Total Money Makeover During Tax Season

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One of the reasons I chose March to focus on finances, is because I knew I would be getting our taxes ready and you can’t really look at your finances without taking a look at your taxes. I have always done our taxes, using Turbo Tax because our taxes have always been fairly simple. After struggling trough last years taxes, and with changes in our finances this year, we decided that it was time to seek a trained professional and have our taxes done. As someone who is very much a “I can just do it myself” kinda girl, and I’m cheap, this was a bit difficult. However, as our financial situation changes, we felt it was important to seek help. My dad gave me some simple, great advice regarding find a CPA to fit your needs: find people who are in similar financial situations to you (or where you want to be) and ask them who they use. By asking multiple people who have similar financial situations, they can direct you to someone who can specialize in your needs. So, that’s what we did and multiple people suggested the same local business.

During the inital meeting, we were informed that our deductions were not set up properly, and we would more than likely have to pay taxes this year. This was a huge blow. Like many people, we always count on getting money back as a little bonus to start the year off right. Our CPA explained he would do his best to try to help us find as many deductions as possible, to limit the amount of money we would pay. Additionally, we were told that our 2016 taxes were filed incorrectly; That the cute little autofill button that links your banking/investment funds to TurboTax incorrectly input income and we overpaid by about $1300. He explained that after filing our 2017 taxes, he would re-file our 2016 taxes to help us get this money back. He also explained that he would sit down with us, post taxes, and explain how to set up our deductions properly to avoid overpaying in the future, and to help us maximize our money in our new business.

Since that initial meeting, almost a month ago. There has been just an overwhelming sense of anxiety about our taxes. The ambiguity of not knowing whether we would need to pay $500 or $5000 had us stalling our money makeover. Not knowing how much we were going to need to spend on taxes, made us put all “snowballs” on hold. Actually, Dave discusses this in Total Money Makeover, and the importance of paying the IRS as a priority over smaller debts. After not hearing anything about our taxes for a while we called and miraculously our taxes were finished. As I drove to go sign the paperwork, so they could be E-filed there was an increasing amount of dread, as I envisioned all our savings dwindling down to pay the IRS, and all our plans to “snowball our debt” fading away. Fortunately, I had both honeybadgers with me, which provided a nice distraction from the ruminating thoughts in my mind.

Man oh man am I glad that we had a professional look over our taxes. When I arrived to sign the paperwork, I was informed that we would actually be receiving a small federal and state refund. I literally almost cried, ok I did cry. After a month of internal turmoil about our finances, and contemplating how we would move forward paying the IRS and meeting our financial goals, I was overcome with relief. This immense weight, which we had been carrying around like crossfit fanatics, was suddenly lifted. We had resigned to the thought that if we could break even, we would be happy; actually getting money back was a totally unexpected blessing.

This tax season helped me realize the importance of understanding our own limitations. I struggled with our taxes last year, which became evident in the incorrect filing. I realized that seeking a savvy professional is worth the money paid for the service. And I realized that, now that the dust has settled and we have a clear view, we can move forward with our Total Money Makeover and reach our financial goals.

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