Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

I Hate Taxes

Monday, March 30, 2015
Posted By: 
Marlene Delaney

I hate taxes. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that we have to all pay taxes so I should say, I hate filing taxes. My late husband, Tom, always took care of our finances. Even though he was a structural engineer, he loved accounting. Our finances were controlled down to the penny and he always knew about how much we would owe or how much we would receive in a refund prior to starting the annual tax filing process. So, of course, he did our taxes. Right before he died, when we were having one of our heart to heart conversations about life, he told me to be sure and get an accountant after he died. Although he had planned on doing our 2008 taxes, he died in February 2009 so that didn’t happen. So one of the first things I did after he died was find an accountant. Having been married to an ‘accountant’, I didn’t even know where to begin my search. Luckily I mentioned this to a friend at Tom’s funeral and he recommended someone and it has been more or less a good fit.

Since I hadn’t done my own taxes since the 1980’s, I had no idea what was involved in this process and in reality, I was still in the grief cloud, so the 2008 taxes were tough. But I got a refund and I was happy. In 2009, I returned to my accountant, much more organized and could still file a joint return so I got a refund again. A few years filing as a qualifying widow with refunds and things were okay. I still was learning to keep track of paperwork, to hunt down 1099’s, etc. but I was kind of getting the hang of it although I was still anxious when I handed everything over to my accountant. But then, I had to file as head of household and compounding that with a salary increase, I had to pay the government – a lot! I failed to adjust my withholdings (blame me and my accountant) so I took care of that and the subsequent years have been fine. But every year I get anxious in February – did I have enough taxes taken out throughout the year, will I miss a form, have I kept all my necessary receipts, etc. And next year could be a different story because I will have to file as single. But my accountant and I have been proactive this time so I shouldn’t owe a lot.

But I hate the sound of filing as a single person. In the IRS world, I haven’t been a single person since 1986 which seems like such a long time ago. But the reality is that although I am a widow, I am also single with grown adult, non-dependent children. So I will take care of my taxes next year just like I have done the past 7 years but I will still be anxious about paperwork and will still hate filing taxes.


Tax returns are definitely not on my list of favorite things either. The first year I had to file was only a few months after my husband died. (He passed away in November of 2011). So there I was, sitting in the accountant's office being asked a lot of questions. Most I was prepared for, but was not ready for one of his closing comments. It went something like this: this will be the last return you will file as married with dependents. (My son was just finishing college and living at home). Next year single…no dependents. In one blunt statement, he reduced me from a married woman with kids, to….just….single. I cried all the way home. And why doesn't the IRS have a status for those of us who have lost spouses? It's cold…and insensitive. I continued to see that accountant for a few more years, until this tax season. With the guidance of a good friend and Turbo Tax, I did the tax returns myself. Talk about empowering! I have come a long way since that day just 3 years ago. My husband would be proud…..

Ugh, taxes are the worst. I have had my parents' accountant doing mine, and even with a professional, we have run into tricky challenges every year, and I think I am still working through some things from 2012. I think I have both received and written checks for state and federal every year, because things keep popping up that we didn't file at the right time or in the right way. Even though I don't touch the paperwork, it gives me a headache to think about all of it...

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