillion, look it up!), and I’m practically banging my head into the wall in frustration.

    Yeah, I was not pleased.

  2. Our tax filing system clearly targets those of us who don’t have accountants to do all our work for us. Yes, the EZ form is, well, easy. After that, it goes downhill quickly. You can either pay someone else to screw your taxes up for you, or do it yourself. And if you do make an error, they will catch it right away when you file.

    This of course leads me to ask one simple question: If they have enough information to know that you didn’t enter something correctly, then why do you have to enter it in the first place? Seriously, if they have all your information and can catch your errors then why don’t they just automatically do it and send you either a refund or a bill?

    Is this a test of our math skills?

    Maybe a test of our patriotism? Only a real patriot would voluntarily subject themselves to this, right?

    Or is this to punish those of us who can’t file EZ and can’t afford a full time accountant to do it for us?

    I think it’s that last one, honestly. It must be.

  3. Turbotax again? Yes, it repeatedly gave the wrong answer and wouldn’t let me correct it. I even had my wife take a look, and it still did the same thing for her. I even tried contacting them for help without any luck. Eventually we gave up and went to FreeTaxUSA. I really recommend them. Cheaper, easier, and lets you fix things if it gets them wrong. Way better than Turbotax.

Have a wonderful weekend!