I have a confession to make: I am scared of the IRS. Not just a little bit. We're talking petrified. Paralyzed with terror. I live in fear of making one small mistake on my tax return, and a few years later, the IRS appears on my doorstep with a pair of silver bracelets, dragging me to the big house for tax evasion.
This year's taxes have been overwhelmingly stressful. So stressful, in fact, that I had to bust out the Classic Coke. I'm a not a soda drinker, but this situation surely called for some sugary liquid relief. The source of my stress? We withdrew some money from a Roth IRA (before the government approved age of 59 1/2) to finance some additional grad school work. If I would have had any clue of the complications for a novice tax preparer (such as myself) I would have found alternate ways to dig up funds (for example, sell one of my children). I have used Turbo Tax for the past few years with great success--just plug in the numbers and voila! Taxes e-filed, refunds direct deposited. This year, I am about two minutes away from calling a professional tax preparation service. However, I am scared they will need me to provide the exact same information with which I am struggling on my own. And, I don't want to appear incompetent about my own money. But, then again, I sure don't want to come face to face with a friendly IRS agent.
Instead, I keep bugging my financial planner for the answers I don't have. I am confident she will provide me with some answers. I can tell you this, the company handling my Roth IRA surely does not score points on the customer service survey. Asking my six year old would have been just as beneficial as calling their "Tax Help Line." I know my financial planner will pull through for me--I just sent her three different screen shots, left her a voicemail on her cell phone, and sent her a Facebook message. If the IRS doesn't get me, maybe the police will for stalking.
Let me make myself very clear. I am not trying to go all "Richard Hatch" on our government. I'm just trying to do my due diligence as an American citizen--making sure I pay my fair share AND making sure the government pays me MY fair share. I believe in promoting the common good, and I certainly do not have a problem with contributing to our nation's financial welfare. However, the sheer terror taxes instill in my heart takes my patriotism to a new level. I make mistakes all the time in the course of a day. Luckily, most people in my life are forgiving of my slip ups. But, the IRS is surely not on that list. I can promise you I will file my taxes on time with the correct numbers--whether by the help of Turbo Tax, a tax preparation service, or my financial planner. My Type A personality wouldn't have it any other way.
I can honestly tell you that my heart rate will slow back to normal once I hit the "eFile" button on Turbo Tax. I will breathe a big sigh of relief. . . . until the 2012 tax documents start rolling in for next year.