Let's Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Taxes, Smaxes

March 16, 2023

Earlier this spring I spent several days wrassling all my receipts, giveaways, and everything else into a spreadsheet for my 2022 income taxes. Every year I moan and groan about the process, even though I have all the receipts squirreled away and waiting for me.

It is a thankless task of sneaky typos, squinting to read bad handwriting, and sheer frustration. Some of you may know that math is not my strong suit. I absolutely can’t do air math. The spreadsheet is supposed to help but this year, it added another layer of frustration.

I had to redo those bad boys several times before I wrangled everything into perfect order. Then I took the work product to my in-house accountant. He spent a few minutes looking at the numbers, and it looked as if they were spinning in his head. He’s supposed to be the math whiz. Goodness Sakes, I certainly hope we aren’t going to swap talents because I would be a certifiable disaster at the taxes. Bottom line, I wasn’t finished…

My biggest issue is categorizing deductions. Apparently, the expense categories keep changing over time. My trusty cheat sheet of the various categories of allowed expenses, blinked like a frog at me. Specifically, I followed it to the letter every year, or so I thought.

But, as it turns out I had not grouped the expenses correctly for this year, other items needed to jump categories, and so on. My accountant said to come back when everything was in the acceptable IRS-approved category for 2022. Boy, did I grumble! How was it my fault, when the cheat sheet I used for the last three years betrayed me?

Then I transposed one number whilst shuffling things here and there, so the new summary numbers didn’t match the older summary number. That took a lot of sleuthing to discover where the error was. Finally, finally, I got it packaged together in the 2022 way, and it was accepted. I celebrated with macaroni and cheese, followed by orange sherbet. Whew!

Let’s shake off that exhaustion with a giveaway!

Leave a comment below about your tax season frustration, and your name will go in the hat to win an ARC of SNUFFED OUT, a book I wrote under the pen name of Valona Jones. (Winners US only.)

While you’re here, there’s only TWO MORE DAYS to enter our March giveaway. Zip over there right away to enter. The contest ends March 18, and the winner will be announced on March 19. CLICK HERE.

Want to learn more about author Maggie Toussaint / Valona Jones? Visit Maggie’s website or Valona’s website.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Maggie Toussaint • Tags: , , , , , , |  26 Comments


26 thoughts on “Taxes, Smaxes

  1. “Taxes! Spreadsheets! aaarrgh”. I’m calling this back over my shoulder as I run away. You hit the nail on the head with the time and angst required to get all those receipts identified and sorted into appropriate categories. This has to be done by us, no matter who prepares our tax documents. You are way ahead of me at least, mine are still sitting on the corner of my desk, glaring at me.

    1. Take a deep breath and only do a piece of it at a time-much less frustrating than trying to power through the whole kit and kaboodle.

  2. Ugh! This is on my TODO list for this week. Sorting through the receipts and listing them is a tedious and mind-numbing task I dread every single year. I’m half done so far — earlier than most years. Yay!

  3. I use my own spreadsheet categories and let my accountant figure out where it all belongs. He’s about done with our 2022 taxes and will submit electronically. It’s always good to finish, but this reminds me to keep up with this year’s expenses.

  4. The biggest frustration right now is that our tax preparer is retiring! She’s squeezed us in this year, but we have to find someone else for next year.

    1. Ouch! That’s not good news when your tax person retires. Then you have to learn a whole new system of collecting your information. Hope you find someone that is a top shelf accountant, Jody!

  5. I hate gathering the information more than I hate doing the taxes! And this year our information is spread out over two states and I fear what is mailed to my husband may not show up here. He is blissfully ignorant about doing tax returns as I undertook that chore years ago. My mistake.

    1. It is challenging to become forced into the “responsible” one of a pair. I like being the free spirit person so much more! It is difficult for me to imagine the truth-that some people love doing this. I say more power to them, but it isn’t how I roll. You have my deepest sympathy, Pat.

  6. Maggie, if you record expenses on a spreadsheet as they occur, all you have to do at the end of the year is print out the sheets for each category. It’s much easier than tackling all those receipts come tax time.

    1. Someone has shared that tip with me before, and while it sounds like a good idea, I never seem to get around to it. There’s always something else I’d rather be doing. I think my fate is to keep doing it the hard way! Appreciate you trying to help me.

  7. Ugh, that is this weekend’s project. Everything is in one banker’s box except a few things to download. I sort and staple to my standard format pages I use to separate personal and various businesses, and all that goes to the accountant. He does the heavy lifting including figuring out which columns everything goes in. Worth every penny we pay him (plus his fee is tax deductible, LOL).

    1. Sounds like you have a good system, Diane. And you don’t sound beleaguered at all-lucky duck. I wish I could just hand over the folder of all the author stuff to a person, but my “person” expects me to pull my own weight and do the heavy lifting.

  8. Well, a few years ago, I made a tax template on Word. I do not do spreadsheets for some reason. Anyway, it works quite well and all year I put everything into two folders–Donations (cash and stuff) and tax stuff. All year, I do printouts of cash donations, etc. During the year when we pay taxes on property we own in Texas (we live in Georgia now), I put it in another word program. I keep all medical stuff but end up not giving it to the accountant–he does some wizarding, so I shred it. So, it is very easy to get together. I just have to itemize the donations to charities. Then we give it to our CPA to figure it out. The hard stuff are the investments from IRAs and 403Bs and 401As. They are undecipherable to us, so he has to figure it out. Long gone are the days when we did our own. thank goodness for him and I agree with the comment above, what he charges is worthwhile.

    1. Madeline, any system that works for you is the one you should stick with! After we moved states, we also had the joy of filing in two states, briefly. I agree that it is nice to hand off the stuff to the accountant, but my guy is completely DIY about taxes. That’s why I have to do all the sorting for the writing business end of things. I truly appreciate that he does the taxes and saves us that expense, but I still get grumpy when I have to do all the sorting of expenses into tax categories.

  9. In one breath, my accountant hates me, but he has to admit I am organized as I arrive with my folders and tax planner – having plugged in numbers which are reflected on the tallies I keep in the folders and summarize on the covers. I figure, he can check me by running a tab… but everything is accounted for as the year goes on. I know he wishes I would do it on the computer in a program, but ……

    1. Hey Debra, sounds like you have a hybrid method of keeping track of expenses. you note the cost and keep the receipts. At least you have someone who works with you, and I’ll bet he/she passes off the data entry to someone else in the firm. I’m not the sharpest tack when it comes to math, that’s why I like the spreadsheets. All I do is upload the information and tell the sheet to summarize the numbers. It works, but I always at least 130 pieces of paper to sort through…

  10. I can’t really complain. Hubby already did ours. He uses Turbo Tax software. He has been using it for many tax years, so he has it all down to a science. Such a blessing!

    1. I hear you, Terry. I have been “gotcha”‘d up the wazoo this year! I’m ready for a holiday. Anyone with me?

  11. My husband does the taxes on one of those online tax services. The worst part is listening to him ask me where is this, where is that? Look in the folder where we put all the tax stuff. Oh yeah, here it is. Every year he says I thought the refund would be bigger and my response is always “At least we don’t have to pay” Thank you so much for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    1. I hear you on the heartburn of surviving tax season. I rank this right up there with wallpapering as a couple… Not a good experience!

  12. I have a special container with folders containing the different categories for my and my husband’s expenses and income. I use spreadsheets for every category. Then grab the ones from the year before. Turns out many of the expenses are the same from year to year, so I can just change the dates and amounts and add or remove ones that don’t apply. It’s still a pain. If I were more organized I’d do it each month so I wouldn’t have to do it all at the same time.

    1. That’s a great way to do it. I use the previous year’s content as a cheat sheet to keeping track of everything the same way each time. I also keep the same summary columns in my spreadsheet (with the categories color coded on my input sheet to keep them where they should be) so that I have running totals as I input the new info.

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