Saturday, April 12, 2003

The Friday Five, one day late (I'm always late, so for me it's on time):

1. What was the first band you saw in concert? Well, I won tix to see the Beach Boys when I was 13. But the first one I paid for was AC/DC. A very cool show. I couldn't hear for a week.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now? Well, believe it or not, I still like AC/DC. But the Bon Scott version. Not the Brian Johnson version. Not any album after Back in Black. My tastes also run to Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Sinatra.......actually, they're all over the place. It depends on my mood - happy, sad, angry.....

3. What's your favorite song? See number #2. But some perennial faves: Lips Like Sugar (Echo & the Bunnymen), Blue Jean (Bowie), Under Pressure (Bowie & Queen), One Tree Hill (U2), Badlands (Bruce)....there's more, but I'm tired.

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be? Guitar. But I'd rather sing. Singers get the girls. Accountants get the tax returns.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why? Elvis. Just to ask him what the fuck was he thinking?
So it's over.

But it's not.

But it is.


Ok, so for all intents and purposes, my tax season is over. But there's those pesky extensions. Some are like P - they are actually done, but they owe, and they don't have the money, so they extend. Others are like D&C - they never give me everything they need to for me to finish. If they did, it wouldn't be an issue.

For as close as we are to April 15th, I had only 3 real appointments today. I expected more. Like, a full day. I managed to fill the day anyway, toiling away on yet another return where all the documents aren't included. Another extension, this one because the client doesn't call me back. Another client frets because we didn't include union dues, but since that's subject to a 2% floor, he won't be able to deduct them anyway. A parent is miffed because their daughter wasn't ready in time to join the parent at the office so I could do a two-for-one (two returns in one hour). Instead, she has to make a separate trip. I seriously underbill, expecting to get a tirade from the boss but it took me all of eight minutes to do her 1040EZ, so should I charge her the hour rate?

Meanwhile, the regular job has become a drag. Or maybe it's just burnout raising it's ugly head. I feel just totally lackluster this week, and don't really accomplish anything. At the tax office, I mope. At home, my apartment beckons, begging me to clean it. It's a filthy mess. I realize that it's been two years since I actually took a vacation. I want to sleep all day. I have over 100 emails in all of my inboxes, because I'm too lazy to clear them out. Blah.

I've just wasted 30 minutes surfing websites of people who are asking visitors to give them cash to pay various bills. I think I've seen everything now. Some of these people actually have succeeded. Others have gotten token amounts. I find it amazing that such a scheme works. Maybe I should start my own. Everybody send me a dollar, and help me pay for law school. Heck, I only need.......uh.......a hundred and twenty-seven thousand people to do that! Cool! So what are you waiting for? Be one of the first? Then I won't have this huge stress of HAVING to get the big bucks job, and I can do public interest law!!!

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Thank god it’s the last week of tax season. I’m ready for it to be over. In fact, the weather and tax season can both take their leave of me now. I don’t need this frigid, arctic weather, and I would like my weekends back. As if it were somehow divined, I’ve suddenly come into a flood of personal tax clients. Of course, no one wants to do it early. It’s something I’ve never understood. Those who are getting their money back file early, and those who are paying not only file late, they prepare late, too. Now, I understand the wait-until-the-last-minute-to-pay thing. But it never fails that over half those people know they’re going to owe a substantial amount of money, but wait anyway, then fret about how much they owe, and “where am I going to get all this money?” It never dawns on them (even when I’ve told them time and time again) that if they prepared their return in January, the “where am I going to get the money?” question would have been much easier to answer. Sure, it wouldn’t reduce what they owe (that would have taken their thinking ahead before they take the money out of their 401(k)), but at least they wouldn’t find themselves in a cash crunch. Or better yet, like the guy, four years or so ago, who sat telling me all about the vacation he was planning for himself and his wife while I plugged away at his return. When I got done, he owed something like fifteen hundred dollars, because he’d taken a huge chunk of his 401(k) “to pay bills and other stuff” and, of course, was under 59 ½, and so incurred the 10% penalty. Of course I asked how he was going to pay for this wonderful vacation, and he responded, “with my refund. It’s my savings account.” Now, why you’d want a non-interest-bearing savings account is beyond me (although that’s pretty much what any passbook-style savings account is anymore), but plenty of people over-withhold and treat their tax refund as a windfall, instead of being a bit more prudent with their money all year long. Anyway, this guy was one of those people, and he was quite upset when I responded with “not this year. You owe.” And this guy was a big, biker-looking dude. And he was pissed. But there was nothing I could do – it was all his own doing. Needless to say, he didn’t come back the next year.