This past week most Americans had to go through one of the most obnoxious annual US traditions. Although Tax Day was delayed due to the Easter holiday, the delay meant that many procrastinators had to spend their holiday doing peculiar math calculations and thinking about their income instead of enjoying time off with their family. As I sat doing my own taxes (possibly last weekend... possibly) I was struck by how much the dread of this chore had in common with another very common task at this time of year - packing and moving to a new apartment. Let me explain with this handy chart.
|Receive notice in the form of a 1099 or W-2 form from your boss that income tax time is almost here.||Receive notice in the form of a lease renewal letter from your landlord that moving time is almost here.|
|Spend the next two months pondering what you'll do with your refund.||Spend the next two months looking for a new apartment.|
|Realize with only a few days left that you should probably start doing the paperwork.||Realize with only a few days left that you should probably start packing.|
|Start your return, realize that you need several documents that you've misplaced, flail about.||Start sorting your belongings, realize that you need far more packing supplies than you have, flail about.|
|Get about a page in and be reminded of how badly you underestimated the number of boxes you need to fill in on a tax return.||Obtain a handful of boxes, pack a few rooms, and then be reminded of how badly you underestimated the number of boxes you need to pack your kitchen stuff.|
|Contemplate hiring someone to handle things for you.||Contemplate hiring someone to handle things for you.|
|Find out that your options are expensive professionals who are all booked up already, a questionable tax prep service that suddenly popped up in a strip mall, or your skeevy uncle with a CPA license.||Find out that your options are expensive professionals who are all booked up already, questionable day laborers who lurk out front of the U-Haul depot, or your perpetually late friend who owns a pickup truck.|
|Search the web for "Hidden Tax Deductions" and realize that a lot of people care way too much about these things.||Search the web for "Moving Day Hacks" and realize that a lot of people care way too much about these things.|
|Feel slightly horrified at the lengths people go to in order to avoid paying taxes.||Feel slightly miffed at the flimsy excuses your friends give to get out of helping you move.|
|Get to the bit about deducting moving expenses and discover that you can't recall where you put all your receipts from last year.||Make a note to put all your moving receipts somewhere you'll be able to find them next April. Track them all on a phone that you'll replace with a newer model in October.|
|Worry that your accountant is going judge you harshly when they see how much you're planning to deduct for "meals and entertainment."||Worry that the movers and/or your helper friends are going to judge you harshly when they see your secret collection of My Little Pony figurines.|
|Start off meticulously counting every penny. Within an hour, find yourself apathetically rounding to the nearest ten.||Start off meticulously wrapping your valuables sorted by room. Within an hour, start chucking things into any box with available space.|
|Try in vain to understand all the words that are used in the tax form instructions. Hope against hope that you're intepreting them correctly.||Try to understand exactly what your movers are saying about your stuff as they shout at each other in a foreign language. Hope they're not saying anything really insulting.|
|When you're halfway through your return your computer crashes, taking with it several hours of work.||When you're halfway through loading your stuff into the truck, it starts raining.|
|Develop a massive headache after several hours of number crunching. Take some painkillers. Snap at your roommate/spouse/friends.||Pull several muscles and cut yourself on the tape dispenser. Take some painkillers. Whine about your injuries to your roommate/spouse/friends.|
|Give some thought to making a final pass through your return to squeeze out just a few more deductions. Realize you're so depressed after learning your true net income last year that you really want a drink instead.||Leave some cleaning supplies at your old apartment with the thought that you'll go back and scour it. After arriving at your new place with your final load of stuff, decide that you really want a drink instead.|
|Pay far more than you expected to the service you chose to use for filing online and/or services rendered.||Pay far more than you expected to the service you chose to use for moving. Alternately, realize that you're going to have to pay back the favor by helping out with all your friends' moves for the next three months.|
|Two months later, receive a notice from the IRS stating that you did it wrong and you owe them a chunk of cash.||Two months later, receive a notice from your former landlord saying you did it wrong and they'll be deducting damages from your security deposit.|
Given the choice, which would you prefer to do - move or file your taxes? Do you agree with our comparison? Let us know in the comments! If you like this format, check out our previous Thankgiving-themed analysis of the corresponding pitfalls of cooking turkeys and apartment hunting.
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