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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Taxing Experience....

A Taxing Experience

Itís that dreaded time of the year again, income tax season, and already Iím procrastinating the inevitable. I donít know why I do this. Each year I enthusiastically plan to organize my life, keep my deductible expenses separated in a large brown envelope, and then go merely waltzing off to the tax accountantís office some time long before April 15th.

Thatís the plan. It never turns out that way.

Instead, I get in a hurry, throw everything into a drawer and let it accumulate. I have a spell of prolific organization once or twice a year, usually when the drawer will not close any more, and end up leaving the rest until the close of the year when income tax time forces me to review my life and get my finances in order.

It isnít all that bad, itís just a matter of doing it. All it involves is piling my personal papers into neat little piles and filing them away in the appropriate categories while removing the things that are pertinent to the current tax year. Tax statements arrive in envelopes clearly marked "tax documents enclosed" so that they cannot be mistaken for junk mail and thrown away without being opened. Itís just a matter of identifying my few pitiful deductions.

Why is it that I resist it so?

It isnít as if I am going to have a tremendous outstanding tax bill. I normally break about even, or maybe come out just slightly ahead - if Iím lucky. Maybe if I would give myself more margin of incentive, like taking a lesser deduction to assure getting back some big bucks, I might feel more productive. Even then, however, I have a feeling would still prolong the agony.

What I need is someone to keep things organized for me so that the task does not seem so overwhelming. Right! As if I would actually pay someone to do a chore that I can easily do for myself. It is not that I do not have the time, it is merely that I do not have the incentive. I would rather spend my time doing something else, anything else, besides sifting through monotonous papers.

Paperwork is depressing..

Iíve been trying to forget about the blow to my budget when the washing machine broke down, but there is that dang receipt again right in with the others. I canít throw it away. I mean, what if something went wrong and I needed it for the warranty? And there was that little encounter with the pruning saw. I have the scar to help me remember it, so I donít need to see those medical bills all over again.

Sorting through all that paperwork reminds me of my encumbrances, of my occasional frivolous expenditures, of the actual amount of income, and precisely where it all goes Ė The financial realities of life, assorted and varied unpleasant reminders of human vulnerability

One of these days maybe I will just claim a standard deduction and put procrastination behind me. But as long as the accountant says I am better off to itemize, I feel obligated to face the paper shuffle.

Letís see it isnít even April yet. That means Iíve still got a while longer. Of course, the longer I delay, the more the drawer collects, and the more of the year 2002 I have to separate from the year 2001.

I hate it when I hear someone at the office chattering away about filing their income taxes and how they are just waiting for their return to be in the mailbox. It reminds me that I will have to face the music Ė eventually Ė but not today, not this weekend. Next weekend will be better.

And so it goes, procrastinating into the sunset until once again Iím forced to do the dreaded deed with the deadline breathing heavily down my neck. Why donít I just do it now and get it over with, you say? I will! I will! Just quit nagging me till I get around to it, would ya?

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

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