Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teaching turtles to pay their taxes.

Today I paid my taxes. Everything I owed since 2014. Well, I paid the state and local ones, but I only filed with no payment yet for the IRS. My accountants provided the figures and forms. I only needed a pen and some stamps.

I started a second cup of coffee, and I took a deep breath. No recess until the homework is finished.

I opened a thick Tyvek packet with a folder containing organized papers like I've never seen before in my life. Paperclips separated tasks into useful sections. Envelopes were provided and pre-addressed. Post-it notes gave me a greeting and overview, and detailed instructions were outlined with the important parts highlighted. Small tabs were affixed to forms wherever a signature was needed. My accountants did everything but hold my hand as I wrote out the checks.

Even with the quality of the preparation, the actual task nearly melted my brain. I had to read everything five or six times, because it is impossible to focus for longer than a few words. I'd read half the first sentence, then skim to the end, eventually reading entire paragraphs out of order. Then I'd start at the beginning and try it again. Giving me taxes is like teaching a turtle to play air hockey, and expecting him to not get slammed by the puck.

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