It is April 15th do you know where your taxes are? By midnight tonight you will need to file your taxes or an extension. If your taxes are not done, don't panic. Simply go to www.irs.gov and find form 4868. You can file the form electronically, or you can print it out and mail it. You aren't alone. About 147,000 extensions are filed every year. Every year mine is one of them.
I file all of my estimated taxes on time. Every quarter I fill out my 1040 ES. I shed a tear or two, whine, moan, and complain. Then I write out my check and mail it in with my form. Taxes are a necessary evil. The government needs the money. More importantly they will get it from you one way or the other. Paying them properly and on time is painful enough. The other way is worse.
Taxes are codified. Made up mostly by old rich white guys who happen to get elected to congress. They collect campaign contributions. They listen to voters. They listen to lobbyists. They get influenced. The tax code is largely illogical and nonsensical. Horses and livestock are depreciated a lot like trucks. We use terms like MACRS, ACRS and double declining balances. We have a Section 179. Computers last for decades and can be outdated in months, or when the next new big thing comes out. It can't be easy to come up with a fair tax code that reflects reality.
I do a lot better with logic than I do with rules and codes. Applied Calculus was a breeze for me in college. My math teachers liked me and I liked them. In the meantime I remember having my tax instructor go nuts when I raised my hand and said “That isn't logical.” He went off on me. I will always remember what he said. “Young man, the first thing for you to know about taxes is that they are not logical. They are a bunch of rules. They are haphazard. That means you just learn to deal with them as best you can. No one ever used logic to make tax laws.”
That is why I hate doing Tax Accounting. Financial and Cost Accounting are not a problem. I keep my numbers up to date. In the meantime sometime in January forms start floating in. I get my 1099s. My bank sends me a handful of forms. My church sends me a form. I get forms from all of my mutual funds. It is mid February by the time I am sure that I have everything that I need.
As it happens my CPA and I are both marathoners. We run the same marathon every year in mid May. This year the Green Bay Marathon is May 18th. By the time that I know that I have everything I need we are in mid tax season and we are both doing long runs. He works a ton during tax season. I work a ton all the time. Saturday is my only consistent day off. Well, sometimes it is. Saturday is also the day our training group does it long runs. When I get home I take a nap. Sometime in June or July we will pick a day and sit down and figure out my taxes. We will also do some tax planning for the next year. We relax and talk about taxes, our families, the trucking business and running. We will get it done right because we are not in a hurry.