Bill Brown bio photo

Bill Brown

A complicated man.

Twitter Github

Today I filed my income taxes for both Arizona and the federal government. This is a milestone in my life (and I have Sandi to thank for the impetus) because the completion of my taxes is usually April 15th and involves harried running about looking for that mobile station they always set up in front of some mall.

So what gives? Is it because he’s Getting Things Done now? Not really, though the focus on not procrastinating certainly assisted. The reason? E-file. The drudgery of collecting tax information, the difficulty of finding time to actually sit down and slog your way through the forms, and the bitterness I always felt at having to wait such a long time because I like to do my taxes myself—I always thought the IRS’s E-file program was horribly flawed since it was essentially a free service for tax preparers. That’s no longer the case.

There’s now a bunch of tax filing sites where us common folk can do our taxes online and file everything electronically. I picked TurboTax on the Web because TurboTax is the most hyped tax preparation software out there. I even bought it once because I was under the misguided notion that it would make the process easier. It didn’t. I especially didn’t like Intuit’s boneheaded model of requiring you to buy the software anew annually. Since E-file is free, I figured that I probably ought to go with the most well-known name. Who knows what some site like or might do with my valuable information—at least Intuit’s got a huge reputation to protect.

The process overall was quite easy and I was able to start and stop at my convenience. I’m getting back a ton of money thanks to the adoption tax credit. I found myself getting worried about this huge refund because I’m so used to writing a check to the IRS every April 15th and I convinced myself that I was going to get audited. I found myself wishing I was getting less back from the government.

Then I checked my premises, as Ayn Rand would say. This money was taken involuntarily from me by the government; I’m getting to keep more of my money than I ever have before. Once I refreshed my perspective, I became glad and I could start thinking of what positive good I could use that money to achieve for me and my family. I felt relieved; I felt like this is what should have happened the previous fourteen years of my life.