By David Pekema
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, through an elaborate propaganda program, has society brainwashed. From the moment we’re born, we are convinced that doing our taxes is some sort of horrific experience—the equivalent to simultaneously
receiving a prostate check and taking the Bar Exam.
After years of odd jobs and part-time work, this past year I finally earned enough to warrant filing a return. Waking early one recent Sunday, determined to get this hellish monkey off my back, I hunkered down at my computer—armed with H&R Block TaxCut and a fifth of Beefeater Gin—ready for the worst. To my great surprise, after a scant 90 minutes I had finished both my state and federal returns, was printing receipts for my records, and was turning on the television just in time to catch the tail end of CBS’s Sunday Morning. Here are my stats for the morning: $96 owed to the Feds; $67 owed to me by the State of California; $30 for TaxCut; 90 minutes of my time; and one shot of Beefeater (in celebration of a job well done). The whole experience was really just a simple inconvenience—hardly the paperwork hellstorm I was expecting. Then again, as a recent college graduate, my tax situation was far from complicated—I only had one source of income, no defendants, and I've never given a red cent to charity in my life.
Ultimately, tackling taxes comes down to a difficult choice between cost savings and being sure to get it right, so consider the following before making the wrong one.
Doing Them Yourself
It turns out there is an advantage to being just out of college, making relatively little loot, having few investments, and not owning a home—your taxes are very straightforward. At this “worry-free” stage in your life, all you likely have to keep track of...