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...three days of ranting, table covered in paper and family scattering and finding something to do elsewhere...

Working out my taxes never generates ranting, and there is no family to find a different place to be.

I tried one of those tax programs once, iirc the one from H&R Block. Utterly useless. I can't remember how many different things it missed.

I made the mistake of participating in the company 401k, for a couple years, while I had an IRA. Because of the income limits on the IRA deduction when participating in a 401k, a couple thousand of the money in the IRA was not deductible from my tax when put in during the late 90s. I figured no problem, the first couple thousand to be distributed from the IRA would be that couple thousand that no tax would be due on and that would be that. Wrong. I have to file an extra form and the amount of each year's tax free distribution is limited to the percentage of the distribution equal to the percentage the distribution was of total IRA assets. It's going to take forever to get that 2 grand back tax free.

I made the mistake of putting a couple MLPs in my cash account. When I discovered the pile of extra forms that generated, I sold the MLPs and rebought them in my IRA. The sale caused another mountain of forms, but that was the end of it.

I also made the mistake of owning too many foreign stocks, which generated more forms to calculate how much of the foreign tax withheld from the divis I can get credit for on my US tax, with the rest of the tax withheld carried forward to the next year. Sold the TD earlier last year, so, maybe, I can get rid of that form this year.

Once I get these self-induced complications eliminated, I can probably whip off my taxes in one afternoon.

Working out my taxes is a learning experience, as in "ah! that's how that works", which generates insights like "I don't need to take anything out of my IRA now, but if I don't take anything out before 70 1/2, then the mandatory withdrawals will be larger, which might push me into a higher tax bracket." A few years ago, I took $10K out of the IRA, plus collected Social Security, plus five figures in dividend income, and had zero tax for the year, because I learned how to manage the income to minimize tax by doing the taxes by hand.

You probably have to lick a stamp

The USPO uses a different type of glue now. No licking required.

<so much fun with Luddites in the morning>

Steve...Luddite who minimizes his tax liability, and learns about the tax code, by using a pencil, in the middle of the winter when there isn't anything else to do anyway.
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