Friday, January 14, 2011

The Best 30 Seconds of the Year

Let's just start this off by getting our minds out of the gutter and agreeing not to post any snarky comments about Ryer; the title of this post has nothing to do with his brief and infrequent exploits in the bedroom. This is a G-rated blog, fit for the whole imaginary family.

As boring as it might seem, this post is about taxes. Actually, it's about completing the federal and state tax forms each year.

Preparing tax forms is not fun. It is a tedious and mind-numbing march toward a moment when you probably have to write a big check to a scary branch of the government. It is a task drenched in the maddening logic that your hard earned dollars will pay people to ensure that you send them more of your money next year. It is especially agonizing because much detailed information must be tracked from year to year, run through the filter of an evolving tax code, and correctly reported across a series of complex and detailed forms.

But now, with the magic of electronic programs such as Turbo Tax and Tax Cut, you must grapple with much of the minutia for only one year. In subsequent years, when you start the program, it will detect the presence of last year's data and prompt you to import essential information from your earlier work.

With the click of a mouse, all personal information, housing information, spousal information, dependents, charities you support, bank accounts you own, brokerage firms you use, tax credit carry-forwards, cost bases of assets, prior earnings and taxes paid, for both federal and state filings, just fly across space and time and land in the current year's forms. With another couple of clicks, you can download W-2 and 1099 information from your employers, banks, and mortgage holders. These electronic transfers bring sheer joy and unbridled delight.

I've said it every January for the past decade, and this time I am blogging it. Tax preparation software is like a dry, sturdy bridge across the great rushing river of tedium. Watching your data automatically transfer to populate the new forms is the best 30 seconds of the year.

1 comment:

  1. Boo Hoo1/18/2011

    That's why they invented accountants. And Ryer's exploits are legendary, just ask him ....