With the arrival of spring and, with it, buds, birds and tiny, woodland creatures, comes something else that is not so nice. This entity strikes fear into the hearts of procrastinators everywhere.
This horror is tax day, Monday, April 15. This is when income taxes are due. The last day. The deadline. The drop dead date. The point of no return.
Last year, I was even more of a laggard. I waited until the last possible moment, to get my taxes done. I sped down the highway, to Cheektowaga, leaped from my car, lunged into the only open post office in the area and launched my tax returns into the mail slot, at the stroke of closing time.
That was entirely too close for comfort. I vowed that, this year, I would get my taxes done, the minute that the forms arrived, at my door. I was going to be the first in line, instead of the last one squealing into a post office parking lot.
Chalk it up to best-laid plans and all of that, but my intention to get my taxes finished early went something like this. “It’s January? I have four months, before I have to worry. I’ll get them done in February. That’s still plenty early.”
In February, I did think about scheduling my appointment. I really did. But thinking about it and doing it are two different things. Before I knew it, it was March.
There were technically still six weeks left, to get the taxes done. That is a lot of time. I planned on doing them some time in March.
But then, all of a sudden, it was April. Where did the time go? By the time I figured out that time does indeed fly, another week had gone by. Time to panic! I vowed that I was never going to do the drive of shame on the last day, again.
I did manage to get an appointment, this past weekend, to get the dang things done.
But, where were my forms? My receipts? My charitable contributions? I hadn’t seen any of those things, for months!
Luckily, I have a filing system: a laundry basket with a hanging file in it. I was able to get it all together, in an enormous pile, and stuff it in a grocery bag, for easy transport.
There was a brief moment of hyperventilation when I realized I was missing a W-2, but a quick check under the mountain of paperwork on my desk soon unearthed that form. How it got out of the laundry basket, I’ll never know.
At last, I was at the tax place, and 10 days early, too. As I dumped my plastic bag of financial mayhem on the desk in front of my poor beleaguered tax guy, I breathed a sigh of relief. I made it with plenty of time to spare.
Maybe I didn’t get everything done in January, but I’m not doing a sliding limbo move, under a closing post office gate this Monday night, either. Baby steps. Maybe next year, I’ll shoot for late March.