April 15, at 11:59 PM, is the deadline for filing taxes.
Since, I like to get things done in advance, I met with an H&R Block tax preparer a few weeks ago.
She told me that I’d have to pay $200 to get it prepared. I agreed to the price because, unlike previous years, this year’s returns are complicated.
Right away we realized that I’ve been taking too many payroll deductions for 2009. I was still deducting my paycheck as “Married” (which is legally true), but I’m filing as “Single”.
I immediately updated my payroll deductions for 2010 and I’m sure to have less money each pay period as a result. (My updated numbers haven’t made it into a paycheck yet, so I have no idea how much of a shortfall I’ll be faced with.)
Today I met with the tax preparer one last time. In order for them to give me my tax papers and file for me, I needed to pay them their fees. I was surprised when she handed me a bill for $283.00. When I expressed shock, she explained that $200 was just the minimum charge.
I told her that I felt cheated. It’s the practically the eve of the filing period and she’s put so much work into it that I don’t have a choice but to pay, but it’s not right to quote one price and then charge a higher amount. If I had known, I might I have gone elsewhere. And, even if I hadn’t, I could have budgeted for this increased expenditure.
At first she got insulted and started speaking harshly. But, when I explained that I wasn’t planning on speaking to her manager or anyone else; that I just wanted her to understand how I feel, she calmed down and apologized. She offered me a $20 discount and I paid the bill.
Unfortunately, because of how I deducted my payroll last year, I am faced with a charge of almost a thousand dollars. I’m in a tight spot, financially, with all my important financial obligations, but I’m sure I’ll be okay.
I think dropping cable and internet will turn out to be a good thing. I wouldn’t have dropped their service if they hadn’t been unreasonable, but now that I have, I’ll be saving $150 a month. That should help.
Of course, if I replace my internet coverage with another supplier, it will cut into my savings realized. However, I don’t think that cost will be greater than $70 a month. (I’m hoping it’ll be a lot closer to $30 a month.)
“We need fewer taxes” – Ronald Reagan
“We need more taxis. I can never find one!” – The Rechnitzer Rebbe