Top Ten Things Not to Do When Doing Your Taxes

Since it is Tax season, I thought you would enjoy a post from March 2, 2015, giving hints on what not to do while preparing your taxes. I hope you enjoy it.

a irs

Top Ten Things Not to Do When Doing Your Taxes

10 When doing your taxes, do not rely on the brother-in-law’s advice on what is deductible. If you do, at best, you may miss the audit lotto this year and be safe. At worst, you could be fielding several questions from several agents of the IRS. (Your brother-in-law has already received his whistleblower fee.)

9 When doing your taxes, do not ask your partner to find the receipts that you carefully put somewhere but can’t remember where. If you do, at best, you will have to endure a lecture about organization. At worst, the ensuing argument will consume the next three days until discovering the receipts in the back seat of your car. (See, a trip to the Mother-in-law has its benefits.)

8 When doing your taxes, do not think of waiting until the last minute, thinking there will be some miracle where the government will postpone the filing date. If you do, at best, you will overstress your already limited schedule. At worst, you will be so rushed that you will leave off-key required elements of the filing. The forms need to be signed, for example. (Forgetting essential elements will place you in the IRS slush pile of “those we want to talk to.”)

7 When doing your taxes, do not have large cups of coffee or a Big Gulp near your worksheets. If you do, at best, you may only have rings from the containers on your return. At worst, the biggest cup will be knocked over and inundate the work. (Your tsunami of soda forces a redo, and like that Ikea chest, there is stuff left out.)

6 When doing your taxes, do not think all your expenses are deductible. If you do, at best, you will not be audited and have missed a chance to lose twenty pounds in sweat. At worst, your case will be turned over to an agent nicknamed “Big House Harry.” (So named for the number of convictions sustained with his investigative prowess.)

5 When doing your taxes, do not think the extra cash you earned mowing lawns is not reportable income. If you do, at best, if caught, you can always cite your failing memory as the excuse and beg forgiveness. At worst, you and the head of a drug cartel nicknamed “shive” will be prosecuted under the same money laundering statute. (Better make nice on the short bus transport while handcuffed together.)

4 When doing your taxes, do not find the cheapest tax preparer who claims the largest refund. If you do, at best, you may be disappointed when your refund turns into an amount you owe. At worst, you are watching the evening news to see your preparer being hauled out of his office in handcuffs. (It seems he leads a tax fraud scheme where refunds are redirected to his offshore account.)

3. When doing your taxes, do not fill in the boxes if you do not understand what is asked. If you do, at best, you may cause your return to do just that return. At worst, you may unknowingly set up a farm or other type of account that during the audit, you will be asked to produce evidence of the cattle and chickens for which you inadvertently deducted the feed and vet care. (Testing the sense of humor of the agent with a picture of your dog is a bad idea.)

2 When doing your taxes, do not write off clothing donated to a charity when you are still wearing the items deducted. If you do, at best, the agent will not notice during the audit that the fuchsia sweater listed on the return is the same sweater under your raincoat. At worst, the agent doing the examination of your return used to work at Ralph Lauren as an accountant and has noticed the descriptions of a few of your donations are still on your back. (That RL polo shirt is hard to miss.)

1 When doing your taxes, do not spend your refund before you get it. If you do, at best, it will be a little late, and you’ll be on the hook for interest charges on your card. At worst, the return magically turns into IOU when the government corrects all the math errors. (A bill collector named “Crusher” is pounding on your front door.)

 

94 comments

  1. The Big Gulp is necessary (and appropriately named) this time of year, but you’re right, it’s very important to create plenty of space between your tax papers and your refreshment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pizza is in the same category.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. haha, another great list, John.
    How about just getting a good stiff drink and hoping for the best?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have to be careful at the end when it comes time to sign. After a few drinks Alfred E. Newman becomes a very funny signature. 😁

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t recall Alfred ever having to pay taxes – so maybe that’s not a bad idea…um?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course, your Social Security number would be attached to Alfred.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ll bet he made more than I did!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. These days it might be “No coffee near the laptop.” Probably good advice for authors, too.

    Good list, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would say you are right about the coffee, Dan. I remember dumping a cup into the keyboard. The number 8 never worked the same. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only ever done that while traveling, John – that’s the worst.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, there are never any miracles when it comes to the government. Great list, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill. Holding out for a government miracle is a short route to disappointment. 😊

      Like

  5. Ah, the dreaded taxes. 😦 All good advice, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We all face the same challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    This year has been challenging with the move (and losing files), but I’m getting there. I’ll just be relieved when it’s finally over. Some good laughs today, along with sage advice. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Be careful of the sage advice. You may want thyme instead. Thanks, Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We still have to do ours…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like a lot of folks.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It would appear we suffer the same malady at this time of year. Ours isn’t called the IRS, of course, but same difference… To think I used to do my own taxes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My MBA in finance keeps me doing my own. If course I probably have a fool for a client. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I probably would still be doing my own if Mick hadn’t started a business, started using Raffi as an accountant and just bringing my paperwork over at the same time. Now, with investments and whatnot, I keep bringing my papers over to Raffi 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He said yes to Mick’s truck and he still takes care of me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Always good to have one of those.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That’s for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Perfect timing John! Im off to get my taxes done at lunchtime today. Wish me luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck. Always a tense lunch. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad to see crying isn’t on the list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be number eleven. 🤣

      Like

  11. Last year, I conceded defeat and started using an accountant to prepare our taxes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a good idea. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Some good advice, John, with smiles included. Another good one may be to not hide the cuss jar during tax time. If your partner keeps track of the cussing you could end up owing your entire refund to the jar, not to mention the dirty looks and harumphs you’ll get. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good advice, Tim. Cussing and taxes go hand in hand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve actually calmed down in my old age, and my taxes are simpler now. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah mine are simpler too.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. A most timely post, John. Great advice all the way around!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love that logo! 🤣👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Might be the new mission statement of the IRS

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Very timely post, John as we’re having ours done now. I wish I could hand over the box of wadded up and carefully folded receipts and all the statements to a tax preparer and be done, alas…it’s not that easy. A couple of Tylenol followed by a glass of wine helps get it sorted out.🤣🍷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I still do my own. When I was working the company made me use Price Waterhouse.for taxes. Always a mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. A depressing homage to doing your taxes. Why we have someone (trustworthy) do them for us….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still do mine. go figure

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow! I’m dreading filing and trying to accurately list expenses! I don’t want a visit from Big House Harry. Lots of fun about an unfunny subject. Thanks, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 😁

      Like

  18. Was “Crusher” the genesis of Tiny?? Tax Time is probably everybody’s least favorite time of year, don’t you think, John? Even people who like to mess with figures and balance their checkbooks regularly are more than likely opposed to forking over more money to Uncle Sam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you are right, Debbie. I shudder to think of the tax bill next year given all the money the Fed is shelling out and now Ukraine.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Bwahahaha…ah yes, the ubiquitous coffee/soda rings. More than once I ignored this tip and rued the day. Thanks for the advice and the smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Monika. 😁 I’ll be rings are the least of some of the return conditions.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Great list, John! It’s funny how at the end of each year, we are merry and joyful celebrating the holidays, then property taxes are due in Feb., and federal and state taxes are due in April. That first quarter is a doozy! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not to mention homeowners and car insurance,

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yep, I forgot those, but I also didn’t want to be too much of a downer. 🤪

        Liked by 1 person

  21. When I did our own taxes, I always made it on TV. Yes, I was the guy with heart palpitations and sweaty brow in line near midnight at the post office under the bright lights of a local news crew filming procrastinators for the evening news. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha ha. I remember that guy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. …and more than once!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    Good advice and a reminder I need to get busy working on it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Plenty of time.

      Like

  23. I’ve printed this out, in bold, large letters. For our tax preparer. HA! Actually, we’ve used the same tax preparer for over 30 years. He’s extremely conservative, but at least he’s kept Big House Harry away. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes give it to the tax guy.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. And you just reminded me I need to put this on my calendar to get everything to our accountant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes indeed. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Refund hahahahahahahahahaha. That’s so funny!!! 😉 You got it down, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Luanne. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  26. petespringerauthor · ·

    I’m wired such that I’d rather have a little more taken out in the year and either break even or get a refund. The psychology of paying taxes all year and then writing another check at tax time feels worse, even though I know I could be utilizing the income if I took less out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. old enough that I have to take a minimum required distribution from my 401K. I take it December 1st. Before that date I do estimated taxes and then rais or lower my federal withholding depending on the need. I usually hit within $500.00 of the amount. So the result is I keep my money with me and don’t loan it to the government.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. petespringerauthor · ·

        Good for you! That is the wisest approach, and I’ve gotten a lot better at guesstimating my withholdings over the years. Like we can trust the government to manage money, anyway.😉

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I’m trying to ignore that it’s that time of the year again, but these are quite humorous, John!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Becky.😊 Ignoring taxes is like ignoring a check engine light. Seems okay for a while. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  28. […] Top Ten Things Not to Do When Doing Your Taxes […]

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing my post, Rachel.

      Like

  29. Seven years and still no additional trouble? Through three different Presidents? Just why do you elect these guys?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You tell me.I continue to scratch my head at the outcomes.

      Like

  30. Geez . . . the IRS has some heavy hitters, when it comes to collections 🙂 In Canada, they’d send a very apologetic Boy Scout who’d guilt you into buying some maple favored cookies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I would rather have the heavy hitter. 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  31. As a tax advisor, I laughed so hard at this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mat get two responses to this but I’m glad you got a laugh,Brittanica. Maybe I should have a #11. Do not do your taxes yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. That little notice at the top is hilarious. I confess to being a procastinator when it comes to taxes, but at least I’ve gotten past the last-minute-at-the-post-office routine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good. I only did that once. Thanks, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Here’s a true story for ya. I got this from an accountant buddy of mine.

    This guy filled out his tax return and listed his deductions, all except one. But it amounted to only a few dollars (in his favor), so he said the hell with it. Guess what? The IRS kicked it back to him and called him in for an audit. Their reasoning was that if he missed that one (in their favor, nonetheless) what else had he missed or lied about?

    You can’t win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got called in once and left with about one hundred more of the federal dollars. I liked that.

      Like

  34. John, this is so funny! If I ever meet someone called ‘Crusher’, I will laugh and immediately assume he is a bad boy bill collector.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think with a name of Crusher that will be a safe assumption.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  35. […] Top Ten Things Not to Do When Doing Your Taxes — Fiction Favorites […]

    Like

%d bloggers like this: