What happens when I play the Procrastination Game with Uncle Sam? The Procrastination Game goes like this: Uncle Sam tosses me a date when a tax filing is due. It doesn’t matter if Uncle Sam’s aim seems a bit off. I’m supposed to fetch the relevant tax form, fill it out, and toss it back by the due date. If I get distracted by a bacon scent floating by, and I miss the deadline, Uncle Sam gets to punish me.
April 15 of each year is the date I howl about most often because that’s the date when income tax returns, like Form 1040, are due. But sometimes it’s hard to meet Uncle Sam’s schedule. Sometimes I forget where I buried my W-2s. (Don’t let The Boss know – I have more than one of them. I’m moonlighting as a Security Dog for the French Poodle down the street! Woof!) Also the idea of having to dig up my dogeared receipts and bank statements – it’s just way exhausting and makes my eyelids very heavy. Besides, my paws start itching to go dig around in the dirt and get my doghouse ready for summer.
Come April 15th, I still haven’t filed the return, so at 11:59 p.m. I start begging Uncle Sam for an extension.
Uncle Sam likes to think of himself as having sportsmanlike conduct. And since I send him an estimated payment with my request, he grants me an extension. This year my return must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m.,Monday, October 15th, local time.
And now the new deadline is haunting me like that mysterious shadow that keeps following me around when the sun’s out. I run around in circles to get all the necessary information to plug in to the little on-line tax forms. Since it’s a good idea to cover all my tracks, I call The Boss for a last-minute check about any outstanding issues. (After a long lecture about the second-job issue, she relents and agrees I’m a financial genius and can paw a calculator brilliantly.) Finally I slip the return into an envelope and frantically dash off to the post office.
Of course, on the way there, I start yelping with jealousy when I notice the neighbor dog next door – he’s asleep in his warm bed instead of braving the freezing rain and wind. Even though his return got rejected, since he e-filed on time, he gets an extra 5 days, until October 20, to resolve his tax filing.
Next year there won’t be this frantic panting for me at tax time. Between January and April I’m going to keep my paw on the pulse of my finances, and I’m going to get my tax documentation in to The Boss early so that she has time to review my return. I’m going to play Uncle Sam’s game by the rules, then I can curl up in a quiet corner for a scratch and a stress-free nap, knowing that Uncle Sam won’t have any excuse to levy my treats in the future.