How To Have Fun Filing Your Taxes

Income tax filing date is mid-April… as far away (over 200 days) from an election date as possible.   Maybe politicians figure you’ll forget about the taxes you paid this year. Maybe they also figure they can persuade you to donate your refund to their campaign. They already ask for a donation on the IRS forms. Them congress critters are sneaky!

I’ve been filling out tax forms for about 60 years now. I finally figured out a way to relieve the stress and mitigate the amount of cursing involved…get my kids to do it.

Few years ago, the result was interesting. One daughter is an English major so she could focus on the language of the tax codes. The other was a math major so she could do the number crunching. The math major missed some of the “fed-speak” language on a form and the English major found an error of several thousand dollars. Maybe the confusion was deliberate so the politicians could continue to rely on lobbying money from corporations like Turbo Tax?

it takes a minimum of 13 hours for the average person to fill out their taxes. That’s why sixty percent of Americans pay someone else to do their taxes. Lobbyists for those companies who do the taxes might be responsible for the complexity and size of the tax code. With 255,369,678 adults in United States, a 60% size of market is about 160 million customers who pay an average of $323.00. I was going to compute the total dollar market but my calculator hasn’t recovered from this year.

This year I figured none of my five kids would have the time to bypass Turbo Tax and try to fill out the forms. So…time to tap the smarts of my seven grandkids. I started with the youngest…that granddaughter has 15 (so far) years of education and is a math whiz. I was pleasantly surprised that she had been taught a fundamental course on taxes in high school here in Minnesota.

Florida is officially the largest state to mandate a financial literacy course for high school graduation. “What the bill is doing with financial literacy is really providing a foundation for students that’s going to be applicable in their lives regardless of what path they take,” said Gov DeSantis. “This will provide a foundation for the students to learn the basics of money management, understanding debt, understanding how to balance a checkbook, understanding the fundamentals of investing.”

The new law will apply to students entering ninth grade in the 2023-2024 school year and require that they take a half-credit course in personal finance before they graduate.

I’m guessing that having high school students learn how to prepare taxes using Turbo Tax would take a semester while understanding the entire tax code would add a year to the curriculum.

OK…time to have some fun with my granddaughter’s reaction to helping with my taxes.


I offered this short form I found on the internet to get it done quickly.

She just smiled at me and opened the calculator.

She then had to choose the forms to use. There is the standard 1040 or the 1040SR for seniors.          Obvious choice is senior because she is helping her grandfather.

The four page 1040SR form starts simply with a choice of filing status. The puzzled look on her face is mitigated with the assurance that the 114 pages of instructions for that four page form should help us determine my filing status. I had the pdf instructions on my computer so she could track back and forth between the paper forms and the computer monitor.

While she crunched the numbers and looked for the forms to use…I mentioned that there are 73,954 total pages in the tax code, while only 1,281 pages in the Bible. There’s also 60,000 pages in case law defining the tax codes. She found that the regular 1040 form would work because that’s what form I used the past few years because I itemized my deductions…and then we searched for the Schedule A form…somewhere in those 73,954 pages on my computer.

A few hours later, she was all smiles and actually enjoyed filling out my federal tax forms.

And then I said…”Now for the Minnesota forms”.

I thought for sure she was going to pull this one out again.

Tax Foundation, a politically independent nonprofit devoted to analyzing tax policies, ranked Minnesota as the eighth-worst state in the U.S. for individual income tax… right up there with Washington D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, California, and Hawaii.

According to Tax Foundation, U.S. states that perform poorly on their individual income tax analysis “tend to have high tax rates and very progressive tax structures.” The report also makes a connection between individual income tax and the health of a state’s overall business climate.

A recent analysis from the nonpartisan Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated that 57% of Americans paid no taxes last year. While that’s down slightly from last year’s 60%, it marks a significant increase from the 44% recorded before the pandemic began. Essentially, no household making less than $28,000 paid federal income tax last year, nor will a majority – about 75% – of those making between $28,000 and $55,000. Among middle-income households, about 43% paid no federal income tax. Nearly everyone paid the government in another form, whether through state and local sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes or state income taxes.

With my tax forms in the mail…time to plan for next year.

Next in line to help grandpa is my grandson.

With the training he’s receiving, I don’t think he’d put up with the bull crap involved with the tax code nor with the politicians. He’s armed and dangerous and ready to handle idiots.

Next in line would be another math whiz recently graduated with a ton of scholastic honors…

She’s already assured me she’ll be available for the audit from this year…and keep grandpa out of jail.

Final thought: