Taxes and free time


tax dependents

I don’t know if you’re like me, but until my taxes get filed I feel like there is a 500 pound gorilla on my back. Once the forms have been submitted (especially if I get money back), it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I get that “Friday and the work week is over” feeling. The sunshine is warmer. I look around and realize everything is green. Flowers are blooming. Spring has arrived and I hadn’t even noticed because of the tax deadline looming ahead.

It makes you think, “Now what do I do? How will I spend my free time?”

Every Saturday morning I sit down for coffee with a bunch of buddies at a local pastry place, and between the eight or so of us we usually manage to solve all the world’s problems by the end of the second cup (this is important because you only get one free refill). This week we tackled “Free Time” now that the tax season is over.

Golf was a popular solution (with this group, golf is pretty much a solution to everything). We talked about yard work, about camping, and watching television. But then one of us came up with an answer that never occurred to the rest of us.

He did his taxes again.

He wanted to know if his tax program would produce the same results as the software his neighbor used. So after doing his taxes with his program, he loaded up the CD from the other leading brand and (take a deep breath) DID THEM AGAIN.

Amazingly, the two products produced the exact same results – down to the dollar. He smiled triumphantly at us, pleased with the results of his empirical study. We were dumbfounded. Not because of the results, but because he DID HIS TAXES TWICE.


We didn’t know whether to be proud of him, embarrassed for him, or whether to just feel awkward. I think we tended toward the latter.

But as I thought about it later, I realized he might be on to something. Next year, to get a real representative sampling, I think I’ll let him do my taxes twice. If the final numbers come out the same, we’ll all know that the different software programs are pretty good.

Meanwhile, I’ll have enjoyed the burgeoning of spring, and will get in a lot of golf.

Hey, maybe the 500 pound gorilla will want to be in my foursome.


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