2008 Income Taxes

I’ve got the first draft of our 2008 US income taxes done. I think this is as early as I’ve ever done it, and it seemed easier than it has been in the past. I looked at the systems I’ve got in place, and see some things I’ve done over the years that add up to making it easier.

First, I track finances in Quicken, and file taxes with TurboTax. They interact well together (they should, both coming from Intuit), and over the years I’ve adjusted how I have Quicken configured to make my life as easy as possible.  TurboTax gets easier and easier to use, too.

Second, I know what kinds of things we do that have tax impact, and I make notes and collect receipts throughout the year. I’ve got a folder labeled “Taxes 2008” that had relevant receipts and notes dropped in it all year long. I’ve already got “Taxes 2009” started.

And third, I’ve learned what parts of the tax forms I really can ignore, knowing that they aren’t going to have an impact on us.  I don’t bother adding medical expenses, for example, because I know they aren’t going to come close to the level needed to be able to deduct them.

Nothing earth shaking, but having reliable systems in place and using them makes it all easier in the end.

Now if only we’d have some meaningful tax reform from Congress, that didn’t amount to letting the fat cats pay less.  My suggestion: require all members of Congress to file their own taxes, by hand, on paper, with no electronic support other than a calculator.  No accountants or consultants permitted.  And with a hard deadline a month earlier than the rest of us. Everything else would sort itself out.