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A Little Bit About My First Tax Filing

Posted by Miss Shadows , 13 February 2013 · 358 views

Well I'm now 18 and March is on it's way, and for those who don't know what that means around here, it's tax time. Yes, death and taxes, neither one being all that more desirable than the other. First of all I've never done this before. I know what taxes are and why we have them, and earlier in the year I so confidently thought I'd 'do them myself'. That is, until one little word materialized into a couple W-2 forms, and I stared in horror at little sheets of paper telling me 'you don't know crap'. What is all this stuff? There's a million little boxes with numbers, and words that somehow eluded my learning in high school economics class.

So, being a tax virgin, what do I do? I flock to the brand name like a moth to a porch light. HR Block must pay a couple limbs a year to put as many ads as they do on TV. I'll save you the phone bureaucracy, and just get to saying I had no idea what this would entail. I'm not going to lie, I completely envisioned that scene from one of the Harry Potter movies, where they go into the vault at Gringotts on a little magical roller coaster. It didn't help one bit when I got there, and the guy I was working with was balding, 5'3, and had questionably goblin-ish features. I wrote it off to him probably being more invested in his numbers than his looks. Nothing wrong with that, and anyway I got the vibe he was being forgiving too. I showed up very casually dressed, in a hoodie and some jeans, and I'm not sure he was initially all too thrilled about the idea of having some rotten teenager slouching all over his desk for an hour. I really don't know what level of intimacy is typical for a person and their tax professional. I don't send my lawyer chocolates, or my gynecologist birthday cards; in this case I showed up with some government issued ID, my forms, a whole lot of questions, and a smile. Handshakes have always been my go to, either as a 'notice me from the bunch' professional tactic, an excuse to make an impression, or simply prudent insurance. If worst comes to worst, I had a little dignity in introducing myself and took some initiative.

So, I shook my guy's hand and he led me back to his office. We sat, I whipped out my W-2's, and he started asking questions. Single? Yes. Dependents? No. Everything was pretty basic, except for the facts that I've had income from more than one state, and I own property. This guy's an expert for a reason though, he just poured over these papers for about 10 minutes, gave me the inquisition, and started punching numbers. Yeah, it was really uncomfortable. My tax handy man was either ignoring me or looking at me like an 'odd case'. I don't know how common it is to have a lone 18 year old putter in the front door, but he seemed almost slightly amused. I was so unenthused with myself, I was a little nervous and it probably showed, and I couldn't help it. He had to go over whether my parents could claim me or not, and my eyes were cemented to the desk as I tried to squeeze around the edges of that topic. I gave him 'hostile living situation' and 'unreliable, legally adult entities', and I wonder if maybe this was what brought about the worst part of this entire thing. It wasn't having to feel like a jumpy idiot, or feel my stomach knot up when my parents came into play. I'm lucky enough that my first real job, through net working I got a great opportunity and made it a better one, and experience there gave me my current job. I make pretty good money now, better than what I'll be making after a teaching degree and 10 years of experience. It could've been a professional thing, a 'come back next year' thing or something similar. I don't know if you can let someone walk out with a few hundred dollars in their pocket on good-will. He mentioned in process that the total of the forms would be upwards of $250. I'm not poor and generally people read me as a quiet 25, not a stumbling 18. At the end of our appointment, the man who'd done my taxes lowered his voice and said 'due to your circumstances' this appointment is free. He said they won't deduct anything, gave me a number, and said to expect it in the mail in about 1 month. I thanked him and shook his hand again, then ducked out feeling a liquor store candy bandit, and fighting the urge to run.

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