Call me odd, but I love tax time. It’s not because we get money back, because sometimes we end up having to pay. It’s simply because I enjoy numbers and every other element involved in tax preparation. For years, I was an accountant and evidently for good reason. It was a job I truly enjoyed.
Realizing that we were approaching the end of January, I ran out to the mailbox yesterday anticipating the arrival of my favorite piece of mail, the W2. I was glad to see that it was there. I’m one to just jump right on it and get the taxes done that same day. So it took everything within me to not stay up late last night to prepare and finalize them. I am indeed a strange creature, I’ll admit. But, what’s exciting for one isn’t always exciting for the other.
When I process our taxes each year, I try to do so as accurately as possible. I want no mistakes to be made and no reason to be given to the IRS to audit us.
Can I Borrow Your Kid?
Others are not this way. I’ve known people who ‘borrow’ other people’s children to claim them as a dependent on their taxes. Having kids, brings in a nice little penny each year and everyone would like an additional chunk of change. However, adding dependents that aren’t yours is illegal. Even so, people still do it.
They have a lot more courage than I do. I’m one of those people who feels guilty even when I’m not. If something goes missing in my near proximity, I immediately feel that everyone is looking at me, accusing me under their breath.
I did steal once.
Maybe that paranoia was caused by the one time I did steal. When I was a teen, my friend and I went to the mall after school. She stole a piece of jewelry and urged me to do the same. With fear and a little excitement, I reached over and grabbed a necklace that was hanging next to me. Gently, I stuffed it in my pocket and we proceeded to the exit. We left and no one said a word, but I was terrified, believing that everyone was watching me.
We hurried through the mall and within moments we were in the parking lot. As we walked home, I was paranoid and afraid that every cop car we saw, was coming after us. For at least a year, I didn’t step foot into that mall again. I was convinced that if I did, the mall staff would see me and have me arrested. The fear I felt by stealing that necklace was enough for me to never steal again.
Because of that, I cannot comprehend how people can lie and cheat on their taxes. That’s much worse than stealing a $5 necklace. Yes, it was only $5, but the guilt of taking it made it seem like thousands. I got away with it, but when it comes to the IRS, they don’t mess around.
You can run, but you can’t hide.
Working as an accountant, I dealt with a man who had a very high income, but had not done his taxes for a few years. The IRS started contacting him, so to avoid the consequences he decided to leave the country. Years later, he came back to the states. Within just a few months the IRS had found him. After fees, interest and unpaid taxes he was sitting at nearly 1 million dollars in which he owed.
Bad choices. Money is great to have and it’s necessary, but it’s not worth risking jail time and extensive fees in order to get it. The people who do take these risks have a lot more courage than I do.
I’d rather be a wise chicken, than a jailed criminal.