The “I Got a CPA” Update

A little over a month ago, I wrote about how I finally went out and got a CPA after a CSR working for an automated tax software program told me “you really need a professional to do your taxes.”

Here is how my CPA experience went! I am curious if it was anything like other people’s experiences with CPAs and financial advisers.

1. I had no idea how much it was going to cost. 

My CPA’s website didn’t have any rates listed, which is fine, but it took me to the end of our first in-person meeting (after a few phone conversations) to finally say “um… what do you charge, and is it by hour or by project?”

It was per hour, and since some of those hours happened without me in the room I really didn’t have any idea what my bill would be until I received it. That, of course, made me nervous because I like to plan things in advance, but it turned out fine.

The Tax Preparation Industry Is Like the Wild West

NYU law student Alex Levy writes about shady, unregulated tax preparers in an editorial today explaining that in most states, anyone can set up a business to prepare your taxes if they wanted to.

A Brief Chat with a Person With Tax Season Affective Disorder

Vanessa hates taxes.

It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like 1 Thing

That thing that thing that thinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng.

The Cost of a Solo Trip to Montreal

I chose Montreal because I could get there by train: the trip is scenic in its own right, winding up through the Hudson Valley and traveling parallel to Lake Champlain.

Taxes Are Due in Two Weeks. Remain Calm

till haven't done your taxes? The April 15th deadline is approaching soon, and The Wall Street Journal has some last-minute tax tips for us.

Making Taxes Not Boring

Today at Longreads (where I am also an editor), Atossa Abrahamian writes about her three favorite stories about taxes this year, highlighting pieces from The Washington Post, Vanit Fair, and Bloomberg. Add these to your never-ending reading lists!

Refined Dinner Conversation

ADULT WOMAN: “I haven’t been to therapy in a month and I need to go and I want to go but I haven’t done the one thing she told me to do, so I can’t go.”

ME (also an adult woman): “What’d she tell you to do?”

AW: “Taxes.”

ME: “But I thought you got an accountant?”

AW: “I did but she wants me to do this thing I’m not going to do so I can’t talk to her so I can’t do my taxes.”

It’s Weird But Adult to Talk Money With Strangers

Meaghan: So YOU had an exciting morning, eh? You visited a financial advisor!

Ester: Yes! It was very adult. Our advisor lady did our taxes for us this year which was the FIRST TIME that’s ever happened, but she was so smart and nice that we decided to ask her to Counsel us. To give us Counsel. Because we’ve never gotten that before either.

Meaghan: Yeah! I have never done it, though it has always seemed like a good idea. I guess almost like therapy the key is finding someone who you trust/respect.

Ester: She came recommended from a Billfold pal, actually! (And a real-life friend.)

Meaghan: Amazing. I guess also having her help you with taxes was a nice way to get to know her and see how she works and stuff?

Ester: Yes, and vice versa — she got to know us pretty well by doing our taxes too. :) We figured that would give her a pretty clear picture of who and where we are, and it did. The big change is that the fella, who is currently a full-time corporate lawyer, will not be one for long, so there is much Mystery and Complexity about what happens next.

Taxing the Childless

Not endorsed in the slightest: Slate columnist Reihan Salam argues that childless people should pay higher taxes than those with children.

Fighting Poverty With Evidence and the Effectiveness of ‘Small Nudges’

The latest episode of Freakonomics is about "fighting poverty with actual evidence" and features a discussion with economists Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago, and Dean Karlan from Yale, who examine studies (like the one by Give Directly), showing what kinds of methods are good at fighting poverty.

I Want to Do 1 Thing Right But Not Right Now

Thursday is a great day to do that 1 thing you don’t want to do but also don’t want to continue thinking about doing.