It’s that time of year again to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.
I have a terrific accountant back home who has done my taxes for close to 20 years now because I had business equipment depreciation and home-based business deductions and whatnot back in the day that I just didn’t want to bother figuring out (and was willing to pay to make sure I didn’t screw up). So today I had to get my paperwork together to send her, and sure as shooting, the technology glitches that always vex me at tax time showed up right on schedule.
I don’t know how they know when I need to create and print out cash flow reports and 1099-INT forms, but the gremlins always sabotage my computer and printer when I do.
First, Quicken crashed every time I tried to print or save a report, so I ended up having to just make a screen capture and print that.
Then I had to go online and retrieve a tax form for interest paid on a savings account, and the company holding the account had changed hands so I had to go through an entire online identity verification process to get the form.
Then, after printing all manner of documents this week without a single glitch, the color ink cartridge in my printer suddenly came up bone dry in the homestretch. It wouldn’t even print one more page after I took it out and gave it a shake (which usually works), nor would the printer allow me to print using only black ink (inexplicable). Fortunately I had a spare color cartridge on hand, which the gremlins usually manage to conspire to ensure that I do not because that’s the way they roll.
I finally managed to get my forms downloaded and printed, my reports onto paper, and my letter to my accountant written. I simply listed the documents I was enclosing, along with customary greetings etc., and knew I wouldn’t need to refer to the letter again so I closed the document without saving after I had printed two copies. I packed everything up, stuffed it all into a big envelope, and was heading out the door to the post office when I remembered to check today’s post.
Wouldn’t you know it, there was one more tax document in the box that needed to go to the accountant, so I had to tear apart my packet, retype the letter from scratch, and negotiate with the printer one more time to get it on paper. The now-larger pile of documents wouldn’t fit into the big envelope anymore and I didn’t have another mailer in the house that was the right size.
So off we went to the Post Office to purchase, stuff and address a mailer, then play 20 questions with the clerk as to which was the best and most affordable option for sending it that would allow me to verify that it actually got there. Finally we settled on certified first class and for something close to $8, it went on its way.
I get a small refund every year rather than having to pay, so it’s not like all these shenanigans aren’t worth the trouble. I really am mystified, though, as to why my computer, software and hardware all work just fine every other day except the one on which I need to pull this information together.