Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tax day with the Lees

The set up...

From the night I met Charli I knew she was a "type A" personality.

I knew this because when it came time to walk her to her car later on, I had to drive her to it instead, because she had left it on the shoulder of the interstate after it had run out of gas. This is the kind of person she is - go go go 100 mph right now and worry about the little things later. This contradiction to my relaxed "plan everything to death" personality is what attracted me to her in the first place - and is one of the reasons we make such a complete and compatible couple.

So naturally I'm not surprised 20 years later when tax time comes and we're finally getting around to starting our tax return at 6:00 p.m. on the last night possible. This is just the way she rolls folks, and if you've ever met her you know what I'm talking about.

I knew the day she mentioned that she was going to open her own scrapbooking retreat business two years ago that we were in for a record-keeping challenge.

"But sweetheart," I said calmly. "You do realize that when you run a business you have to actually keep track of things - you know, in an organized fashion with file cabinets and such?"

"Don't worry honey," she assured me. "This will be different. I even bought this accounting ledger so all my transactions can be written down here."

"Um... you mean you don't want me to teach you how to enter all your revenue and expenses in Quickbooks so you can assign categories and tax codes? It'll make it simple to interface with Turbotax so you can easily import your blah blah blah blah blah..."

So two years later as she's sitting at the kitchen table on the eve of tax due-day sorting through her shoebox full of receipts - I'm looking at my watch and starting to sweat.

"Oh quit pacing honey," she says. "We've got like 7 full hours until midnight."

The execution...

6:00 p.m. After Charli had sorted through her paperwork and backlogged her 2006 entries into her ledger, we were good to go. We saddled up to the computer, fired up TurboTax and began our journey into the land of 20 (million) questions.

9:00 p.m. Only a mere three hours later we were finished and ready to electronically file our returns. Only one step was remaining... push the "transmit returns" button.

And receive this:

WHAT THE?!!! They're kidding, right? I'm supposed to try again at 4:00 a.m.?

Uh - one little problem with your idea there folks. 4:00 a.m. just happens to be AFTER midnight so I'm kinda thinking that's not going to work out so well for me just now. But thanks for the suggestion anyway!

9:02 - 10:00 p.m. After retrying the transmission every minute for the next hour, it was time to make a decision... either print or get off the pot. I decide to make an executive decision and get the printing started.

10:10 p.m. After 14 pages of 42 have printed, printer issues message that "Black ink is empty." Panic sets in as I realize I have no additional black ink. With time running out I head out to my office to finish printing the returns from there.

10:30 p.m. As I head home Charli calls my cell phone and screams out triumphantly, "DON'T GO TO THE POST OFFICE. I GOT THEM TO TRANSMIT!!!"

So there we were, all set and done with a full hour and a half to spare, which is eons in "Charli time."

Which is what I'll call it while I'm serving in federal prison.

Unless of course the auditors don't notice our refund amount.


Anonymous said...

I have been so forcibly removed from any sort of bookkeeping that I didn't even realize that it was tax time again. I like that Charli of yours.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Wendy! Welcome back girl. How are things down in FL?

p.s. I kind of like that Charli of mine too!

Heather said...

I would have fallen into a coma during all that. We (Craig) get our taxes done in January, as soon as we have all the forms we need. We like to get our refund so we can get to spending it if it hasn't already been spent.

Sandy said...

As a Type A, I can honestly say that your story gave me chills. Chills, I tell you!

(shudder, shudder!)

yoo hoo said...

I am not a putter offer. We had our refund in hand by the first of Feb. I did hear that due to the Turbo Tax being "overwhelmed" there was an automatic extension. phew!

Mooselet said...

As I stare sheepishly at the drawer full of receipts that have piled up as they await my entering them into the spreadsheet to track our spending, I realize I really really like your wife.

Anonymous said...

ohhhhh, I LOVE the shoebox method. It's one of my all time favorites right next to the shredder method

I went ahead and mentioned my job because one, I already got offered the job, and two it's pretty generic as apposed to the other thing I was talking about everyone could know where THAT

Anonymous said...

Brother, brother, (and Charlie)
I broke out in a cold sweat and my stomach turned, just reading that! I've just finished my Christmas shopping, for this year! (just kidding-I'm not that bad!)
Congrats you guys-you got it done with time to spare!
Sister, sister

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad you made it on time!!!! How awful to have to pay a fine!!! Hey--that sounds like it could be a song!!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

heather - Yeah, but since our refund was only 2.3 million, we weren't in that big of a hurry.

sandy - Sounds like you need a sweater ;b

carla - Sure, there was an extension - but nobody knew that before midnight so a lot of good it did then!

mooselet - At least you have a spreadsheet. My wife doesn't want to venture beyond paper. Oh well - to each her own.

doozie - I still wish you could have become Deputy Doozie. That would have been SO fun!

sis - Well then - thank God you didn't marry Charli huh?

mom - Like they say... don't quit your day job ;-)